The Barbarian and the Geisha

Watch The Barbarian and the Geisha

  • TV-G
  • 1958
  • 1 hr 45 min
  • 5.7  (2,118)

The Barbarian and the Geisha is a beautiful and intriguing film directed by John Huston in 1958, starting John Wayne, Eiko Ando, and Sam Jaffe. The movie is a romantic drama based on the true story of Townsend Harris, the first American Consul to Japan who was tasked with opening diplomatic and trade relations with the isolated country in the mid-19th century.

The film takes place in 1856 in Japan, which at the time was a completely closed society, with foreigners unwelcome and isolated. Harris, played by John Wayne, comes to Edo (modern-day Tokyo) with the hopes of creating a positive relationship with the ruling Shogun and opening up trade with the West. Upon arrival, he is informed that he will not be received by the Shogun and must wait. During his stay, he is introduced to the beautiful and enigmatic geisha, Okichi (Eiko Ando). The two developed an unlikely connection despite not speaking each other's language fluently.

Harris's efforts to engage with the Japanese people are met with resistance, and his ideas of trade are dismissed as foolish. With the help of Okichi and a few allies, he slowly starts to make headway with the Shogun and his advisors, including the powerful Lord Shimoda (Sam Jaffe). However, the progress he makes ultimately ends in tragedy as his relationship with Okichi becomes a target of political rivalry, forcing Harris to confront the limits of his power as an outsider in Japan.

The Barbarian and the Geisha is a beautifully crafted film, with special attention to the costumes and sets, which are astonishingly accurate and visually stunning, immersing the audience in a Japan of a bygone era. John Wayne delivers a strong performance in a non-typical role, playing a diplomat with a romantic side, and the struggle of Harris, who finds himself in a world where he doesn't completely fit in, is skillfully portrayed.

Eiko Ando, who plays Okichi, is a standout and gives a mesmerizing performance. Her portrayal of the geisha as a complex and multifaceted character is impressive, and her relationship with Harris reveals how two people from vastly different cultures can connect when language poses an obstacle. Sam Jaffe, as Lord Shimoda, brings a sense of menace to the film and highlights the political intrigue and complexities of dealing with a society so different from your own.

The film is not without its faults. There are parts that drag, and the storyline can be predictable, but the overall visual and emotional impact of the film make up for these weaknesses. The Barbarian and the Geisha is a great film that gives viewers a glimpse into a time and place often ignored by Hollywood, making it an enjoyable watch for those interested in history, romance or John Wayne's work.

In summation, The Barbarian and the Geisha is a beautiful and thought-provoking film with powerful performances and beautiful visuals. This film is a great way to learn about Japanese history and culture in a more entertaining and accessible way. Huston's film is both insightful and entertaining, making it a must-watch for all John Wayne fans and anyone who values the art of storytelling.

The Barbarian and the Geisha is a 1958 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 45 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.7.

The Barbarian and the Geisha
Where to Watch The Barbarian and the Geisha
The Barbarian and the Geisha is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Barbarian and the Geisha for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 45 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.7  (2,118)