• Release Date: Apr 23, 2004

Universal acclaim - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
Watch On
  1. 100
    Seibei's story is told by director Yoji Yamada in muted tones and colors, beautifully re-creating a feudal village that still retains its architecture, its customs, its ancient values, even as the economy is making its way of life obsolete.
  2. 100
    This is an absolutely brilliant film but in a quiet way.
  3. Reviewed by: Melissa Levine
    A gorgeous, emotionally rewarding masterpiece that invites compassion, reflection and, at least from this reviewer, a great deal of admiration. It's no wonder that it won 12 Japanese Academy Awards.
  4. It's wonderful to see a Japanese movie in which a samurai, for all his somber discipline and skill, is also a touching and complicated ordinary man.
  5. Yamada shoots his movie with a grandfatherly expertise, never squeezing the drama for juice or distancing us too far from the characters -- it's a pleasure to see a movie that makes every shot count, narratively and emotively.
  6. Perhaps because this is director Yoji Yamada's 77th movie, every aspect of his filmmaking is placidly assured and meaningful.
  7. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Combines novelistic detail with cinematic sweep.
  8. 89
    This is a determined, resolutely paced, and atypical samurai movie, more an epic of the heart than of the battlefield, and all the more powerful for it.
  9. Twilight is a great samurai film in the way that "Unforgiven," "The Gunfighter" or "Will Penny"--all muted, somber films about aging gunfighters--are great westerns.
  10. Reflective, touching, intimate portrait of a samurai facing action in his waning years.
  11. 83
    The pace of this Oscar nominee may be a bit contemplative for audiences seeking "Yojimbo"-style action, but it's surely a more realistic and moving look at life in 19th-century Japan.
  12. 80
    Mr. Yamada is confident that by taking his time and relishing the leathery arrogance that is the perquisite of a director in his 70's, his audience will follow his whims.
  13. Welcome to Yoji Yamada. After decades of comedies, he arrives--in this country, at least--with a uniquely touching samurai film. At the age of seventy-three, he starts a new career.
  14. There are a few fight scenes, but they're as unshowy as the rest of this restrained film. If your warrior ideal is Uma Thurman in "Kill Bill," you may not have the patience this gentle story demands of its viewers.
  15. 75
    The stylish flick harkens back to the work of old masters like Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu.
  16. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The anti-"Kill Bill." This is an old man's movie in all the good ways: gentle, humanistic, rich with observation, quietly aware of all that can't be solved by the sword.
  17. 75
    Not for those with limited attention spans, though there's never a dull moment.
  18. Although the pace is slow, "Twilight" is a moving account of a family in crisis and the love that provides a short window of happiness for the father.
  19. 70
    The film is a bit of a slog, but in the end, it's a slog worth taking, thanks to a strange, moving ending that reduces the samurai era's codes of warfare, class, and honor down to two men meeting face to face.
  20. 70
    Though it includes a couple of sword fights, Yamada's epic domestic drama could easily be called an anti-samurai film. But its aim is less to subvert the genre's conventions than to deepen them, extending its parameters to include the minutia and rhythms of everyday life.
  21. The film's septuagenarian director deserves his share of the credit for bringing this human story to the screen with engaging B-movie modesty and no small measure of chops.
  22. Reviewed by: David Stratton
    A mellow, stately, contemplative study of a stoic, brave man, but it doesn't deliver in the action department.
  23. 50
    Gentle, muted film of limited aesthetic ambition.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 32 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. Jun 30, 2011
    What does it say when reviewers claim that this movie was "a bit slow"? That some of us are addicted to fast-paced, mindless violence. WhichWhat does it say when reviewers claim that this movie was "a bit slow"? That some of us are addicted to fast-paced, mindless violence. Which is now Hollywood's forte. Anyone who didn't like this was obviously expecting flying ninjas and katana-toting heroines played by Chinese actresses.
    "The Twilight Samurai" is a work of art in the Kurosawa mold, has nothing in common with "Last Samurai" and is superior. Beautiful, emotional, powerful at times.....phenomenal. Can't wait to watch "Hidden Blade" and "Love and Honor".
    Full Review »
  2. EricS.
    Dec 10, 2005
    A little slow at some points but still both fascinating in its portrait of daily life in the samurai era and moving as well. A great film.