The story unfolds in flashback as four characters—the bandit Tajomaru (Mifune), the samurai Takehiro (Mayasuki Mori), his wife Masako (Machiko Kyo), and the nameless woodcutter (Takashi Shimura)—recount the events of one afternoon in a grove. Each story is self-serving, and all are mutually contradictory, leaving the viewer unable to determine the truth of the events.
The film's concept has been highly influential on many other subsequent works. In English and other languages, "Rashomon" has become a by-word for any situation wherein the truth of an event becomes difficult to verify due to the conflicting accounts of different witnesses.
Rashomon is the film that catapulted Akira Kurosawa into widespread acclaim and recognition around the world, garnering first place at the 1951 Venice Film Festival and later picking up an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
The one thing that's certain in Rashomon is that a man (Masayuki Mori) was killed in the forest.
He may have been murdered by the crazed bandit (Toshiro Mifune) who raped his wife (Machiko Kyo), but her version of the story differs greatly from that of the bandit, who has no qualms about claiming that he raped the woman and then killed the man in a duel.
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