The series featured an all-star cast. The central actor was MIFUNE Toshiro, who portrayed Oishi Kuranosuke; with TSUKASA Yoko as his wife Riku; ONOE Kikunosuke as Asano Takumi-no-kami.
ICHIKAWA Chusha VIII took the part of Kira Kozukenosuke Yoshinaka, but died after the filming of episode 47; his brother Kodayu replaced him. The co-lead in the production (and Oishi's main adversary) Uesugi clan's chief councilor Chisaka Hyobu was played by the great TANBA Tetsuro.
Among the ronin and their allies were WATARI Tetsuya as Horibe Yasubei, TAMURA Masakazu as teenage Yato Emonshichi, and Frankie SAKAI as Akabane Genzo. WAKABAYASHI Go and SAKAGAMI Jiro also appeared in the series.
Many actors appeared as guest stars in only a few episodes. Among them were many known to audiences outside of Japan. These included: NAKAMURA Kinnosuke as Wakisaka Awaiji-no-kami, SHIMURA Takashi, and superstar KATSU Shintaro.
Music was composed by the brilliant TOMITA Isao, and the swordfighting scenes were handled by KUZE Ryu, who had most notably done the same for KUROSAWA Akira's Yojimbo and Sanjuro. Every moment of this dynamic series is filled with gripping drama, which then explodes into exciting action. The production values in this series are clearly of motion picture level. Episodes 1-12 introduce the main characters and sets the stage for the events to come, with the initial reason for Kira's hatred of Asano shown in a new light as things progress towards the fateful incident at Edo castle. The year 1701 started off with a total eclipse of the sun in Japan. A frightful and ominous beginning, to say the least...As the dispute between Lord Kira and Asano grows, it comes to a head in Edo Castle when Asano attacks Kira in the Great Pinetree Corridor. This leads to Asano being ordered to commit ritual suicide and his clan abolished. This judgement went against the samurai code and leads the now masterless samurai of Ako to devise a plan to wreak vengeance on Lord Kira and voice their anger at the shogunate's unfair ruling.