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Red Beard is a 1965 film directed by Akira Kurosawa, based on the short story collection Akahige shinryotan (赤ひげ診療譚) by Shūgorō Yamamoto (and a novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky). It stars Toshiro Mifune as Dr. Kyojō Niide, nicknamed "Red Beard".
The film is set in the Edo (Tokyo) of the 19th century. The protagonist of the film is Dr. Noboru Yasumoto, recent graduate of the medical school at Nagasaki, and disappointed in love. He's even more disappointed when he learns that instead of the prestigious post with the shogunate he'd expected, Dr. Yasumoto is assigned to a public clinic that provides free care for the poor. At first, the arrogant young Yasumoto is determined to be as contrary as possible so that Red Beard will fire him.
Over the course of the story, Dr. Yasumoto learns from his experiences and Red Beard's gruff wisdom, becoming both a better doctor and a better human being.
- Arranged Marriage: The failure of one drives some of Dr. Yasumoto's bitterness, and another leads to tragic circumstances.
- Badass: Red Beard beats up a bunch of brothel toughs with his bare hands. He then denounces violence and says that this is something a doctor should never do.
- Caretaker Reversal: Dr. Yasumoto first takes care of the ill and abused Otoyo, and when he falls sick she returns the favor.
- Character Development: Dr. Yasumoto is a much better person at the end of the film than he is at the beginning.
- Driven to Suicide: Several characters, some of whom succeed.
- Freudian Excuse: The Mantis Woman was sexually abused as a child, but Red Beard is quick to point out that not every sexually abused child grows up to become a Serial Killer. He maintains she was born with some form of mental illness.
- Honor Before Reason: The man who would have been Dr. Yasumoto's father in law feels he cannot forgive his eldest daughter and embrace his grandchild until Dr. Yasumoto accepts a new arrangement to make up for the jilting.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Red Beard is gruff, tough and quite the jerk, but is very compassionate to those in need.
- Oblivious to Love: Dr. Mori, who has to have Osugi's feelings pointed out to him by the other nurses.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Dr. Niide's name is hard to pronounce, and he has a reddish tinge to his beard, so he's always addressed as "Red Beard" or "Dr. Red Beard."