10 Best Samurai Movies

You’re tired of watching rom-coms with your girlfriend and want a little pick-me-up action flick so why not watch the top 10 best Samurai movies ever made. It will more than wake the warrior in you. Some of these films were filmed in black and white but keep an open mind for good features are timeless.


  1. "Seven Samurai" (1954). This film was directed by the most famous Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. He revolutionized cinematic filmmaking techniques in this movie. Synopsis: Villagers seek the help from seven jobless samurai to defend their small town from bandits. This film is described as the greatest Japanese film ever made and one of the most influential films of all time.
  2. "Harakiri" (1962). This film won eight awards, and the swords used in fight scenes were indeed real, an interesting bit of trivia. Synopsis: Peace throws thousands of samurai warriors into poverty and to end their life in honor is to commit Harakiri, which means to thrust sword into their gut.
  3. "The Twilight Samurai" (2002). This won thirty-seven awards and is more of a dramatic movie than an action piece. Synopsis: A 19th century samurai attempts to protect a battered woman who was once his long-time love, but must still hold true to his code of honor and social precedence as dictated in the 19th century.
  4. "Throne of Blood" (1957). This won three awards and is another film directed by Akira Kurosawa. It is based on Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” Spoiler alert: The final scene had arrows aimed at the main character and those arrows were real, so there were no special effects but the archers were choreographed so as not to hit the actor. Synopsis: A commander meets a spiritual guide in the forest and is motivated by his wife to fulfill the prophecy that he will become emperor.
  5. "Yojimbo" (1961). This won three awards and is a take-off of a spaghetti western. Synopsis: A samurai learns from an innkeeper that the town is divided so he then pits one against another then offers his services as bodyguard to the highest bidder.
  6. "The Hidden Blade" (2004). This film won three awards and achieved thirteen nominations. Synopsis: A low-ranking samurai caught between ancient ways and new Western methods of warfare is ordered one final challenge to his code of honor.
  7. "Ran" (1985). This won twenty-five awards and is another film by Akira Kurosawa. This action piece used 1400 extras. Two hundred horses were imported from the United States. The theme is a take off of Shakespear’s “King Lear.” Synopsis: Three sons must deal with their father’s retirement; two vie for power while the third is thrashed for his honesty.
  8. "Love and Honor" (2006). This is a love story in which a low-caste samurai struggles to please his heart and keep true to his conscience.
  9. "Samurai Rebellion" (1967). When a mistress displeases her lord, he dismisses her and orders a samurai to marry her. But, once they fall in love, the lord wants her back and the samurai must take a stand to keep her.
  10. "47 Samurai" (1942). This is based on Japanese legend. The master of 47 samurais is tricked into suicide which leads the men into poverty and shame and must prove their loyalty by avenging their master’s death.

There you have it, the top 10 best samurai movies for you to sink your teeth into. Sword play, flying arrows, love and loyalty… what more can you ask for? Drive yourself to the nearest rental store or rent these movies online and enjoy!

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