re: David !
- agreed on the Lower Depths. definitely underrated.
and the more i think about about it, Throne Of Blood is damn good. It was probably the first Kurosawa that i immediately had to watch again after i finished it for the first time. Mifune at the end, in his panicked fervor, it just doesn’t get much better than that.
re: Jashua W -
yes, sorry, Kane. I think my fingers got ahead of my brain on that one. Rosebud!
Personally, I am torn between Seven Samurai, Rashomon, and Ikiru.
I am glad to see so many mentions of Red Beard. I’ve always felt it was one of his more underrated films.
I just rewatched “Throne of Blood,” and was struck anew by the seamless blend of Noh and Shakespeare, but I adore “Ikiru.”
Throne of Blood is beautiful. As I’ve been on a bit of a Kurosawa binge (I generally try and watch two of his films a month) I’d have to shuffle my top five, due to the head-slapping involved in omitting Throne of Blood and Ikiru. Either way, I’m not going to revise my list because if I let that go I’d revise it three days from now, and another three after that, etc etc. However, after re-watching Kagemusha for the first time in years I can guarantee that it would go right above Ran and knock I Live In Fear out.
Kagemusha is one beautiful film, goddamn.
True, Joshua. For many of us, the answer to your original question might simply be “the last one I watched.”
Kurosawa is just one of those filmmakers that listing a favorite for is really just pointless. He is almost beyond analysis or film critique. Really.
This is a filmmaker I almost feel ashamed to judge or rank or write about intellectually. Just simply see them all.
He’s such a human and compassionate director, whose films hit you in the gut, on an emotional level. They get wiser and age very well. Everyone will have different favorites and even the same people will have different favorites at different times in their lives.
This is a guy that if you really love film, you should have no excuse for not going to IMDB (if you haven’t already), and methodically finding each and every film of his that you can get your hands on to watch. Then, watch each one several times.
1. Seven Samurai
2. Hidden Fortress
4. High and Low
5. Bad Sleep Well
6. Stray Dog
10.Throne of Blood
Not in any particular order altho Seven Samurai would be my favorite.
The Bad Sleep Well
**the name of my band’s first EP was called The Bad Sleep Well. and we have a song with the same title on our current record
1-Throne of Blood
2- The Hidden Fortress
3- The Seven Samurai
4-The Lower Depths
7-The Bad Sleep Well
8-High and Low
High and Low
The Bad Sleep Well
Interesting (and pleasing, too) how different our lists of favourites are. Yes Seven Samurai, yes Rashomon, yes Ran, yes Ikuru, but some of his “lesser” works are the ones I’m most fond of:
Rhapsody in August
This was the first Kurosawa I saw, the only one available at my local video store. I felt restless watching it, yet it lingered with me, and whetted my appetite to see more. 26 Kurosawa movies later, I decided to watch it again, half-expecting not to like it, but enjoyed it far more the second time round. While I (sort of) understand some of the criticisms leveled against it, dammit if I don’t love it to pieces.
Another of the ones I’ve seen twice. The sheer visual beauty of it is enough. But I find the story very engaging too. I was struck on the second viewing how shot through with melancholy the whole thing is.
His most entertaining. I’ll have to watch Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo, and Sanjuro again before rendering a final verdict, but Sanjuro is the samurai satire I remember giving the most simple enjoyment.
I just liked it, as exhausting as it is. I wouldn’t have guessed either that it was drastically cut, or that it was (apparently) a critical failure.
My number one is easily Rashomon but it is followed by Seven Samurai and Ikiru.
Too many! Red Beard is probably my favorite with Dreams, Rashomon, and Seven Samurai some of my favorite films also.
Very difficult, probably Ran or Rashomon
For me, my top 10 would have to be:
3. Seven Samurai
5. Stray Dog
6. High and Low
7. Hidden Fortress
10.Throne of Blood
Ditto to Tom Wilson – the last one I watched! Or…
Seven Samurai, Ikiru, The Lower Depths, Rashomon, Drunken Angel, Hidden Fortress, High and Low, Red Beard, I Live in Fear, and The Bad Sleep Well (of course, almost everyone loves Yojimbo/Sanjuro, and I also hold Dersu Uzala and Dreams as personal treasures, tho maybe not received as his ‘best’ work- surely, touching and memorable…
Throne of Blood
Actually the reasoning behind Kurosawa and Mifune is much different then the reasoning mentioned. I can’t recall exactly but the author of the book Red Beard is based off of had problems with Mifune’s performance and thought Kurosawa should have went another direction in casting. Kurosawa was bothered by this comment quite a bit and, paired with him and Mifune already having done so much together, split up without quarrel. I remember a heart breaking part was that when Mifune was very ill he wanted to see Kurosawa one last time. Kurosawa heard this and went to see him to tell Mifune of everything he has done for him (or something to that effect) but Mifune had already died. Mifune’s daughter or wife, can’t remember which, said they felt Mifune needed to see Kurosawa one last time and to hear those words.
