Throne of Blood (“Spider Web Castle”) is a 1957 Japanese historical drama film co-written and directed by Akira Kurosawa. The film transposes the plot of William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth from Medieval Scotland to feudal Japan, with stylistic elements drawn from Noh drama. The film stars Toshiro Mifune and Isuzu Yamada in the lead roles, modelled on the characters Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
As with the play, the film tells the story of a warrior who assassinates his sovereign at the urging of his ambitious wife. Kurosawa was a fan of the play and intended to make his own adaptation for several years, delaying it after learning of Orson Welles’ Macbeth (1948). Among his changes was the ending, which required archers to fire arrows around Mifune. The film was shot around Mount Fuji and Izu Peninsula.
Despite the change in setting and language and numerous creative liberties, Throne of Blood often is considered one of the better film adaptations of the play. It won two Mainichi Film Awards, including Best Actor for Mifune.