Violent Streets (also known as Violent City or Bôryoku gai) is a 1974 Yakuza movie directed by Hideo Gosha. Some of the movie’s cast includes Noboru Ando, Bunta Sugawara, Akira Kobayashi, Isao Natsuyagi & Tetsurô Tanba.
The film follows the story of Egawa (played by Noboru Ando), a retired Yakuza underboss, turned owner of a nightclub called The Madrid. Egawa, who now wishes to live the life of a civilian, finds himself gradually being dragged back into the criminal underworld.
Local gang members are placing increasing pressure on him to sell The Madrid which was initially given to him as a retirement present by the Yakuza. Also, Egawa’s former associates have been released from prison and urge him to reform his old clan so that they can muscle back in on the local turf; Egawa, however, refuses.
Wishing to ignite a war between the two current reigning Yakuza factions, Egawa’s associates kidnap a TV personality who is under contract to one gang in an attempt to frame the other. This does not go according to plan and Egawa is forced to take action.
How was Violent Streets Received Critically?
Violent Streets has been well-received by critics, many of whom have praised the movie for its fast-paced action and visually appealing cinematography. Some even consider Violent Streets to be an example of Hideo Gosha’s best work.
Films from the Far Reaches stated “Violent Streets is one of the wildest, bloodiest and most visually stunning Yakuza yarns ever made. Violent Streets is a masterpiece, plain and simple. One of Gosha’s best (just maybe his very best) and one of the crowning achievements in Japan’s Yakuza cycle of the 70s.”
Similarly, Matt Spry of Death Ray Drive said “Violent Streets is a lean and mean yakuza exploitation picture that plays with a lot of genre tropes – e.g. rival groups, old ways versus young guns, etc. – all capped off by a deeply fantastic streak.”
About the Director – Hideo Gosha
Hideo Gosha was a renowned Japanese film director, screenwriter, and producer who was active from the 1950s to the 1990s. He is widely considered to be a pioneer of Japanese action and crime films and is particularly well-known for his Samurai and Yakuza-themed movies. Some of his most notable works include “Three Outlaw Samurai” (1964), “Violent Streets” (1974), and “Onimasa” (1982).
Throughout his career, Gosha received numerous awards and accolades for his impact on Japanese cinema, and he was honored by the Japanese government for his contributions to the film industry. Sadly, he passed away in 1992 at the age of 63 due to oesophageal cancer. Despite his untimely death, Gosha’s innovative and impactful works continue to be celebrated and remembered as some of the most important films of his time.
Physical Releases of Violent Streets
A new Blu-ray release for Hideo Gosha’s Violent Streets is set to launch in the UK on Monday 20th February 2023. Revived by Eureka Entertainment as part of the hugely popular Masters of Cinema series, this release is a 1080p presentation made from a 2K restoration of the original film elements, completed by Toei Company.
Special features include optional English subtitles, an introduction to Violent Streets and the works of director Hideo Gosha by film critic Tony Rayns, Jasper Sharp on Violent Streets, as well as a collectors booklet containing a new essay written by Tom Mes, an expert of Japanese cinema. What’s more, the first print run of 2000 copies will include a limited edition O-card Slipcase featuring stunning new artwork by Tony Stella.
If you’d like to own this release, you can purchase Violent Streets via the Eureka Entertainment website.
Other Yakuza-Themed Movies by Hideo Gosha
As well as his works in the Samurai genre, Hideo Gosha is well known for his Yakuza movies. Here are some other examples of Yakuza films by this director.