A couple of years ago we wrote a top ten list of Kung Fu movies, but we recently realized that we have failed to highlight the best Samurai movies. We have put together this list of fantastic Samurai movies in an attempt to remedy our oversight. What are your favorite Samurai movies? Did we miss any of your favorites?
Yojimbo: A wandering samurai-for-hire eventually finds a dramatic solution to the problems of a town with two warring clans.
The Seven Samurai: A 16th century Japanese farming community has been victimized by bandits, year after year. Desperate to find some means of ending the terror, the villagers hire seven unemployed samurai to help defend them. Film formed the basis of The magnificent seven and Battle beyond the stars.
Ran: Historical drama set in 16th century Japan, patterned after Shakespeare’s King Lear. An aging ruler attempts to divide his kingdom peacefully among his three sons but is driven to madness by their turning against him.
The Hidden Blade: During the time of change of the mid-19th Century, Yaichiro is bid farewell by his fellow samurai friends Munezo and Samon as he leaves their clan’s fiefdom on the northwest coast of Japan.
The Last Samurai: Tormented Civil War veteran Captain Nathan Algren is coerced by a mercenary officer to train the Japanese Emperor’s troops in the use of modern weaponry. Opposing this modernization are the samurai warriors who are holding fast to their traditions of honor, despite their strategic disadvantage.
Chushingura: An adaptation of one of Japan’s revered folk stories about a group of 18th century assassins who are seeking revenge on a court official.
13 Assassins: A small band of Japanese warriors is given the task of killing a tyrannical ruler to save the country.
Harakiri: A young samurai is compelled to commit suicide and his father-in-law, also a samurai, takes revenge.
The Twilight Samurai: As the feudal Shogun period is unravelling in late 19th-century Japan, widowed, low-ranking samurai Seibei devotes his life not to the art of war, but to his two children and ailing mother. Hopeful that true happiness may at last find him when his childhood love divorces her husband, Seibei instead succumbs to fate when he is forced to face a renowned enemy warrior in a life-or-death battle.
The Sword of Doom: A samurai assassin is prepared by his teacher for the violent life and death clashes required to defend his honor.