Police OfficerNovember 30, 1933
Itami, a young policeman, meets his high school friend, Tetsuo, a gangster, at a roadblock. As they rekindled their friendship, a complex relationship is established between them.
Drunken AngelApril 27, 1948
The chaotic worlds of the Yakuza and an alcoholic doctor collide in this film noir classic from Akira Kurosawa. Gangster Toshiro Mifune visits doctor Takashi Shimura, after an unfortunate incident with a bullet. The doctor, who despises the Yakuza, discovers the young man is suffering from tuberculosis, a disease symbolic of what is happening to the doctor and the community he serves. Facing his own anger and fear, the doctor aligns himself with the gangster's world.
The Lone JourneyAugust 31, 1955
Forced on the road by yakuza obligations, a man sets out on a reckless journey to Tsumagoi. Movie posters for local cinemas were often displayed at sento (public baths) too. The handwritten text on the bottom here announces the film will play at Hassen for 3 days.
A Wicked WomanFebruary 25, 1958
In 1870's Tokyo, Den steals to support the daughter of her first marriage and her consumptive second husband. She falls in love with a young policeman, but is coerced into becoming the mistress of and procurer for a vice boss.
Underworld BeautyMarch 25, 1958
The moment he's released from prison, the honorable gangster Miyamoto recovers the stolen diamonds he had stashed before getting pinched. When he returns to his haunt to make good by friend who took a bullet for him, he is diverted by the greedy boss Oyane and his insatiable taste for Miyamoto's precious stones. Replete with film noir style, "Underworld Beauty" is one of Suzuki's best nods to the American gangster genre.
Roughneck From AsamaDecember 2, 1958
When Boss Juzo's Shinmachi Yakuza family struck fear into the hearts of his adversaries, Boss Shohei's Okabe Yakuza family with a merciless gang of raiders, Itaro of Asama was missing. With the courage of a lion he had gone off to face the enemy and settle the score all by himself. As a result he had to take the blame in place of Boss Shohei, and went off to adventures on his own.
Age of NuditySeptember 7, 1959
The story deals with a juvenile delinquent gang surviving through petty thievery. However, everything gets screwed up when they accidentally steal big bucks from the Yakuza.
The Rambling GuitaristOctober 11, 1959
Arriving in the town of Hakodate, a wandering musician, Shinji Taki, is soon recruited by the local gang as a hired hand. However, with the arrival of a sinister gunman, Taki's mysterious past catches up with him.
Yataro's Sedge HatJanuary 1, 1960
The wandering gambler Yataro seeks vengeance against a treacherous yakuza boss.
Black LineJanuary 13, 1960
Freelance reporter “Scoop” Machida is hot on the trail of a prostitution ring called the Black Line, when he is framed for the murder of a young woman. Forced to clear his own name, the handsome journalist sinks deeper into the Black Line’s rotten swamp of drugs, prostitution, and murder and finds unexpected help in Maya, a steamy female gambler familiar with the neon-lit streets, shadowy alleyways, and seedy nightclubs he must navigate. The closest film in the Line series to classic American film noir, Ishii’s Black Line is a pulpy assortment of crime film conventions including the starkly expressionistic black and white cinematography by Jûgyô Yoshida, a jazzy music score by Michiaki Watanabe, and a sleazy screenplay by Ishii and Ichirô Miyagawa.
Afraid To DieMarch 22, 1960
On his release from prison a young yakuza, along with his brother, decides to turn his back on criminal life instead of taking over the position of his recently deceased father, boss of the Asahina clan. But their exit proves more difficult than planned when their rival clan steps in to exact revenge.
Naked YouthJune 3, 1960
A budding gangster enthralls a freeloading young woman, soon taking advantage of her knack for hitch-hiking to rob middle-class, middle-aged men.
Pigs and BattleshipsJanuary 21, 1961
In the city of Yokosuka, Kinta and his lover Haruko, both involved with yakuza, brave the post-occupation period with a goal to be together.
Big Shots Die at DawnApril 9, 1961
An early Okamoto yakuza film, though it's not in the Underworld series (along with The Last Gunfight and The Big Boss) despite being alternatively known as "Death of the Boss." While Okamoto did not write this film and took on the project because he was assigned and "just doing [his] job" according to an interview with Chris Desjardins in Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film, he did express a general excitement about working in action cinema (which shows through in this film's energy.) I have no plot to share, unfortunately, so I'll just add a few more screencaps than usual to make up for it.
Flower, Storm and GangsterJune 23, 1961
A gang of bank robbers plan a big robbery, but they all plot to betray each other after the heist for different reasons.
Gang vs. GangJuly 13, 1962
The plot opens with the hero (Tsuruta) leaving prison, having served time through taking the blame for a fellow gang member’s crime. However, his former gang boss seems to have gone to seed, with people now killing each other and dealing in drugs. The hero then teams up with a lone operator (Tamba) who specialises in shaking down gangsters.
The Tale of Zatoichi ContinuesOctober 12, 1962
Returning to the village where a year before he had killed Hirate, a much-admired opponent, Zatoichi encounters another swordsman and former rival in love: his own brother. He must face in combat not only the pursuing retainers but his own flesh-and-blood.