1968 • Japan • Directed by Kôsaku Yamashita
Tokyo, 1934. Gang boss Arakawa is too ill and a successor must be named. The choice falls on Nakai, but being an outsider he refuses and suggests senior clansman Matsuda instead. But Matsuda is in jail and the elders won’t wait for his release, so they appoint the younger and more malleable Ishido to take the reins. Clan honour and loyalties are severely tested when Matsuda is released, resulting in an increasingly violent internal strife. An atmospheric tale of gangland intrigue written by Kazuo Kasahara (Battles Without Honour and Humanity) and starring Tomisaburo Wakayama, (Lone Wolf and Cub, The Bounty Hunter Trilogy) and genre legend Koji Tsuruta, Big Time Gambling Boss is one of the all-time classics of the yakuza genre. Paul Schrader called it the richest and most complex film of its type, while novelist Yukio Mishima hailed it as a masterpiece.