High and Low

Drama | Japanese with English subtitles | 143 minutes


Kingo Gondo is a wealthy stockholder and executive of a company called National Shoes. Conflict ensues with other stockholders when Gondo insists  on manufacturing only high-end, well-constructed shoes. The opposing stockholders fear this will diminish profits. Gondo is then determined to go deep in debt, purchase a large block of stock, and take control of the company. Just as he is about to make payment for the stock, kidnappers, intending to abduct Gondo’s son, mistakenly abduct the son of Gondo’s chauffeur. The kidnapper phones Gondo requesting a huge sum of money in exchange for releasing who they think is the wealthy Gondo’s son. Gondo is now torn. He needs the money to buy the stock and get control of the company. On the other hand, Gondo faces a humanistic question: is money and control of a company  worth more than a person’s life, even if that person is not his son?

Toshiro Mifune (Kingo Gondo) / Yutaka Sada (Gondo’s chauffeur)
Why Stream This Film?
Go figure: Kurosawa directing a super crime thriller that could easily have been cast with Humphrey Bogart and George Raft. 
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 95%
  • Edgar Allan Poe Awards: Nominated, Best Foreign Film
  • Golden Globe Awards: Nominated, Best Foreign Film
  • Venice International Film Festival: Nominated, Best Director (Akira Kurosawa)
HIGH and LOW illuminates its world with a wholeness and complexity  rarely seen in film. It fully illustrates why Kurosawa is regarded as Japan’s foremost director.
Paul Attanasio

The Washington Post

A masterpiece – one of the best (if not THE best) crime-suspense thrillers ever fashioned, and certainly the most profound.
R.E. Maxson

Los Angeles Free Press



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