Rate The Movies of Akira Kurosawa

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rob Tomlin, Oct 2, 2002.

  1. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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    List your favorite Kurosawa movies in order of preference. Feel free to give reasons for your order, and number of "stars" you feel each film deserves.
    For me:
    1. Ran. Just incredible film making! To me, this is Kurosawa's culmination of all the great things in his prior movies.
    2. Seven Samurai What needs to be said?
    3. Yojimbo A Samurai for hire? Cool!
    4. Sanjuro See Yojimbo! These two are on very equal footing. Sanjuro may belong in the number 3 spot if I did this list from scratch tomorrow!
    5. Red Beard Great story telling. Probably better character development than many of his other movies.
    I would give all of the above movies 5/5 Stars (I am use to using the Netflix rating scale, sorry)!
    These are the only ones I have seen. I am still waiting for Netflix to send me Rashomon but it is constantly out of stock! [​IMG]
    I truly believe that Akira Kurosawa is one of the best directors of all time. His compositions are simply amazing!
     
  2. Krzysztof W

    Krzysztof W Extra

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    I love Kurosava's movies, I guess all of them, but my favourite is the "Hidden Fortress". Perhaps it is not his most serious piece, but it is really wonderful story. I strongly recommend it to everybody. It is on DVD (see Criterion Home Page)

    Enjoy

    Krzysztof W
     
  3. Graeme Clark

    Graeme Clark Cinematographer

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    1. Ran - Agree with Rob. One of my faves.
    2. Hidden Fortress - Funny and entertaining
    3. Seven Samurai - Wonderful epic
    4. Yojimbo - Same as hidden Fortress.
    5. Rashomon - After all I had read of this movie. It kind of disappointed me, but I still like it.
    6. Kagemusha - I really need to see this one again.
    8. Sanjuro - I didn't like this nearly as much as Yojimbo.
    7. Throne of Blood - Same as Kagemusha. I think I was trying to remember Macbeth while watching it too much.

    I really want to see more Kurosawa. His movies are almost always entertaining and pretty timeless. Really need to see some of his non period pieces.
     
  4. Jan H

    Jan H Cinematographer

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    1. The Seven Samurai
    2. Ran
    3. Ikiru
    4. Rashomon
    5. Red Beard
    6. Yojimbo
    7. The Hidden Fortress
    8. Sanjuro

    I'm all over the upcoming box set.
     
  5. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    Rob,

    I agree with you about Ran, Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Sanjuro & Red Beard.
    You have excellent taste.

    Rather than rate them all I'll give you a few recommendations based on what you have not seen.

    1. Rashomon - Criterion DVD nuff said
    2. Hidden Fortress - see above
    3. Throne of Blood - The only reason this is not the #1 pick is that there is no DVD of this fantastic film. Based on your top choice of Ran this is right up your alley and is well worth seeking out.
    4. Dersu Uzala - not sure about the quality of this DVD. Fantastic Film. Its a Russian frontier Epic so this would qualify if you want to explore beyond his Samurai period films.
    5. High and Low - Kurosawa made some great Crime Noir films but this is the only one on a Criterion DVD.
     
  6. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    These are the Kurosawa films I've seen in order of preference:
    1. Seven Samurai
    2. Ran
    3. Ikiru
    4. Yojimbo
    5. Rashomon
    6. Dersu Uzala
    7. Stray Dog
    8. Throne of Blood
    9. Kagemusha
    10. High and Low
    11. The Hidden Fortress
    12. Dreams
    13. The Bad Sleep Well
    14. Rhapsody in August
    15. Red Beard
    16. Sanjuro
    17. Dodes 'ka-den
    18. The Lower Depths

    I've got the Madadayo DVD but haven't watched it yet.
     
  7. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Great idea, Rob.

    1.Ran, a film as some critics have observed that could have only been made in his old age. It’s got everything from sweeping, great battle scenes to intense, psychological conflict. Love, honor, betrayal: what else could you ask for? And just to prove that some themes are indeed universal, the story courtesy of Shakespeare.
    2.Seven Samurai—each character, no matter how minor is so sharply drawn that we believe we have known them all our lives and—but I could go on and on…
    3.High and Low another film taken from a Western writer. The novel is just a routine police procedure story (one of what must be 50, 87th Precinct stories), but Kurosawa has turned this into an intense drama that probes (then) current issues in Japan, as well as addressing a higher, moral question.
    4.Rashomon, probably the film that began Kurosawa’s reputation in the West.
    5.Sanjuro, which I like better than its predecessor.
    6.Yojimbo
    7.Red Beard
    8.Hidden Fortress
    9.Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams



    I have probably seen at least another 8–10 of his movies, but many years ago and in Japanese with no subtitles. My girlfriend of the time helped me with the plots (and whispered some dialogue), but I really could not fairly rate those films.
     
  8. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    Sorry, don't have time for explanations, but suffice to say, Kurosawa is my favorite director.

    In order,

    Ikiru
    Rashomon
    Ran
    Madadayo
    Throne of Blood
    Yojimbo
    Dersu Uzala
    High and Low
    Drunken Angels
    The Seven Samurai
    Kagemusha
    The Hidden Fortress
    Sanjuro
    Sanshiro Sugata

    Have the Red Beard DVD but haven't watched it yet. Also haven't watched Rashomon DVD, but have seen it a few times on VHS and TV.
     
