Three hours and twenty minutes of cinematic greatness. In everybody’s Top Ten of all time. Wikipedia:
…among the first films to use the now-common plot element of the recruiting and gathering of heroes into a team to accomplish a specific goal, a device used in later films such as The Guns of Navarone, Ocean’s Eleven, The Dirty Dozen, Sholay, the western remake The Magnificent Seven, and Pixar’s animated film A Bug’s Life.
Also the grandfather of lots of anime as well as several films that we’ll using later this year (and, of course, Ghost Dog). We’ll be watching it in chunks over a month or so.
The film is very slow paced, especially at the beginning. Japanese culture is much more oriented to savoring the passage of time than we are — a tea ceremony, for example, can take four hours. Stay awake.