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Time Out says
A monumental hospital soap opera which looks exactly as though Kurosawa had taken a long look at Ben Casey and Dr Kildare, and decided that anything they could do he could do better. One has to reckon, however, with the fact that the Japanese Dr Gillespie, alias Red Beard, is played by Toshiro Mifune, and that Kurosawa really can do things better than most. While Red Beard busily demonstrates to his reluctant young intern that caring for the poor is more rewarding than a society practice, the film bowls along magnificently in a weird mixture of genuine emotion, absurdity and poetic fantasy. Perhaps only Kurosawa could have brought off the scene in which Red Beard, thwarted in one of his good works, erupts into a samurai frenzy, knocks out some 20 men, breaks arms and legs like matchsticks, and ends with a gravely shamefaced mutter: 'I think I've gone too far'.