Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Yakuza, The (1975)

Yakuza, The (1975)

Retired detective and ex-serviceman, Harry Kilmer (Robert Mitchum) is called on to help old army pal George Tanner (Brian Keith) whose daughter is being held hostage by Yakuza gangsters as payback for an arms deal gone awry.

Harry reconnects with his old flame, Eiko Tanaka (Keiko Kishi), with whom he sired a now-grown-up daughter named Hanako (Christina Kokubo), hoping she can trace her brother Ken Tanaka (Ken Takakura), a legendary figure in the Yakuza so he can exploit the hitman’s gangland connections to infiltrate Tokyo’s underworld.

Alongside young gunman Dusty (Richard Jordan), Harry and Ken rescue Tanner’s daughter from the Yakuza hang headed by Tono (Eiji Okada) but find themselves tangled in a web of deceit and long-buried secrets.

Writers Robert Towne (of Chinatown fame) and Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver) working from a story by Schrader’s brother Leonard, transform this simple idea into a complex and compelling thriller.

Director Sydney Pollack sweeps the action along at a fast pace, allowing his classy cast plenty of room for manoeuvre and making the most of his Japanese locations.

But this is Mitchum’s film, and he gives a brilliant performance throughout.


Harry Kilmer
Robert Mitchum
Ken Tanaka
Ken Takakura
George Tanner
Brian Keith
Oliver Wheat
Herb Edelman
Richard Jordan
Tanaka Eiko
Keiko Kishi
Tono Toshiro
Okada Eiji
James Shigeta
Kato Jiro
Kyosuke Machida
Christina Kokubo

Sydney Pollack