Three Outlaw Samurai (1964)

Three Outlaw Samurai (1964), directed by Hideo Gosha.

When peasants kidnap a nobleman's daughter and threaten to kill her unless their demands are met -- something about starvation -- the focus is on three ronin who happen to be on hand:

There are so many other characters and factions that I lose track of them. Plenty of sword-fighting and realistic brawling. We have the growing theme of disobedience to authority, and even more than in Kurosawa, nobility is drained from the samurai classes. The long-focus photography looks much like that director's.

The women have a hard time of it: Japanese cinema often sneaks in bondage scenes. Even our hero Shiba takes a masochistic beating while roped up.

Combined orchestral score and traditional instruments.

I have read that this is a theatrical prequel to a television series of the same name.

Criterion Blu-ray.