I picked up this movie for two reasons. One was because it was made by Akira Kurosawa, the second because it was recommended by my good buddy Leo. His recommendation alone wasn't the key. He's been hit or miss so far. It was because he claimed this was a primary influence for Star Wars. Being a Star Wars geek from way back, I had to take a look.
Two inept peasants are trying desperately to profit on an ongoing war. They narrowly escape death, but are still broke. Then they discover two things. Gold hidden inside sticks, and a Samurai who they don't trust. The three come to a tenuous alliance to help get the gold out of the war zone and to split it. What the two peasants don't know, is that the Samurai is also smuggling out the Princess of the conquered nation.
What follows is a comic adventure. Toshiro Mifume plays the domineering Samurai. Perhaps you remember him as the drunk from Seven Samurai. The peasants constantly bicker and never truly understand what's going on around them. Samurai Makabe doesn't trust them beyond trusting their greed.
Fun, interesting, and watchable for my sons, but not the Tour de Force that Seven Samurai was. My Star Wars crazy boys couldn't see Star Wars in the story (one guessed the Samurai was supposed to be Han Solo), but the truth is that the only influence was that the story was told through the eyes of the two lowest characters. All other similarities are purely coincidental.