Akira Kurosawa

High and Low

High and Low

High and Low

IMDb: 8.7
1963
142min

An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur’s son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

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The Hidden Fortress

The Hidden Fortress

The Hidden Fortress

IMDb: 8.1
1958
139min

Japanese peasants Matashichi and Tahei try and fail to make a profit from a tribal war. They find a man and woman whom they believe are simple tribe members hiding in a fortress. Although the peasants don’t know that Rokurota is a general and Yuki is a princess, the peasants agree to accompany the pair to safety in return for gold. Along the way, the general must prove his expertise in battle while also hiding his identity.

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Kagemusha

Kagemusha

Kagemusha

IMDb: 8.1
1980
160min

Akira Kurosawa’s lauded feudal epic presents the tale of a petty thief who is recruited to impersonate Shingen, an aging warlord, in order to avoid attacks by competing clans. When Shingen dies, his generals reluctantly agree to have the impostor take over as the powerful ruler. He soon begins to appreciate life as Shingen, but his commitment to the role is tested when he must lead his troops into battle against the forces of a rival warlord.

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Dersu Uzala

Dersu Uzala

Dersu Uzala

IMDb: 7.5
1975
141min

A military explorer meets and befriends a Goldi man in Russia’s unmapped forests. A deep and abiding bond evolves between the two men, one civilized in the usual sense, the other at home in the glacial Siberian woods.

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Rashômon

Rashômon

Rashômon

IMDb: 8.3
1950
88min

Brimming with action while incisively examining the nature of truth, “Rashomon” is perhaps the finest film ever to investigate the philosophy of justice. Through an ingenious use of camera and flashbacks, Kurosawa reveals the complexities of human nature as four people recount different versions of the story of a man’s murder and the rape of his wife.

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Ikiru

Ikiru

Ikiru

IMDb: 8.3
1952
143min

Mr. Watanabe suddenly finds that he has terminal cancer. He vows to make his final days meaningful. His attempts to communicate his anguish to his son and daughter-in-law lead only to heartbreak. Finally, inspired by an unselfish co-worker, he turns his efforts to bringing happiness to others by building a playground in a dreary slum neighborhood. When the park is finally completed, he is able to face death with peaceful acceptance.

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Dreams

Dreams

Dreams

IMDb: 7.8
1990
119min

A collection of magical tales based upon the actual dreams of director Akira Kurosawa.

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The Idiot

The Idiot

The Idiot

IMDb: 7.4
1951
166min

Kameda, who has been in an asylum on Okinawa, travels to Hokkaido. There he becomes involved with two women, Taeko and Ayako. Taeko comes to love Kameda, but is loved in turn by Akama. When Akama realizes that he will never have Taeko, his thoughts turn to murder, and great tragedy ensues.

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The Bad Sleep Well

The Bad Sleep Well

The Bad Sleep Well

IMDb: 8.1
1960
151min

A vengeful young man marries the daughter of a corrupt industrialist in order to seek justice for his father’s staged suicide.

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Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai

IMDb: 8.7
1954
207min

A samurai answers a village’s request for protection after he falls on hard times. The town needs protection from bandits, so the samurai gathers six others to help him teach the people how to defend themselves, and the villagers provide the soldiers with food. A giant battle occurs when 40 bandits attack the village.

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Throne of Blood

Throne of Blood

Throne of Blood

IMDb: 8.1
1957
108min

Returning to their lord’s castle, samurai warriors Washizu and Miki are waylaid by a spirit who predicts their futures. When the first part of the spirit’s prophecy comes true, Washizu’s scheming wife, Asaji, presses him to speed up the rest of the spirit’s prophecy by murdering his lord and usurping his place. Director Akira Kurosawa’s resetting of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” in feudal Japan is one of his most acclaimed films.

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Ran

Ran

Ran

IMDb: 8.2
1985
162min

In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how their new-found power will corrupt them.

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Yojimbo

Yojimbo

Yojimbo

IMDb: 8.3
1961
110min

A nameless ronin, or samurai with no master, enters a small village in feudal Japan where two rival businessmen are struggling for control of the local gambling trade. Taking the name Sanjuro Kuwabatake, the ronin convinces both silk merchant Tazaemon and sake merchant Tokuemon to hire him as a personal bodyguard, then artfully sets in motion a full-scale gang war between the two ambitious and unscrupulous men.

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Sanjuro

Sanjuro

Sanjuro

IMDb: 8.2
1962
96min

Toshiro Mifune swaggers and snarls to brilliant comic effect in Kurosawa’s tightly paced, beautifully composed “Sanjuro.” In this companion piece and sequel to “Yojimbo,” jaded samurai Sanjuro helps an idealistic group of young warriors weed out their clan’s evil influences, and in the process turns their image of a proper samurai on its ear.

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