You really should know who AKIRA KUROSAWA (1910-1998) is! A master at setting up the mise en scene and framing the shot, Kurosawa was the greatest of Japanese directors, and one of the greatest directors of all time from any country. Stylistically and thematically his work is reminiscent of the best of John Ford.
A fine place to start is by viewing:
Shichinin no Samurai (1954) [aka: Seven Samurai]. Remade in America as a western (The Magnificent Seven) in 1960, and combined with the saga of Beowulf to make The Thirteenth Warrior more recently. This is a classic struggle of a small band to protect a weak village against a large outlaw band.
See that and pay attention to the following four films:
Rashomon (1950) A crime told from several points of view, memorable for the framing sequence set in a tumbledown temple during a torrential rain storm. Toshiro Mifune became a star based on his role in this film.
Yojimbo (1961) [aka: The Bodyguard] Loosely based on Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett, this is the tale of a samurai who plays one set of villains against another, and vice versa, to free a village from the evil hold both gangs have over the town. Remade (nowhere nearly as well) as Last Man Standing, with Bruce Willis.
Ran (1985) Arguably Kurosawa's finest film, an adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear, set in medieval Japan. A magnificent film, spectacularly mounted and shot. A feast for the eyes, indeed.
Kagemusha (1980) [aka: Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior)] A sort of Japanese take on The Prisoner Of Zenda, with a poor thief standing in for a deceased warlord.
*Contributed by: "Mark Orr" Date: Feb 13 2002 / 15:02:08
1985 Nominated for Best Achievement in Directing: RAN
1989 Honorary Award: For accomplishments that have inspired, delighted, enriched and entertained audiences and influenced filmmakers throughout the world.