Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa films are admired by filmmakers the world over. Here’s a brief list that will give you a good overview of his work.

The late Japanese director Akira Kurosawa is considered by many critics to be one of the most important directors of all time, influencing countless directors from Tarantino and George Lucas to Tarkovsky. His films tackle themes including morality, crime and family. He has made films period based dramas (jidai-geki) and contemporary dramas. So, here is a list of films that you must see by this hugely important director.

The Hidden Fortress (1958)

This striking drama famously influenced director George Lucas in the making of Star Wars (1977).

Seven Samurai (1954)

Probably his greatest film, Seven Samurai has influenced countless western films such as The Magnificent Seven (1960) & (2016)

Yojimbo (1961)

A Fistful of Dollars was the unofficial remake of this film directed by Sergio Leone. A huge lawsuit followed and it was finally resolved out of court, even though Sergio Leone did not get the rights to remake the film.

Ran (1985)

Beautifully cinematic as expected from Kurosawa, Ran is a true iconic film that adds to the list of great films Kurosawa has directed. The film itself barely made the money it cost to be made in the Japanese box office. However, it still remains a classic.

Dreams (1990)

Funded by Warner Bros. this film was supported by George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Copolla. The film isn’t the usual Kurosawa type of film, however I feel it’s important to have it in this list as it is inspired by real dreams of Kurosawa.

Sanjuro (1962)

Sanjuro is a sequel to to Yojimbo. Another classic by the legendary director.

Ikiru (1952)

Ikiru by KurosawaIkiru is classic drama film by Kurosawa. The actual film was going to be remade with Tom Hanks in 2004 but never saw the light of day.

Stray Dog (1949)

Stray Dog is considered a precursor to the contemporary police procedural and buddy cop film genres. A must-watch for any Kurosawa fan.

Drunken Angel (1948)

This is the first film where Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune collaborated. Mark Schilling cited Drunken Angel as the first film to depict post-war Yakuza in his book The Yakuza Movie Book : A Guide to Japanese Gangster Films

High and Low (1963)

High and Low is loosely based on the novel King’s Ransom by Ed McBain. As usual the film was filmed at Toho. This isn’t one of the biggest films of Kurosawa but yet very important.

To find out more about Akira Kurosawa check out this website dedicated to him and his work.