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Ran (1985)



Average Rating: 8.8/10
Reviews Counted: 65
Fresh: 62 | Rotten: 3

Akira Kurosawa's sprawling, epic take on King Lear should be required viewing for fans of westerns, war movies, or period films in general.


Average Rating: 8.7/10
Critic Reviews: 21
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 1

Akira Kurosawa's sprawling, epic take on King Lear should be required viewing for fans of westerns, war movies, or period films in general.



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Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 37,028

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Movie Info

Ran is Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa's reinterpretation of William Shakespeare's King Lear. The Lear counterpart is an elderly 16th-century warlord (Tatsuya Nakadai), who announces that he's about to divide his kingdom equally among his three sons. In his dotage, he falls prey to the false flattery of his treacherous sons (Akira Terao and Jinpachi Nezu), while banishing his youngest son (Daisuke Ryu), the only member of the family who loves him enough to tell him the unvarnished truth.

Nov 22, 2005

Rialto Pictures

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All Critics (66) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (62) | Rotten (3) | DVD (22)

Ran is one of the cinema's greatest works, a film of true tragic vision.

April 23, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the supreme cinematic achievements of the last quarter-century.

April 23, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Less a director's return to form than an essay in solipsism and self-pity run amok.

April 23, 2014 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
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A film for the ages.

April 23, 2014 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
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Ultimately it is this mixture of the grand gesture and the fine touch, the big world and the small people who occupy it, that lingers with us long after Ran is over.

April 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
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By the time Kurosawa's camera comes to rest on the film's final, poignant image, a painting of the Buddha that one character had promised another would protect him from harm, the movie seemingly has accomplished the impossible: one-upping Shakespeare.

April 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The result is the year's best foreign film, an action epic to dwarf anything from Lucas or Spielberg.

April 23, 2014 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

Akira Kurosawa's Samurai take on King Lear is brutal but brilliant, a startling transposition to match his earlier Macbeth adap Throne Of Blood.

April 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Visually exciting, includes outstanding acting by a fine cast, and tells a compelling tale about ambition, betrayal and revenge.

February 26, 2009 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

A stunningly beautiful epic.

September 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A landmark of world cinema, this is a rousing, staggering epic and a haunting drama of timeless significance.

July 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Audience Reviews for Ran

An epic retelling of Shakespeare's "King Lear", detailing the actions of a ruthless king (Tatsuya Nakadai) and how his good intentions of dividing his kingdom amongst his three songs goes horribly awry, and a power struggle of biblical proportions unleashes itself upon this leader. This is a story loaded with intriguing themes such as guilt, power, violence, revenge, and insanity, and all of these come clashing together to form one huge beast of a film. Although, granted, it is slow-paced and the expository beginning goes on a little long, when it gets rolling it remains arresting and intense throughout. Nakadai's turn is simply sensational, as he fully captures the crippling insanity that threatened to tear this king asunder. The battle scenes are also a work of art, where the legendary director Akira Kurosawa really flexes his artistic muscles and conjures up some truly chilling moments. It falls a little short of perfect due to its beginning, but it is still a magnificent movie well worth a view.
July 20, 2014
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Akira Kurosawa's Ran is a brilliant, sweeping picture using plenty of themes for build an incredible story. Greed and revenge are the themes explored in the film, and Kurosawa always managed to get the most out of his film because he crafts films that really resonate with the viewer. Ran is such a film. Brilliantly shot, acted and directed, the film, not only boasts effective performances, but has stunning imagery, which adds so much to the film. Fans of his work will definitely relish in the power that the film possesses. I much preferred Kurosawa's earlier work, but Ran is nonetheless a strong film that features all the trademarks that has made Kurosawa's work so good. With strong performances, and a simple, yet effective story, Ran is brilliant, poetic filmmaking that should be seen by any film buff. I really enjoy films that have simple ideas for storylines, and I find that the filmmaker is able to get much more depth out of an idea without overdoing anything, and the result is an impressive effort that ranks among the finest foreign films. Nonetheless, I still think that Seven Samurai was Akira Kurosawa's masterstroke of filmmaking. He has never topped it, but he always delivered thought provoking, epics that managed to be some of the finest films ever made. If you want a good action drama, then give this a viewing, it is a film going experience like no other, and it's one of the few foreign films that have stood the test of time. This is a film worth seeing, and it is enthralling experience from start to finish that will surely appeal to viewers looking for a film that has a simple idea, yet grand execution in style. That was what stood out for Akira Kuroswawa's work, his knack to create big, ambitious films while keeping everything to a bare minimum, as to not complicate things for the viewer and in the process, he created something quite remarkable in the cinematic medium.
May 31, 2014
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

