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Akira Kurosawa

  • Highest Rated: 100% Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjûrô) (1963)
  • Lowest Rated: 56% The Sea Is Watching (2003)
  • Birthday: Mar 23, 1910
  • Birthplace: Omori, Tokyo, Japan
  • The most well-known of all Japanese directors, the great irony about Akira Kurosawa's career is that he's been far more popular outside of Japan than in Japan. The son of an army officer, Kurosawa studied art before gravitating to film as a means of supporting himself. He served seven years as an assistant to director Kajiro Yamamoto before he began his own directorial career with Sanshiro Sugata (1943), a film about the 19th century struggle for supremacy between adherents of judo and jujitsu that so impressed the military government, he was prevailed upon to make a sequel (Sanshiro Sugata Part Two).Following the end of World War II, Kurosawa's career gathered speed with a series of films that cut across all genres, from crime thrillers to period dramas. Among the latter, his Rashomon (1951) became the first postwar Japanese film to find wide favor with Western audiences, and simultaneously introduced leading man Toshiro Mifune to Western viewers. It was Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai (1954), however, that made the largest impact of any of his movies outside of Japan. Although heavily cut for its original release, this three-hour-plus medieval action drama, shot with painstaking attention to both dramatic and period detail, became one of the most popular Japanese films of all time in the West, and every subsequent Kurosawa film has been released in the U.S. in some form, even if many -- most notably The Hidden Fortress (1958) -- were cut down in length. At the same time, American and European filmmakers began taking a serious look at Kurosawa's movies as a source of plot material for their own work. In 1964, Rashomon was remade in a Western setting as The Outrage, while Yojimbo was remade by Sergio Leone as A Fistful of Dollars. The Seven Samurai (1954) fared best of all, serving as the basis for John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven (which had been the original title of Kurosawa's movie) in 1960; the remake actually did better business in Japan than the original. In 1985, an unfilmed screenplay of Kurosawa's also served as the basis for Runaway Train, a popular action thriller. Kurosawa's movies subsequent to his period thriller Sanjuro (1962) abandoned the action format in favor of more esoteric and serious drama, including his epic-length medical melodrama Red Beard (1965). In later years, despite ill health and problems getting financing for his more ambitious films, Kurosawa remained the most prominent of Japanese filmmakers until his death in 1998. With his Westernized style, Kurosawa always found a wider audience and more financing opportunities in Europe and America than he did in his own country. A sensitive romantic at heart, with a sentimental streak that occasionally rose forcefully to the surface of his movies, his work probably resembles that of John Ford more closely than it does any of his fellow Japanese directors.

Highest Rated Movies








No Score Yet Shozo (The Portrait) Screenwriter 2012
56% The Sea Is Watching Screenwriter 2003
87% Madadayo Screenwriter Director 2000
No Score Yet After the Rain Screenwriter 1999
No Score Yet Kurosawa Himself 1999
60% Rhapsody in August Director Screenwriter 1991
63% Dreams Screenwriter Director 1990
No Score Yet The Most Beautiful (Ichiban utsukushiku) Screenwriter Director 1988
No Score Yet A.K. Actor 1985
96% Ran Director Screenwriter 1985
88% Kagemusha Executive Producer Director Producer Screenwriter 1980
73% Dersu Uzala Screenwriter Director 1975
67% Dodes'ka-den (Dodesukaden) Director Producer 1970
73% Red Beard Director Screenwriter 1965
94% High and Low (Tengoku to jigoku) Screenwriter Director 1963
95% Stray Dog (Nora inu) Screenwriter Director 1963
100% Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjûrô) Director Screenwriter 1963
70% Hakuchi (The Idiot) Screenwriter Director 1963
100% The Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru (The Bad Sleep Well) Screenwriter Director 1962
95% Yojimbo Producer Director Screenwriter 1961
97% The Hidden Fortress (kakushi-toride No San-akunin) Screenwriter Director Producer 1958
98% Throne of Blood Producer Director Screenwriter 1957
83% Donzoko (The Lower Depths) Director Screenwriter 1957
100% Seven Samurai (Shichinin no Samurai) Screenwriter Director 1956
100% Ikiru Screenwriter Director 1956
73% I Live in Fear (Ikimono no kiroku) Screenwriter Director 1955
No Score Yet Araki Mataemon: Kettô kagiya no tsuji (Vendetta Of A Samurai) Screenwriter 1952
98% Rashômon Director Screenwriter 1951
86% Scandal (Shubun) Screenwriter Director 1950
No Score Yet Shizukanaru ketto (The Quiet Duel) (A Silent Duel) Director 1949
93% Drunken Angel Director Screenwriter 1948
86% Subarashiki Nichiyobi (One Wonderful Sunday) Director 1947
100% No Regrets for Our Youth Director Screenwriter 1946
No Score Yet Zoku Sugata Sanshiro (Sanshiro Sugata 2) (Judo Saga II) (Judo Story II) Director Screenwriter 1945
88% The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail (Tora no o wo fumu otokotachi) Director Screenwriter 1945
No Score Yet Sugata Sanshiro (Judo Saga) (Judo Story) Director 1943


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