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James Clavell's Shogun (1980)

Boxed Sets, Military & War, and Television movie directed by Jerry London

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Excellent, well worth owning to watch over and over!

  • Jan 26, 2005
  • by
Richard Chamberlain gives an excellent performance as well as all the Japanese actors in this well-made adaptation of Clavell's novel. It sticks fairly well to the plot of the book.

Super-rich in history with one of the most interesting characters, Anjin-san (Japanese for Mr. Pilot). Anjin-san is marooned in feudal Japan and makes a decision to change his Western thinking and fit in to the totally foreign but alluring Japanese society.

He is drawn into a forbidden love with a Japanese noblewoman, while battling jealous Japanese nobles and fanatical Jesuits. He earns the trust of Lord Torenaga who is a wise tactician in the art of waging war and diplomacy. Can Anjin-san survive the constant perils he is put into and win the hand of the woman he loves?

Many scenes are in Japanese, but if you had no problem with The Last Samauri, it should pose no problem here.

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More James Clavell's Shogun (1980) reviews
review by . April 26, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
Shogun by James Clavell is one of my favorite novels and the mini-series is fabulous, if a bit tedious at times. This 10-hour epic follows the exploits of John Blackthorne, a navigator on a Dutch ship in the 1600's who finds his way to the Japans through the Magellan Straight. In Japan Blackthorne is confronted by a culture strange to him and Portuguese traders and priests who have monopolized trade with the Japan's because of their heretofore secret passage through the Straits. Blackthorne finds …
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What better way to escape from the onslaught of so-called reality television than to sail away with Richard Chamberlain to "the Japans" for a little samurai action and some discreet "pillowing"? From the golden age of the miniseries comes this television benchmark, the 10-hour, Golden Globe-winning saga based on James Clavell's bestselling epic. In his award-winning performance, Chamberlain stars as John Blackthorne, the 17th-century English navigator on a Dutch trading ship. A storm runs the ship aground off the coast of Japan, a "torn and cruelly divided country" locked in a power struggle between Toranaga (the venerable Toshiro Mifune) and Ishido, two warlords who would be Shogun. Blackthorne gets over his initial culture shock ("I piss on you and your country," he defiantly proclaims to his samurai captors, which to his humiliation turns out to be an unfortunate choice of words) to become a trusted ally of Toranaga and the lover of the beautiful interpreter Lady Mariko (Yoko Shimada). Their forbidden, ill-fated romance--and Blackthorne's total assimilation into Japanese culture--is set against political intrigue as Toranaga prepares for the inevitable showdown with Ishido, and Blackthorne's growing influence threatens the local Jesuits who had built up a lucrative trade monopoly.Shogunwas a production blessed with good karma, and it remains an awesome achievement from a bygone era when the miniseries was king.--Donald Liebenson
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Director: Jerry London
Genre: Boxed Sets, War, Television
Screen Writer: James Clavell, Eric Bercovici
DVD Release Date: September 23, 2003
Runtime: 547 minutes
Studio: Paramount
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