The Hidden Fortress

1958 film by Akira Kurosawa

The Hidden Fortress is a 1958 film about two greedy peasants, lured by gold, who escort a man and woman across enemy lines. However, they do not realize that their companions are actually a princess and her general.

Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Written by Shinobu Hashimoto, Ryuzo Kikushima, Akira Kurosawa, and Hideo Oguni.


  • Shitworms can't smell shit.


  • Hey! [Rokurota looks curiously towards the peasants. Tahei and Matashichi shrink back in fear]... Evening.
  • Matashichi? Let's stay friends in Heaven, too.

General Rokurota Makabe

  • Hide a stone among stones and a man among men.

Princess Yuki

  • What you make of another's kindness is up to you.
  • You cannot make my heart mute too!
  • I have enjoyed the journey. The happiness of these days, I would have never known living in the castle. I've seen people as they are, without pretense. I've seen their beauty and their ugliness with my own eyes.


  • General Hyoe Tadokoro: Why did you let me survive the shame of my defeat? To defeat an enemy yet let him live may seem kind, but it's cruel!


Tahei: Get away from me! You stink of dead bodies!
Matashichi: Give it up. We both stink of dead bodies. And it's all your fault!

Matashichi: We can't go home like this.
Tahei: Then strip that dead guy.
Matashichi: Huh? I may be desperate, but I ain't a thief.
Tahei: Do what you want. I'm getting out of here!
[Tahei starts to limp off down the road]
Matashichi: Go on, then. I'll catch up to you after I make a buck.
Tahei: Don't come crying to me, then! [He scoffs] You'll get caught again and be digging graves! You'll see!
[Matashichi picks up dust and throws it at Tahei]
Matashichi: Damn you! Go on, get! It'll be a blessing to see you go!
[Tahei scoffs again]
Matashichi: You shitworm!

Matashichi: Where is she? Who is she?
General Makabe: I don't know. She's really quick, though. She's already gone. Look. She's mine, okay? I'll kill you if you go near her.

Matashichi: Damn it! Gone again!
Tahei: He's on his high horse watching us do all the work.
Matashichi: Right. He's probably running around looking for that girl.
Tahei: Maybe he already found a place and is sleeping with her.
Matashichi: We agreed to split everything in three. The girl should be the same.

Tahei: Hey! What's your name?
General Makabe: Me? I'm Rokurota Makabe.
Tahei: Rokurota Makabe? I've heard that name before.
Matashichi: Makabe?
Matashichi, Tahei: Makabe?
Tahei: Makabe?
Matashichi: Makabe?
Matashichi, Tahei: Rokurota? Eh?
Matashichi: Get out of here! Rokurota Makabe is a legendary Akizuki samurai general! You take us for fools?
[Makabe laughs and walks away]
Tahei: We shouldn't put up with this.
Matashichi: Hey! Stop fooling around! You're no general. You're just a bully. What's with the big attitude?
[Makabe continues laughing]
Matashichi: Don't make fun of us! Damn you!

Princess Yuki: Buy that girl back.
General Makabe: I cannot.
Princess Yuki: Why not? I am the Princess of Akizuki. I can't bear to see one of our own in trouble.
General Makabe: No, you're the one in trouble. Your kindness will be your downfall.
Princess Yuki: I don't care! Buy her back.

Izumi Nagakura: How long can we rely on them?
General Makabe: We can rely on their greed. Make them carry gold and they'll put up with anything.

Izumi Nagakura: What shall we do with the princess? We can disguise her looks, but not her class and her speech.
General Makabe: Her Highness will have to be a mute.

Old Lady-in-Waiting: I don't know what to do with her Highness. It's the lord's fault. Even if he was lacking an heir, it was cruel to raise her Highness like a boy. Say right and she'll go left, say left and she'll go right. And though she is a girl, she has never shown me a tear. The same with her present behavior. Insensitive to your pain of having sacrificed your sister, she herself doesn't shed a tear, but she still criticizes you. It's too much.
General Makabe: Her Highness is the real sacrifice. Her suffering is having to rebuild the Akizuki clan.

Slave Trader: [to a slave girl] You're so slow! Pay attention and bring some water! Always crying, but you refuse to take johns. You were a lousy deal.
Potential slave buyer: Where did you get her?
Slave Trader: In Akizuki. Lose a war and plenty of women go on sale.

Izumi Nagakura: This is good! To fool the Yamana by going through enemy lines.
General Makabe: This was the peasants' idea. Depending on their answers, I was ready to kill them. But hearing their plan to go through Yamana to Hayakawa, I was stunned.
Izumi Nagakura: Sometimes even moss can be smart.

[the two men rest against a wall of dirt from digging in the hidden fortress, Matashichi's leg over Tahei's. Tahei kicks it away]
Tahei: What are you doing? Don't touch me, fool! It's uncomfortable enough.
Matashichi: [Kicks Tahei's leg] It's your face that makes me uncomfortable.
Tahei: Leave my face alone!
[He starts blinking the sweat away profusely]
Matashichi: I hate the way you blink all the time.
[Tahei continues blinking]
Matashichi: There you go again.
Tahei: Shut up! Put your filthy teeth away!
[He begins prodding at Matashichi with an oar]
Tahei: Show them to me once more and I'll bash them in!
[Matashichi lunges with a fork, its prongs landing right near Tahei's head. Tahei starts blubbering]
Tahei: I'm quitting! This is idiotic! I dig and dig and nothing!

Tahei: [Holding onto Matashichi as the escaping, rioting prisoners run past] Matashichi, this is hell!
Matashichi: Let's die together.

General Makabe: Where's Matashichi?
Tahei: I don't know!
[Makabe drags the shifty peasant down the steps into the courtyard]
Tahei: Ow, ow, ow...
General Makabe: What are you up to?
Tahei: H-he-he's gone to the town...
General Makabe: The town? What for?
Tahei: To- to tell the soldiers...
General Makabe: Tell them what?
Tahei: A-about the Princess, of course!
General Makabe: The Princess?
[Makabe let's go of Tahei in surprise. Tahei scrambles away]
Tahei: We ain't... as stupid as you think! You thought you'd fooled us! We know you... that ten ryo you had... it's from the war funds you stole! On top of that, you intend to get a reward for the Princess! We ain't gonna let you!
General Makabe: I was wrong to trust such scum.
Tahei: Look who's talking- you're the scum!

Tahei: If we want to get rid of him, now's our chance.
Matashichi: Shhh.
[He points at Princess Yuki sitting right behind them]
Tahei: Don't worry. She's mute.
Matashichi: She's mute but she can hear.
Tahei: You idiot. A mute can't speak because they're deaf.

[last lines]
Tahei: [hands Matashichi a piece of gold] You take this.
Matashichi: No, you keep it.
Tahei: But...
Matashichi: Don't worry about it.
[they both laugh]


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