films seen
average score
Japan - 88 years old
R.I.P. (1910 - 1998)
more info

One of Japan's most lauded and prominent directors. Kurosawa is best know for his samurai films, personally I prefer his crime and drama work. I'm not really a big fan of the man, but he's such a big name there's simply no way past his oeuvre.



1952 / 143m - Japan
Doomed poster

Dersu Uzala

1975 / 142m - Soviet Union
Drama, Adventure
Dersu Uzala poster

Throne of Blood

1957 / 110m - Japan
Drama, Action
Throne of Blood poster

Seven Samurai

Shichinin no Samurai
1954 / 207m - Japan
Action, Adventure
Seven Samurai poster

In the Woods

1950 / 88m - Japan
Mystery, Crime
In the Woods poster

Drunken Angel

1948 / 102m - Japan
Drama, Crime
Drunken Angel poster

Okay film by Akira Kurosawa. I clearly prefer his drama over his genre work, I like his shorter films better than his longer ones and I'll take Shimura over Mifune every time. Hence, this film was pretty easy to get through. Sadly it didn't do a lot more for me. The drama is still a bit overdone and never really gripped me like a drama is supposed to.


1985 / 162m - Japan
Revolt poster

High and Low

Tengoku to Jigoku
1963 / 143m - Japan
Mystery, Thriller, Crime
High and Low poster


1961 / 110m - Japan
Drama, Action
Yojimbo poster

It has been ages since I last watched this film, and honestly, it seems I conflated quite a lot of it with Sanjuro. I guess a revisit was in order then, though I didn't get much more out of it the second time around. Classic Kurosawa simply isn't for me, and this was another good reminder.

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A ronin ends up in a small village, where two competing clans have formed. They're holed up on different sides of the village, with the few remaining villagers living in fear of violence every single day. The ronin decides to make the most of the situation and he exploits both sides for maximum profit.

The soundtrack is misguided, the comedy is offputting and 110 minutes is way too long for the simple premise. The performances aren't great either, it's only the decent cinematography and the proper finale that redeem the film ever so slightly. Jidaigeki fans will no doubt love it, I didn't really care for it.

Stray Dog

Nora Inu
1949 / 122m - Japan
Stray Dog poster

The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail

Tora no O wo Fumu Otokotachi
1945 / 59m - Japan
Thriller, Adventure
The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail poster

One of Kurosawa's earliest films, shot right after the war. The film is based on a Noh play and it kind of shows. The setting and plot are very limited, so it's good the runtime was kept short too. Even so, Kurosawa struggles to keep things interesting, and the addition of some almost slapstick-like comedy wasn't the solution.

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A general and his troops have fled into the woods. There they move on disguised as monks. They want to cross the border, but to do so they'll have to get past an enemy border patrol, who have been ordered to let nobody pass. They quickly suspect something's off, and a cunning fight between the two groups begins.

Enomoto's part is way over the top, the songs don't add much and even though the simple setup could've been fun, Kurosawa doesn't really do all that much with it. There are a few decent moments and it's a blessing the film doesn't cross the 60-minute mark, but it's mostly just for Kurosawa enthusiasts and completists.


1980 / 180m - Japan
Drama, War
Kagemusha poster

I'm almost halfway through Kurosawa's oeuvre, but his timeless appeal keeps escaping me. Kagemusha is a 3-hour epic, where the first two hours are almost entirely spent on slow-moving conversations. The final hour brings the action, but neither aspect of the film really did it for me.

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Takeda is one of the most powerful warlords in 16th-century Japan. War is an everyday reality, and when disaster strikes, Takeda's backup plan goes into effect. A doppelganger takes his place and is required to replace him for the next three years, keeping his death hidden from the outside world.

The first two hours are incredibly uneventful, dull, and utterly uncinematic. The film makes a big u-turn in the final hour, but Kurosawa's action work never really impressed me either. The cinematography is a bit better, which is at least something, but 3 hours of this was quite the ordeal.

Red Beard

1965 / 185m - Japan
Red Beard poster

One of the last "big" Kurosawa classics still on my list. Not surprisingly, one of his longer films too. It may be smaller in scope (no big battle scenes here), but the film is still epic in every imaginable way. I didn't think it very fitting for what is basically just a long, spun-out melodrama.

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Noboru is a young doctor who thinks he is ready to take on his job. He finds a place to work, under the supervision of Akahige, an old and stern doctor who likes to run operations by his own, particular rules. The two don't see eye to eye, but the longer Noboru works there, the more he begins to understand what it means to be a doctor.

The performances are overly theatrical, the soundtrack was distracting, and the plot stretched far beyond its breaking point. I did like the framing somewhat, but that was hardly enough to get me through three hours of extreme melodrama. A pretty bad Kurosawa flick and another one unworthy of his reputation.


Tsubaki Sanjûrô
1962 / 96m - Japan
Action, Adventure
Sanjuro poster


1990 / 119m - Japan
Dreams poster

The Hidden Fortress

Kakushi-Toride no San-Akunin
1958 / 126m - Japan
Comedy, Adventure
The Hidden Fortress poster