Akira Kurosawa

1993
Madadayo (1993)
Akira Kurosawa
Japan
134′
For his final film, Akira Kurosawa paid tribute to the immensely popular writer and educator Hyakken Uchida, here played by Tatsuo Matsumura. Madadayo is composed of distinct episodes based on Uchida's writings that illustrate the affection and loyalty felt between Uchida and his students. Poignant and elegant, this is an unforgettable farewell from one of the greatest artists the cinema has ever known.
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1975
Dersu Uzala (1975)
Akira Kurosawa
Japan
136′
A military explorer meets and befriends a Goldi man in Russia’s unmapped forests. A deep and abiding bond evolves between the two men, one civilized in the usual sense, the other at home in the glacial Siberian woods. The film won the 1976 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, the Golden Prize and the Prix FIPRESCI at the 9th Moscow International Film Festival and a number of other awards.
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1961
Yojimbo (1961)
Akira Kurosawa
Japan
110′
The unemployed samurai Sanjuro (stunning as usual: Toshiro Mifune) travels through 19th century Japan to a remote mountain village, where two hostile family clans fight for supremacy by all means. Sanjuro skillfully takes advantage of the rivalries, takes sides here and there and plays both groups against each other in his daring intrigue game.
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1960
The Bad Sleep Well (1960)
Akira Kurosawa
Japan
151′
A young executive hunts down his father's killer in director Akira Kurosawa's scathing The Bad Sleep Well. Continuing his legendary collaboration with actor Toshiro Mifune, Kurosawa combines elements of Hamlet and American film noir to chilling effect in exposing the corrupt boardrooms of postwar corporate Japan.
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1958
The Hidden Fortress (1958)
Akira Kurosawa
Japan
138′
In 16th-century Japan, two rival clans wage war against each other. Two poor, greedy peasants try to bypass the front lines and return home. Stumbling across a piece of gold hanging from a tree, they are convinced they are on the trail of the vanquished clan's treasure. In their hunt for the loot, they are surprised by a man who is none other than General Rokurota (Toshiro Mifune). They follow the same route, but it is fraught with pitfalls, as the two peasants only manage to make mistakes in their haste to escape with the gold. Kurosawa's first film produced in CinemaScope, it was primarily aimed at the general public, recounting an epic adventure with plenty of humor and gags. Kurosawa was determined to make this film a success so that he could go on to make more personal films and while it's certainly the most mainstream film he ever made, its quality is on a par with that of his other works. "The Hidden Fortress" gained new notoriety after George Lucas revealed that he had drawn inspiration from it for "Star Wars" by telling a story from the point of view of the weaker characters (in this case, the peasants who become the two droids in Lucas' film).
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1949
Stray Dog (1949)
Akira Kurosawa
Japan
122′
He is still young, the actor who should become known around the world with masterpieces like "Rashomon" or "The Seven Samurai". Here, Akira Kurosawa has created a thriller against the background of the recent and completely unprocessed Japanese war past, of which many of the characters, whether woman or man, talk. "Stray Dog" plays during the sultry hot summer in Tokyo in 1949. The young and completely inexperienced inspector Murakami (Toshiro Mifune) gets his loaded service weapon stolen from his jacket pocket in an overcrowded bus. Murakami is beside himself. He fears the worst consequences for his still young career. Together with his older colleague Sato from the theft department, he sets out on a search for traces of the thief. While we roam about the Japanese post-war setting with him, he gains experiences and learns to keep calm from the old and experienced colleague Sato. Women who are involved in what is going on are also snarling at him as a greenhorn. An impressive milieu study by Akira Kurosawa, in which the master proves himself in the genre film and shows us what he is capable of in narrative, atmospheric and visual terms.
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1948
Drunken Angel (1948)
Akira Kurosawa
Japan
98′
In this powerful early noir from the great Akira Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune bursts onto the screen as a volatile, tubercular criminal who strikes up an unlikely relationship with Takashi Shimura’s jaded physician. Set in and around the muddy swamps and back alleys of postwar Tokyo, Drunken Angel is an evocative, moody snapshot of a treacherous time and place, featuring one of the director’s most memorably violent climaxes.
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