Drunken angel

Japan, 1948

Image via TMDb

In 1948 the American army of occupation was still in situ in Japan; Toho, one of Japan’s biggest film production houses and producers of the films of Akira Kurosawa, was riven by strikes - the US Army actually dispersed striking union members who had occupied the Toho site. Against such a backdrop, that any film came out of the Toho state is remarkable. That Kurosawa was able to create a contemporary thriller which was allegorical to the condition of the country, a film rich in traditional Japanese imagery and values, highly esteemed by the critics of his own country - is nothing short of miraculous. Toshiro Mifune takes his first lead role in a Kurosawa film (he became a ‘star’ overnight), playing the sleek but sick young gangster who enlists the help of a shabby, alcoholic doctor, the drunken angel of the title. In Japanese with English subtitles.


production company

Toho Kabushiki Kaisha



Production places
Production dates

Collection metadata

ACMI Identifier




Audience classification


Subject categories

Advertising, Film, Journalism, Mass Media & TV → Foreign language films

Courtroom, Crime, Espionage & Thrillers

Courtroom, Crime, Espionage & Thrillers → Gangster films

Feature films

Feature films → Feature films - Japan

Foreign language films




Black and White


VHS; Access Print (Section 1)

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If you would like to cite this item, please use the following template: {{cite web |url=https://acmi.net.au/works/83024--drunken-angel/ |title=Drunken angel |author=Australian Centre for the Moving Image |access-date=29 January 2022 |publisher=Australian Centre for the Moving Image}}