  9. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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    Based largely on the recommendations here (thanks Jim and others!) I watched The Hidden Fortress last night. Suffice it to say, Kurosawa is now definitely one of my favorite directors! This was another excellent movie! A must have DVD as far as I am concerned!
    The similarities between it and Star Wars seemed rather obvious, and it is to George Lucas' credit that he freely acknowledges the influence this film had on Star Wars.
    I did miss not having quite as much movement of people in the typical "tide action" that Kurosawa is known for, but still thought the cinematography was very good.
    I must say that I am truly enjoying going through this "Kurosawa Discovery" right now! Now if only Wellspring would release the single DVD edition of the new transfer of Ran!
    Next up, either Rashomon or High and Low.
     
  10. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Hey Rob Tomlin, check this out:

    There's a Lean biography out (can't remember the name, but I'm thinking of using one of the photos in it as a sig of mine). One of the photos is picture of David Lean and Akira Kurosawa in the picture together. How cool is that!!!
     
  11. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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  12. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Rob Tomlin, I think it's called, David Lean, An Intimate Portrait. It's by Sandra Lean. Oddly enough my blood boils every time I read the section about Pauline Kael. I'd said some pretty nasty things about her, so I won't repeat them here. [​IMG]
    Anywho, has anybody read the book, The Emperor and the Wolf? I hear it's a wonderful biography of the works of Kurosawa and Mifune.
     
  13. Kirk Tsai

    Kirk Tsai Screenwriter

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    I'm going to try and catch several of Kurosawa's that I haven't seen in the upcoming Kurosawa & Mifune festival at the Castro theater, but here's how it stands now, in order of preference.

    Seven Samuri
    Ikiru
    Kagemusha
    Dersu Uzala
    High and Low
    Rashomon
    Red Beard
    Madadayo
    Yojimbo
    Ran
    Throne of Blood
    Sanjuro
    The Hidden Fortress
    Dreams

    The first five are especially set in stone. Unlike many, I find Kagemusha to be the great epic of his late career; in contrast, Ran seems--probably intentionally--too theatrical and one noted. However, I wouldn't hesitate to see any of the films I listed above again anytime. A special cheer goes out to Madadayo, a perfect end note for a great filmmaker.

    PS - when is Fox releasing a Region 1 Kagemusha? when is that Russian Dersu Uzala dvd coming out?
     
  14. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    I just realized I haven't even ranked mine yet.
    1.Rashomon
    - I like this better than Seven Samurai. I don't know why.
    2.Seven Samurai
    - The equal attention to character detail and action is astounding in this film. Too bad we don't get that nowadays.
    3.Yojimbo
    - A severed limb, dogs carrying fingers, and blood everywhere. Who would've thought you could see such things in a B&W film. Oh, did I mention this was a lot of fun to watch?
    4. Madadayo
    - I was probably the only guy in my film class that liked this one. You kind of have to have a basic understanding of Japanese culture to truly appreciate this one.
    5. Sanjuro
    - Funnier than Yojimbo, more action-packed, but it doesn't have Yojimbo's charm. Anybody else noticed that Sanjuro [insert last name] is a smart ass? [​IMG]
    6. Hidden Fortress
    - This is an odd choice to be at the bottom, considering that it's still great, and I'm a shameless Star Wars fanboy.
    I'm looking foward to watching Ran, Red Beard, Ikiru, and that one about the Russian. BTW, is High and Low any good? I'm hestitant to watch it considering I hated the remake.
     
  15. Kirk Tsai

    Kirk Tsai Screenwriter

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    High and Low is a great one. The story can be divided into two halfs, and both are equally intriguing. The first half takes place in one house, but Kurosawa's staging and compositions are masterful; I believe Scorsese listed it as one of the ten essential wide-screen films. It's the best kidnapping movie I've ever seen, and that's not yet concerning its social commentary.
     
  16. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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  17. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Dome, definitely check out High and Low. It's a leisurely-paced film but stick with it. What Kirk said is correct- Kurosawa's compositions are beautiful.
     
  18. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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    I just watched High and Low a couple of days ago. I continue to be incredibly impressed with Akira Kurosawa as a director! This was a great movie in every aspect!
    Since I am not able to get Rashomon from Netflix (constantly out of stock with a "long wait") and since I have yet to see a Kurosawa film that I haven't enjoyed immensely, I am going to go ahead and purchase it sight unseen. I really doubt that I can go wrong when it comes to Kurosawa!
     
  19. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Rob Tomlin said:
     
  20. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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    I just finished watching Dersu Uzala. All I can say is WOW! Fantastic film!
    Dersu is a great character, I can't imagine anyone not liking this old "Goldi". The relationship between "Capitan" and Dersu is so poignant and beautiful - and typical of nearly all Kurosawa films, the characters are extremely well developed. Kurosawa does this here without much dialog either, but in a visual sense that only the master could do!
    I would have to rate Dersu Uzala right near the top of my list, perhaps as high as number 3, competing very strongly with Yojimbo.
    Next up....Rashomon which I purchased sight unseen.
    Have I mentioned how much I love Akira Kurosawa?!
    [​IMG]
     

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