1 user 2 critic

The Demon Crusader (1957)

Momotarô-zamurai (original title)
A young ronin seeking to kill all evil doers get by accident involved in a big clan conspiracy and have to use the best of his wits to help and stay alive.


Kenji Misumi


Kiichirô Yamate (based on the novel by), Fuji Yahiro (screenplay)


Credited cast:
Raizô Ichikawa ... Momotarô / Shin'nosuke Wakagi
Yôko Uraji Yôko Uraji ... Yuri
Seizaburô Kawazu ... Hankurô Iga
Michiyo Kogure ... Kosuzu Hanabusa
Shunji Sakai Shunji Sakai ... Inosuke
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Shinobu Araki Shinobu Araki ... Jikai, monk
Okuzan Asao Okuzan Asao ... Sanukinokami Wakamizu
Toshihiko Gô Toshihiko Gô ... Toranosuke Ônishi
Setsuko Hama Setsuko Hama ... Chiyo
Seishirô Hara Seishirô Hara ... Daigaku Washizuka
Yukio Horikita Yukio Horikita ... Gorôta Hashioto
Toshio Hosokawa Toshio Hosokawa ... Tesshinsai Ôtaki
Ryôsuke Kagawa ... Geki Uda
Midori Komatsu Midori Komatsu ... aged maid at Kosuzu's
Kôichi Mizuhara Kôichi Mizuhara ... Shimbei Ogawa
Learn more

More Like This 

Satan's Sword (1960)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The story follows the life of Ryunosuke Tsukue, an amoral samurai and a master swordsman with an unorthodox style.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Kôjirô Hongô, Tamao Nakamura
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Story follows a poor peasant family that through hardship gets some money and how that change them.

Director: Kôzaburô Yoshimura
Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Kyôko Kagawa, Shintarô Katsu
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Special Forces commander Captain Tadamori returns to Kyoto after successfully defeating the uprising of pirates in the western sea of Japan. But because the high courtiers dislike career ... See full summary »

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Narutoshi Hayashi, Raizô Ichikawa, Tatsuya Ishiguro
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Before he portrayed the legendary blind swordsman, Zatoichi, Shintaro Katsu played Suganoichi, a blind court masseur with a dark side. An outcast since birth, he learned from a young age ... See full summary »

Director: Kazuo Mori
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Tamao Nakamura, Mieko Kondô
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An all-star cast from Daiei Film Company has made "the ultimate Jirocho movie" about the legendary yakuza Shimizu no Jirocho, the biggest Boss in the Tokaido area.

Director: Kazuo Mori
Stars: Kazuo Hasegawa, Raizô Ichikawa, Shintarô Katsu
Drama | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Tange Tenzen and Nakayama Yasubei are honorable samurai living in an era of corrupt officials and treacherous clans. But after finding themselves in opposing clans and ensnared in a love ... See full summary »

Director: Kazuo Mori
Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Shintarô Katsu, Chitose Maki
Peony Lantern (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

On the night of the summer Obon festival, Hagiwara Shinzaburo meets a beautiful courtesan named Otsuyu. Not knowing she's a ghost, he becomes infaruated by her.

Director: Satsuo Yamamoto
Stars: Miyoko Akaza, Kôjirô Hongô, Hajime Koshikawa
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A young woman turns to the supernatural to wreak revenge on an murderous warlord.

Director: Tokuzô Tanaka
Stars: Kôjirô Hongô, Naomi Kobayashi, Mitsuyo Kamei
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Princess Kiku, Shogun's daughter, wants revenge on Nemuri Kyoshiro for embarrassing her.

Director: Akira Inoue
Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Yaeko Mizutani, Ichirô Nakatani
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

This film of the sleepy-eyed ronin series has the hero involved when as an act of vengeance a band of samurai whose master was unceremoniously assassinated by agents of the clan, when he ... See full summary »

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Shigeru Amachi, Shiho Fujimura
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two devious retainers are competing to take control of a fief when the current Lord dies, but involving Kyoshiro in the conflict against his will is the textbook example of a bad idea - ... See full summary »

Director: Tokuzô Tanaka
Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Miwa Takada, Yaeko Mizutani
Drama | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Ryunosuke awakens in the forest having no more idea what happened that previous night, as he'd been drunk & hallucinatory. He is surrounded by corpses & can surmise it's his own handiwork.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Kôjirô Hongô, Tamao Nakamura


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



A young ronin seeking to kill all evil doers get by accident involved in a big clan conspiracy and have to use the best of his wits to help and stay alive.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Adventure | Drama

User Reviews

Nice early collaboration by Kenji Misumi and Raizo Ichikawa
1 February 2013 | by cast_to_the_wavesSee all my reviews

Momotaro zamurai is a mid 50's Daiei film including the huge talents of Raizo Ichikawa and Kenji Misumi. Both would later gain immortal status for their career efforts and this early film shows why they were successful. The story is vaguely drawn from the folk tale of Momotaro, the child samurai who sets out to destroy the evil Oni that are pillaging his local village. In the tale, Momotaro starts on his quest and gathers a team including a Monkey, Dog and Pheasant and expertly utilises each warrior's skills to crush the Ogres. Interestingly, this plot line is later ascribed to Kurosawa in his Seven Samurai (building a team to accomplish a mission) but it is obviously an ancient Japanese plot device.

Raizo plays a young man named Momotaro but it is uncertain if it is his given name, or if he assumes the name as an adult. Regardless, he has the same moral compass as the folk legend, punishing evil ogres in Tokugawa era Edo. The basic plot of our story has a lord who produces twins, one who will be a future lord, and the other, Momotaro, who is cast from the clan. Momotaro grows to adulthood and refuses to help the clan that set him adrift. He changes his mind when his blood brother is endangered, and is certainly motivated by a beautiful noble woman named Yuri. He is joined by a couple of thieves, one called Inosuke or 'monkey' and a woman named Kozusu who may play the 'pheasant' role. Looking for the dog? He isn't in the story. Kozusu loves Momotaro, but she is being manipulated by 'ogres' who want to kill Momotaro's brother. The story develops the theme of loyalty that ties the characters together and they are drawn with enough detail so that you can really like them. Raizo plays both Momotaro and his noble brother such that everyone wonders which is which. The difference is only revealed through subtle voice change and mannerism of the kindly noble brother, compared to the charismatic ronin, Momotaro. The story builds to an inevitable conclusion, swords flash and both the good and bad may meet their doom.

Misumi brings it all together in a nicely contained story and as always, Daiei offer their brilliant colours, costume and composition. Unlike the Daibosastu Toge trilogy that Misumi and Ichikawa worked on together a couple of years later, this story is very tight and well-constructed. Daiei always did a great job with these types of films (Kiru, Shinsengumi Chronicles, Lone Wolf Isaso, Ken Ki ) where the conclusion was unknown and the suspense was allowed to develop within the confines of the story.

Flaws? Raizo never had the sword skills of his contemporaries, and the sword play here is good but not as kinetic as the classics of the genre. Raizo's skills include his charisma, and top notch acting capabilities and they were great even in the mid-fifties. I guess Misumi knew this and brought the best out of Raizo. For Misumi, he still needed to develop his story telling capabilities and composition, and his 'his full colour palette' would not be developed or fashionable for another 15 years. Still, this is a really fun film and worth watching not only to see these stars in their formative years, but also because they were really talented and got this film right.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See one user review »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

15 December 1957 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Freelance Samurai See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Daiei Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Recently Viewed