Ran (1985) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ran (1985)



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

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. Thanks to his foolish pride, his domain collapses under its own weight as the sons battle each other over total control. Kurosawa's first film in five years, Ran had been in the planning stages for twice that long; Kurosawa had storyboarded the project with a series of vivid color paintings that have since been published in book form in England. The battle scenes are staged with such brutal vigor that it's hard to imagine that the director was 75 years old at the time. This 160-minute historical epic won several international awards, but it was not a hit in Japan, and it would be five more years before Kurosawa would be able to finance another picture. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovimore
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Art House & International, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Akira Kurosawa, Masato Ide, Hideo Oguni
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 22, 2005
Rialto Pictures


Tatsuya Nakadai
as Lord Hidetora Ichimo...
Akira Terao
as Tarotakatora Ichimon...
Jinpachi Nezu
as Jiromasatora Ichimon...
Daisuke Ryu
as Saburonaotora Ichimo...
Mieko Harada
as Lady Kaede
Hisashi Igawa
as Kurogane
Hitoshi Ueki
as Fujimaki
as Kyoami
Hisashi Ikawa
as Kurogane
Takeshi Nomura
as Tsurumaru
Toshiya Ito
as Naganuma
Kenji Kodama
as Shirane
Binpachi Ito
as Naganuma
Takeshi Katō
as Hatakeyama
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Ran

Critic Reviews for Ran

All Critics (76) | Top Critics (23)

Its true power is found in the small moments.

Full Review… | March 29, 2016
Time Out
Top Critic

This is one of the year's major cinematic events. It's well worth leaving the house for, should that opportunity arise.

Full Review… | February 25, 2016
AV Club
Top Critic

Ran remains gripping because it depicts not only the long-ago past, but also our hellish present.

Full Review… | February 23, 2016
Village Voice
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | April 23, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | April 23, 2014
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Less a director's return to form than an essay in solipsism and self-pity run amok.

Full Review… | April 23, 2014
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

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.

Dan Schultz
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.

Alex roy

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.

Carlos Magalhćes

Super Reviewer

Ran Quotes

Lord Hidetora Ichimonji: In a mad world, only the mad are sane.
– Submitted by Frank M (3 years ago)
Lord Hidetora Ichimonji: What madness have I spoken? Wherein lies my senility?
Saburonaotora Ichimonji: I'll tell you. What kind of world do we live in? One barren of loyalty and feeling.
Lord Hidetora Ichimonji: I'm aware of that.
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 (3 years ago)
Kurogane: Saburo is not our only enemy.
Jiromasatora Ichimonji: So what? If they attack, we retaliate. We grab their land and enlarge our own.
Kurogane: Fine words, but words don't win wars.
– Submitted by Frank M (3 years ago)
Lord Hidetora Ichimonji: The Great Lord goes nowhere alone.
Jiromasatora Ichimonji: You renounced your power. You have no need of an escort.
Lord Hidetora Ichimonji: Only the birds and the beasts live in solitude.
– Submitted by Frank M (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Ran on our Movie forum!