At 75 years old, Kurosawa delivered this epic, breathtaking cinematic spectacle of disgrace and tragedy falling upon mortal men. A major superproduction with overwhelming war scenes and spellbinding visuals - even if a bit long and repetitive in its second half.
February 24, 2013

Super Reviewer

"Men prefer sorrow over joy, suffering over peace."
Simply put: When an aging father gives various portions of his empire to his sons, let's just say things don't go exactly as planned. Kurosawa's brilliant epic is a powerful look at the insatiable lust for power that lurks in the hearts of men. How congeniality can turn to savagery at the slightest hint of gain.
Also, and what I think is his most effective message of the film: We as a people lie, cheat, steal, and in some instances murder, yet expect the world to be fair to us in return.
Like all Kurosawa films, he loves using nature to reflect what is happening in the story. As the family bonds being to fray, he often cuts to ominous clouds descending upon the castle. When the father realizes that he is no longer welcome in his kingdom, we get a close up of the sun and the sweat beading on his brow. These are just classic Kurosawa staples that are done beautifully here. While I was expecting this focus on nature, I was not however prepared for how graphic the film would be.
There are extended gory battle sequences that frankly were very shocking to me. I have nothing against violence, I just haven't seen Kurosawa tackle it with such intensity. Although it is arresting, it is very fitting to the film as Kurosawa shows that these aren't men engaged in acts of valor, this is wanton violence brought on by greed. The music that plays over it isn't triumphant, it is of something lost. At the tender age of 75, you would think he wouldn't want to dabble in such brutality. But I guess 75 is as good as age as any to show some good old-fashion double suicides.
While there is a lot to chew on, I think that if Kurosawa wants you to walk away with one message, it is to never give up power, especially to your rotten kids.
February 19, 2012
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

    1. Lord Hidetora Ichimonji: In a mad world, only the mad are sane.
    – Submitted by Frank M (2 years ago)
    1. Lord Hidetora Ichimonji: What madness have I spoken? Wherein lies my senility?
    2. Saburonaotora Ichimonji: I'll tell you. What kind of world do we live in? One barren of loyalty and feeling.
    3. Lord Hidetora Ichimonji: I'm aware of that.
    4. Saburonaotora Ichimonji: So you should be! You spilled an ocean of blood. You showed no mercy, no pity. We too are children of thisage... weaned on strife and chaos. We are your sons, yet you count on our fidelity. In my eyes, that makes you a fool. A senile old fool!
    – Submitted by Frank M (2 years ago)
    1. Kurogane: Saburo is not our only enemy.
    2. Jiromasatora Ichimonji: So what? If they attack, we retaliate. We grab their land and enlarge our own.
    3. Kurogane: Fine words, but words don't win wars.
    – Submitted by Frank M (2 years ago)
    1. Lord Hidetora Ichimonji: The Great Lord goes nowhere alone.
    2. Jiromasatora Ichimonji: You renounced your power. You have no need of an escort.
    3. Lord Hidetora Ichimonji: Only the birds and the beasts live in solitude.
    – Submitted by Frank M (2 years ago)
    1. Tango: Men prefer sorrow over joy... suffering over peace!
    – Submitted by Frank M (2 years ago)
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