Best Films of Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa, Japanese filmmaker

Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa is widely regarded as one of the greatest moviemakers of all time. Kurosawa undoubtedly played a pivotal role in the emergence of cinema as the predominant art form of the 20th century. While the Oriental master is best remembered for his swashbuckling samurai epics, his works were not always rife with resplendence and often dealt with social issues and human plight. In a career that spanned over five decades, Kurosawa produced a plethora of cinematic gems that explored uncharted avenues with great authority and conviction, thus making cinema touch new highs and lows. Akira Kurosawa shot to global fame with his 1950 masterpiece, Rashômon. The movie not only pioneered Kurosawa's tryst with unprecedented success, but also helped introduce the Japanese Cinema to the rest of the world. Despite his colossal success in the west, the suspicious producers in the Japan continued to show him the same kind of skepticism they had shown to Yasujirō Ozu decades earlier. But, they seemed to underestimate Kurosawa's prodigious talent and his great risk-taking abilities as a moviemaker. Though out his career Kurosawa took huge risks, often uncalculated ones. While some of them paid off, many of them failed to hit the target but the failures never bothered him. When it came to his art, Kurosawa never gave away an inch and perhaps that's what made his works so singularly influential. 

Post Red Beard (1965), Kurosawa struggled to keep abreast with the changing trends in cinema and challenges thrown by the growing popularity of television, or so his critics and rivals deceptively projected. Kurosawa, realizing that he needed a thinking lease to contemplate on his moviemaking prospects, took a five year break. In 1970, the Japanese maestro directed the highly acclaimed Dodesukaden, his first colour motion-picture. Unfortunately, the movie failed at the box-office, which bankrupted his newly established production studio. Many deemed Dodesukaden’s failure as the end of Kurosawa. But, half a decade later, Kurosawa backed it up with his first Russian production, Dersu Uzala,(1975), which went on to win the Best foreign Picture Oscar the very next year. Akira Kurosawa is only one of the few storytellers in the world of cinema who have shown the grit and perspicacity to use simplicity as the weapon to incite and hence portray the deepest human emotions on the celluloid. Time and time again, Kurosawa used his avant-garde works to prove that cinema at its purest knows no bounds or barriers.
Top 10 Movies by Akira Kurosawa (as per IMDb user ratings)

4). Ikiru (1952)
5). High and Low (1963)
8). Throne of Blood (1957)
9). Sanjuro (1962)
9). Red Beard (1965)
10). The Hidden Fortress (1958)

Top 5 Movies by Akira Kurosawa (Author’s Pick)

3). Rashomon (1950)
4). Yojimbo (1961)
5). High and Low (1963)

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  1. Definitely a director we all ought to worship :) I miss his films so much and I'm always tempted to watch them over and over again.

  2. I think we all do. I have deliberately not watched a few of his movies from the fear of having absolutely nothing to derive inspiration from when I need something really bad to keep myself in good spirit! :-)

  3. We are but mere mortals who can just look at the mater's work in awe!
    The last movie that he made was shot when he was practically completely blind!
    My personal favourite is The Throne of Blood!

  4. Very well said... we all indeed are in his awe. When he received the honorary Oscar he said, "I am not sure whether l actually deserve it or not, for I still have a lot to learn. From this point onward I will try my level best to justify the honor that has been bestowed upon me." Such was his humility! My all-time favorite movie as you would have read is Ran.

  5. I been wanting to watch more Kurosawa movies. (I've only watched Rhapsody in August). This is a good place to start. I'll be coming back for this list. Thank you.

  6. Kurosawa was a true master of his art and there haven't been many who could match him in his mastery of cinematic art. He produced his best works from the late 40s to the 80s and you must try and everyone who has a penchant for cinema must try and explore them. I am really glad that you found my post useful :-)

  7. Excellent selection of movies. "THE" best director in all of movie history. I have big collection of all his movies.

  8. Great write-up about Kurosawa, one of the greatest filmmakers ever. "Ran," "Rashoman," and "Yojimbo" would definitely be in my Top 5 as well. Though I am also rather fond of "Dodes'ka-Den"

  9. Thanks Alex... I am really glad that you liked it... Well, to be frank, all his movies are my favorite :)

  10. Can't go wrong with Kurosawa. Each of his films are a masterpiece. Difficult to find such mastery in film these days. Great review.

  11. Couldn't have agreed more... Kurosawa was a true genius when it came to the art of moviemaking!

  12. Murtaza a weird thought came tto my mind i would like share this since you and i are a lifelong admirers of kurosawa, suppose if akira kurosawa had worked in the indian mainstream cinema largely speaking of the hindi speaking audiences what would have been the fate of mainstream cinema in india and especially those working mainstream fimmakers at that time they are wood by sholay imagine if they have seen yojimbo, seven samurai, kagemusha, ran being made in indian context. Since i believe most of the audiences are especially habituted of being spoonfed and most of them r not even of aware of who kurosawa was.

  13. It would have been a completely different affair had Kurosawa been a part of Indian mainstream cinema. Sometimes I can't help but pity Indian audiences who rate the likes of Ramesh Sippy and Yash Chopra so highly. If the statues were to be made of the greatest filmmakers (to have embraced the world of cinema) with their statures in world cinema being decided by the heights of their statutes then most of the commercial Indian filmmakers wouldn't have their statues any taller than a few millimeters... whereas, the towering personality of Kurosawa would stand tall with the likes of Eisenstein, Dreyer, Bergman, Fellini, Bunuel, Ray, Bresson, Tarkovsky, etc. It's indeed a real shame that Kurosawa is not a household name in India.

  14. Very well said my friend i also feel pity for our audiences sometimes, just forget these giants of world cinema, we don't even acknowledge the works of our great filmmakers like shyam bengal, adorr, mrinal sen. Forget acknowledging these giants it has always been about the stars here which is the saddest part of them all but still we can only hope for the culture of good cinema.............Anyways thanks for the reply...............

  15. Hopefully, things will change... but, it might take a long time!!!


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