Anyways, these are my favorite movies of his that I have seen.
1. Seven Samurai – My first Kurosawa and such a beautiful epic. Enough has been said of it.
2. Yojimbo – Love Mifune’s performance in this and Kurosawa’s excellent blend of humor and action. Also has one of the most intense and darkly humorous endings in film.
3. High and Low – I was surprised with how much I loved this one. Proves that Kurosawa truly was a master of whatever genre he took up.
4. Ikiru – A touching piece on coming to terms with what you have done with your life and what effect you leave on the world.
5. Sanjuro – Again, love the performances but I love the evolution of Mifune’s character. Also, one of the most intense endings in film.
Dersu Uzala and Do’Des-kaden are still sitting on my shelf to be watched and the others I have seen are Rashomon, Throne of Blood, Kagemusha, Ran, Drunken Angel.
RedBeard is my favourite movie from Kurosawa, in fact it’s my favourite movie fullstop. There’s so much to love about that film, every scene would make a beautiful still, blown up and hung on the wall (for some reason my girlfriend thinks that our bedroom would NOT look better if we actually did this. Pity) the characters as well are just so beautifully brought to life in all their misery and triumph. Although there is definitly a sense of meloncholy while watchin it come to it’s end knowing Mifune and Kurosawa will never coloberate again.
Other posts have already said it but I’d like to agree that it is great to see some of the masters ‘lesser works’ being listed as favourites. I always had a great fondness for The Bad Sleep Well and I Live in Fear. I prefer Sanjuro to Yojimbo as well, though I suspect this bucks the popular trend (something I’ve never had a problem bucking?). For me Sanjuro would be an abosolute classic even if it only had the scene with Mifune sitting on the Go board downing sake and beratting the young samurai and of course THAT end!
Please forgive my terrible spelling!!
Rashomon, the best film of all time.
But apart from that Throne of Blood and Seven Samurai.
I didnt like yojimbo, and i havent got round to watchign Ikiru yet or any of his russo-japanaese films.
Six months on my favorites are Drunken Angel, The Bad Sleep Well and Kagemusha.
People here seem to skew to the black & white work; but, god, Kagemusha and Ran are spectacular eye-candy.
Seven Samurai was my favorite for a long time. It’s so damn epic! But after working my through most of his filmography, Drunken Angel is my favorite. Not too far behind are Throne of Blood, Rashomon, and Ran. I have yet to see The Bad Sleep Well, Kagemusha, Red Beard, The Lower Depths, and Dodes’ka-Den.
Have anyone seen his films in the Postwar Kurosawa set? Are they on par with his other films?
I think there is something very special about his black and white work, especially his use of rain and shadows
Web Bist, for the Postwar Kurosawa stuff I really like Scandal a lot. The Idiot is good, but you can see where it was butchered. I Live in Fear is really fascinating due to it being one of the few times Kurosawa dealt with nuclear issues (Rhapsody in August being the other big one). One Wonderful Sunday is cute and Capraesque, but it also has some very neat scenes. No Regrets for Our Youth is great, and it’s Kurosawa’s only film with a female protagonist. Great stuff all around, methinks.
Yes! I was looking for a topic along these lines.
1. Drunken Angel
3. Seven Samurai
4. High and Low
5. Red Beard
9. Throne of Blood
10. Hidden Fortress
Drunken Angel I think is one of the most understated and truly revolutionary films of all time. I know Seven Samurai is lauded as Kurosawa’s best (and it is a technical and narrative masterpiece), but Drunken Angel is such a great minimalist piece with such great characters and overflowing with existentialist symbolism. A deceptively simple film, but deep to its core.
Overall, I think Throne of Blood is his best-looking film in terms of picture and cinematography. One of my favourite Shakespeare adaptations certainly.
Yojimbo is, I think next to Seven Samurai, his most influential film. And the funny thing about Kurosawa is that all the time he’s referencing Western culture which was such a huge influence on his style and he ended up influencing Western culture with his “imitations”. Amazing director, a true visionary.
Joshua W: Thanks so much!
Deckard Croix: Drunken Angel is wonderful. Toshirô and Takashi have so much chemistry together on screen. The movie has some truly classic moments (Toshirô dancing in the club – might be the most pimp scene Kurosawa has ever filmed. It even tops the bloody conclusion to Ran). The shots of the murky setting are beautifully placed throughout the film creating some profound allegories. And how heart wrenching is it to watch Toshirô decomposing before our very eyes as the movie progresses?