Clare's Criterion Collection

Here Is My Criterion Collection. See What I Have Bought & Read My Reviews. Follow Me As I Explore My Collection.

Review # 21 – Red Beard

on February 25, 2015

redSpine # 159

Available on DVD

Special Features:

  • New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound and enhanced for widescreen televisions
  • Audio commentary by Kurosawa film scholar Stephen Prince
  • Notes by Japanese film historian Donald Richie
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer editionNew cover by Eric Skillman


I normally post my reviews in the order that I watch the films but today I am going to break that rule. This film cannot wait for me to get into gear and I still have a few more to write ups ahead of this one (so much to do, so little time).

Why am I rushing to tell you about Red Beard? Well, my review is very simple and to the point:

You Have To Watch This Film!

The setting is a small rural clinic during 19th Century Japan. The patients and local residents are poor, however, a Doctor by the name of Red Beard cares for them. A newly qualified Doctor, who was expecting to work for the ruling Court, is sent to join him as an Intern.

I know I am not the best writer in the world 😉 and trying to put what I felt and experienced whilst watching this film is very difficult. The scenery is beautiful, every character in the film; no matter how small the role, contributes to spectacle. Some of the stories told are tragic yet they are always dealt with respect.

The Extras on this Criterion release are light but the audio commentary is something I am looking forward to viewing. This film has also reignited my interest in Akira Kurosawa (incidentally this was the last collaboration between Kurosawa and Mifune) and as a result I have borrowed 7 of his films from my local library. Hopefully you will be able to find a copy of this film and see for yourself.

I hope you find this film as stunning as I did.


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