On Our Screens – Stray Dog – 1949 – Japan – Movie Review

Movie: Stray Dog

Year: 1949

Country: Japan

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura and Keiko Awaji


Murakami and Yusa are both war veterans.  They share pretty much the same fate — while home-bound, all their belongings, or all that they can hold onto after giving their lives to their country, are taken away from them.

Down and out, they’re enraged with hatred and frustration. Yet a difference of choice set their paths widely apart.

Murakami learns to move on and becomes an enforcer of law.  Yusa holds on to his anger and turns to crime.

Then, a lost police pistol weaves their path together again, but this time, in a cat-and-mouse pursuit.

“Nora Inu” (or “Stray Dog” and starring Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura and Keiko Awaji) is another gripping drama directed by Japan’s most venerated director, Akira Kurosawa, and is set in the war-torn city of Tokyo in 1949.

The film offers more than just the thrill of problem-solving in most detective stories.  It conveys a subtle, and yet compelling message on how one should respond to troubled times with hope and tenacity, and that social ills are not the excuse to sacrifice one’s integrity.

Modern viewers looking for car chases, explosions and endless martial art fighting should skip this one. There are none of those devices here, which gets you thinking… why the need for them at all?


Rating (one to five whistles, five being the best): Five whistles


How to Watch:




Tokyo Story (1953)

W’s Tragedy (1984)

Love Letter (1995)

Inugami (2001)

Good Bye, Lenin! (2003)

Kamikaze Girls (2004)

Linsanity: The Movie (2013)


Stock Photo Courtesy of Eric Isselee/ Shutterstock.com