Seven Samurai - Milestones

This 1954 Japanese period action film directed by  Akira Kurosawa is 3 hours, 20 minutes and 38 seconds long. That's plenty of room to get weird in, but the movie comes through with everything where it should be.

The Hook is clear enough: Bandits plan on raiding a village.

The Inciting Incident sees benevolent ronin Kambei recruiting six more samurai to defend the village. At the specific second calculated by the spreadsheet, Kambei leads aspiring disciple Kasushiro away from rejected poser Kikuchiyo.

The First Plot Turn sees reluctant master swordsman Kyuzo join the band of defenders, making the six Kambei supposes will have to do.

The First Pinch Point does not show us the antagonists (the bandits). It shows us the samurai and villagers making plans and preparations for the bandits' inevitable raid. In other words, it simultaneously shows the protagonists moving up a level and reminds us that the antagonists are large in numbers.

The Midpoint occurs on the eve of the expected raid. Carrying a sleeping child in his arms, Kambei tells the village elder his house will have to be abandoned outside the defenses.

At the Second Pinch Point, the villagers and samurai make plans to reduce the bandits' numbers by attacking their fort. Again, we are reminded of the antagonists' superior fighting force.

At the second Plot Turn, the raid begins with attempts to breach the barricades by night. The villagers demonstrate their training and commitment by spearing their attackers.

The Deciding Incident is heralded by Kambei's prediction that the next attack will be the showdown.

The Conclusion sees the three surviving samurai pausing on their way out of the village by the graves of their fallen comrades, Kasushiro deciding to remain with girlfriend Shino, and Kambei reflecting to old friend Shichiroji that the farmers always win while the samurai always lose.

Much happens in between these points, and each milestone comprises far more than can be conveyed or captured in one second of film, but the overarc is very cleanly laid out in these cold, calcuated glimpses.


Minute Calc Dec Min Min:Sec Milestones Quote Range MaL Range MiL Range MiH Range MaH
End minute 3.05 3:03 Hook Bandits decide to raid the village when the millet is harvested.     9:13 15:24
200.64 27.75 27:45 Inciting Incident After rejecting Kikuchiyo, Kambei leads Kasushiro away. 15:24 21:34 33:55 40:06
First minute 52.45 52:2685 Plot Turn 1 Kyuzo joins Kambei's band of samurai, making six. 40:06 46:16 58:37 64:48
3.05 77.15 77:09 Pinch 1 Kambei, Kyuzo and Kasushiro study the village and plan defenses. 64:48 70:58 83:19 89:3
Preminutes 101.85 101:51 Midpoint Granddad and his son and daughter-in-law protest at Kambei's order to abandon Granddad's house, which is outside the fortifications. 89:3 95:4 108:01 114:12
3.05 126.54 126:33 Pinch 2 The samurai discuss plans for attacking the bandits' fort. 114:12 120:22 132:43 138:54
Minute total 151.24 151:15 Plot Turn 2 The villagers spear a bandit who attempted to sneak over the barricade. 138:54 145:04 157:25 163:36
197.59 175.94 175:56 Deciding Incident Kambei tells Kyuzo that the next clash will be the showdown. 163:36 169:46 182:07 188:17
  200.64 200:38 Conclusion As they prepare to leave the village, Kambei tells Shichiroji that the samurai always lose and the farmers always win. Kasushiro returns to the village to be with Shino. 188:17 194:28    
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