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BFI’s Seven Samurai Blu-ray released today

Seven Samurai BFI SteelbookThe British Film Institute’s new Blu-ray release of Akira Kurosawa‘s Seven Samurai is out to day. This is the first time that an English friendly Region B (Europe) edition of the film is made available on Blu-ray.

At the time of the release’s original announcement back in June, BFI was surprisingly secretive about its contents. However, it is now known that the package contains:

  • Transfer digitally re-mastered in High Definition
  • Playable with or without original intermission
  • Original Japanese Theatrical Trailer
  • The Art of Akira Kurosawa (2013, 49 mins): Asian-Cinema Expert Tony Rayns Discusses Kurosawa’s Career and Influence
  • Fully Illustrated Booklet with Essays and Credits

So, the offerings could be worse, but it isn’t really comparable to Criterion’s Seven Samurai release. In any case, it is great to see a new documentary included on the disc, and for many it may be reason enough to get the disc.

Much of course also depends on the picture and audio quality. No reviews seem to be out yet, which is not really surprising as BFI mentioned earlier that they would not be sending review copies for this release. I will be keeping my eyes open for any that pop up in the next few days, and should be writing my own review once my pre-ordered copy arrives.

The release can be purchased exclusively from Zavvi and comes in a limited steel book edition.




My copy arrived, strange there has been very little publicity for this . I don’t have the Criterion Blu-ray to compare it to and I’ve only had time to view the first 15 minutes but it looks very nice to me . A very large upgrade from the BFI DVD , can’t wait to find time to give it a full viewing.


Vili Maunula

I too got mine yesterday! I’m hoping to find the time soon to do some comparisons and watch the documentary. It does look nice though.



I managed to watch the film and documentary over the weekend.
Certainly the film looks the best it has done on a U.K. release with pretty amazing detail.
I’m no technical expert and don’t have the Criterion Blu-ray so can’t comment on how the BFI edition compares.
The documentary extra, I should warn, is just a video interview or rather a video essay by Tony Rayns with no footage or stills included. However it is very interesting and personally I like Rayns pieces for his knowledge of the studio system etc. so I did enjoy watching this.

Kurosawa on Blu-ray in the U.K. seems sadly lagging behind Ozu and Mizoguchi so I hope this set sells well and means some more titles will be on the way. Criterion seem to be setting a good example but I’ve held off buying the U.S. blu-rays simple because of cost .

Off topic but an excellent new release in the U.K. is the Masters of Cinema Late Mizoguchi Blu-ray box set , I hope Kurosawa projects of this quality appear soon.


kurosawa babe

I’m new to this forum and this is my first post!
SO GLAD to have found this site! I’ve been searching for people to talk to about Kurosawa. Most of my friends, colleagues and family aren’t interested in Kurosawa.
I have the criterion version of “Seven Samurai.” Is it worth investing in the blu-ray that was just released?


Vili Maunula

Welcome to the group!

I would say that if you want to see the Tony Rayns documentary which, as Longstone pointed out is actually a video interview, then yes. Otherwise, if you want to upgrade to a Blu-ray, you might just consider Criterion’s Blu-ray release. Although even there it is questionable whether you gain much, just a somewhat crispier picture. I for one haven’t made the upgrade.

Also, given that you are in the US, the new BFI release from the UK may not play on your player, unless you have a region free player.

Longstone: I just saw the Late Mizoguchi Blu-ray set. So tempting. But I already have the DVDs!



@Kurosawa babe

I have the criterion version of “Seven Samurai.” Is it worth investing in the blu-ray that was just released?

I have both Criterion versions – the Blu-ray is visibly better than the excellent (compared to previous releases ‘standard’ Criterion version, with greater depth and contrast, but unless you are viewing on a particularly large and high quality screen I’m not sure it would justify buying it if you are short of money – better to spend it on other Kurosawa films!

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