5 Best Samurai Movies

The 5 best samurai movies conjure images of swarthy Japanese men flinging swords in sweeping figure eights or a star-crossed nobleman committing an act of passionate hari kari in the name of justice and in the name of unmerited love. The best samurai movies actually embody the beauty of the Asian culture with the complexities of relationships and implicit drama universal to all cultures. Infused with action, highly stylized imagery, such as death as metaphor, the politico of humanity, and existentialism run symbolically strong and are an inherent aesthetic in Best Samurai Movies.

Mention samurai movies and any fan of the Samurai film culture understands the genre to be synonymous with Akira Kurosawa, a talented iconic Japanese filmmaker. Equally significant with samurai movies would be Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune who acted in numerous Kurosawa films as well as establishing his own production company. Samurai movies have had such a profound influence in American film culture to the extent that many western movies were modeled  after the style of the Japanese Samurai film. The five best samurai movies explore the essential components of samurai film, the sword, the alliance or conflict to the sword, class struggle, disenfranchisement, combat and the ability to master this engaging action, with visual expertise.

  1. "Seven Samurai", directed by Akira Kurosawa, would undoubtedly be included in the five best samurai movies. A poor village besought by villains recruit seven maverick samurai to protect it. "Seven Samurai" was made into a successful American remake which became a cult Western, titled "The Magnificent Seven" with an all star cast.  
  2. Ran". Akira Kurosawa's cinematic translation of Shakespeare’s King Lear which won several awards as well as Oscar nominations cannot be passed over. A father dividing power between three sons exiles the one who is loyal and is betrayed by the other two. Considered to be Kurosawa's masterpiece.
  3. "Rashomon".  A horrific crime involving rape and murder is told from differing viewpoints of the four defendants. A cult favorite,and which also became popularized as pop slang,depicting the same incident experienced from four different perspectives.  
  4. "Twilight Samurai". Directed by Yoji Yamada and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, "Twilight Samurai" depicts a widowed and impoverished samurai, supporting a household of two daughters and aged mother, who is pulled into a drama of love and protection with a childhood friend against her powerful husband. Winner of twelve awards in the Japanese Film Academy Awards
  5. "The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi" was directed by Beat Takeshi, who also starred in the film, and was the Silver Lion award winner at the Venice Film Festival. The movie, an action film with comedic overtones and exaggerated nuance involve gangsters,geishas and of course,the title character, Zatoichi,known as the Blind Swordsman.
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