|Directed by||Terence Young|
|Story by||Laird Koenig|
|Edited by||Johnny Dwyre|
|Music by||Maurice Jarre|
|Box office||3,300,488 admissions (France)|
Red Sun (French: Soleil rouge, Italian: Sole rosso) is a 1971 Spaghetti Western film directed by Terence Young and starring Charles Bronson, Toshirō Mifune, Alain Delon, Ursula Andress, and Capucine. It was filmed in Spain by the British director Young with a screenplay by Denne Bart Petitclerc, William Roberts, and Lawrence Roman, from a story by Laird Koenig. It was released in the United States on June 9, 1972.
Link Stuart and Gauche are the ruthless co-leaders of a gang of bandits who rob a train of its $400,000 payload. On the train is the Japanese ambassador, on his way to Washington, who has with him a ceremonial tachi, a gift to the American president. Gauche steals the gold-handled sword and shoots dead one of the ambassador's two samurai guards. At the same time, by Gauche's order, other members of the gang double-cross Link by throwing dynamite into the train car he occupies and leave him for dead. Before the gang departs, the surviving samurai guard, Kuroda, tells Gauche he intends to track him down and kill him, but Gauche is dismissive of the threat.
The Japanese ambassador instructs Link, who was not injured in the attempt to kill him, but who has been disarmed, to assist Kuroda in tracking down Gauche. Kuroda is given one week to kill Gauche and recover the sword. If he fails, both Kuroda and the ambassador will have to commit harakiri for having lost their honor in allowing the sword to be stolen and the samurai's death to go unavenged. Link reluctantly agrees, but he realizes that Kuroda will kill Gauche immediately, which Link does not want because he knows Gauche will have hidden the loot. Once they set off in pursuit of the gang, Link repeatedly attempts to elude Kuroda, only to be thwarted by the irrepressible samurai.
Sure enough, Gauche and four gang members bury the loot, and then Gauche kills them so only he knows the hiding place. Gauche pays off others, who go their own way, and the remaining gang members stay with him. While tracking Gauche's gang, Kuroda reveals to Link that his samurai values are disappearing and his countrymen no longer value the customs of old. Convinced that the country is changing forever and that the samurai spirit will soon be gone, Kuroda explains that the only way to honor his ancestors and his own way of life is to bring back the ceremonial sword. The two approach a ranch that has been taken over by some gang members, and in a brief battle kill them all and take their horses. Link, now armed with guns taken from the gang, can no longer be threatened into doing Kuroda's bidding. He rides away from Kuroda, but has a change of heart and returns to him, having grown to respect the strict bushido code by which Kuroda lives. However, he warns Kuroda that he will kill him if he tries to kill Gauche before Link learns where the loot has been hidden.
Continuing the pursuit, Link decides the best way to get to Gauche is through his girlfriend, Cristina. The duo travel to the brothel where she works in the town of San Lucas, and Link locks her in her room. The next morning, four of Gauche's men arrive at the brothel to fetch Christina. Link and Kuroda kill three of them, and the fourth is sent back to Gauche with the message that the duo has abducted Cristina and will give her to Gauche in exchange for the stolen sword and Link's share of the spoils from the train robbery. The exchange is to take place at an abandoned mission a day's ride away.
Link and Kuroda, on the way to the exchange, have a non-violent confrontation that compels Kuroda to agree to not kill Gauche until Link has obtained from him the information he seeks. In trying to escape from the duo, Christina rides into the path of some Comanches, and she kills a warrior who assaults her. In retribution, the leader commands her to be bound and her neck to be tied with wet rawhide, to have her slowly strangled as the sun dries the strip. Link and Kuroda charge into the group, killing many and driving the rest of the Comanches away.
When they arrive at the mission, Link and Kuroda are ambushed by Gauche and his men. Gauche, who has the sword with him, tells one of his men to shoot Link, disregarding Cristina's appeal not to do so. Just then the Comanches attack, which forces the ex-partners, Kuroda, Cristina and Gauche's men to fight on the same side. The defenders successfully repel the attacks, first on the mission, then, after it is burned down, in the surrounding cane fields. However, the attrition rate is high. When the last attack has been countered and the Comanches are dead or have fled, only Link, Kuroda, Cristina and Gauche are alive.
Gauche immediately faces off against Link, who has run out of bullets. Kuroda closes in behind Gauche and prepares to kill him, but remembering his promise to Link, he hesitates. Gauche turns and shoots Kuroda, mortally wounding him; Link seizes the opportunity to grab a rifle from the ground. Gauche is confident that Link will leave him alive to learn where the loot is hidden, but Link, having decided that the dying samurai's honor is more important to him than money, kills him and promises the dying Kuroda that he will return the tachi to the ambassador. After Kuroda dies, Link rejects Cristina's offer to join her, and later hangs the sword in front of the train station where the Japanese ambassador is arriving, thus eluding capture and fulfilling his pledge.
- Charles Bronson as Link Stuart
- Ursula Andress as Cristina
- Toshirō Mifune as Kuroda Jubei
- Alain Delon as Gauche
- Capucine as Pepita
- Barta Barri as Paco
- Guido Lollobrigida (as Lee Burton) as Mace
- Anthony Dawson as Hyatt
- Gianni Medici (as John Hamilton) as Miguel
- Georges Lycan (as George W. Lycan) as Sheriff Stone
- Luc Merenda as Chato
- Tetsu Nakamura as the Japanese Ambassador
- Mónica Randall as Maria
- José Nieto as Murdered Farmer
- Julio Peña as Peppe
- Ricardo Palacios as Pogo
Bronson starred in The Magnificent Seven, an American remake of Seven Samurai, in which Mifune had appeared. Film director John Landis has an uncredited appearance as a henchmen killed by Mifune's character.
The project was announced in 1968, with Toshirō Mifune attached early on. Ted Richmond Productions was going to make it for Warner Bros.-Seven Arts. Clint Eastwood was mentioned as a possible early co-star. The film was eventually made by France's Corona Films, headed by Robert Dorfman and Richmond.
Bronson was extremely popular in Japanese theaters at this time, and Red Sun set an attendance record in Tokyo, playing for a record 35 weeks in its first run engagements.
- "Soleil Rouge". British Film Institute. London. Archived from the original on February 5, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
- Box office information for film at Box Office Story
- "Movie Reviews". NY Times. April 26, 2018.
- Martin, Betty (October 9, 1968). "Mike Witney Changes Wars". Los Angeles Times. p. c20.
- "Tate Case Chatter Goes On--and On". Los Angeles Times. September 22, 1969. p. e19.
- Martin, Betty (October 23, 1970). "MOVIE CALL SHEET: Wendell Burton to Star". Los Angeles Times. p. d17.
- Michael R. Pitts (1999). Charles Bronson: the 95 films and the 156 television appearances. McFarland & Co. p. 211. ISBN 9780786406012. Retrieved June 26, 2020.