Doctor Sanada, in his typically blunt manner, tells local gangster Matsunaga that he may have tuberculosis and that treatment and a change in his lifestyle will become necessary. Understanding Matsunaga’s violent response as revealing a person scared of death and not beyond redemption or help, Sanada continues to offer assistance but will Matsunaga have the will power to overcome his bravado and environment?
The first of fifteen collaborations between actor Toshiro Mifune and director Akira Kurosawa is reasonable little film that looks at true courage. Mifune’s gangster boldly but irrelevantly proclaims that he isn’t afraid of death when first told he may have tuberculosis but finds it just beyond his will power to stop drinking, fighting, having sex and associating with those who would encourage him to do so. Meanwhile, a young girl is instructed to stop running and eating sweets and she does. The eponymous drunken angel is another Kurosawa regular, Takashi Shimura, and is slightly more rambunctious than his normal characters. He does well in balancing the drunken and the angel and conveying how closely related, but entirely different, courage and recklessness are. Who is stronger? Who has more courage, more will power?
This movie contains mild adult dialogue and knife violence, melee violence.
Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.