Seven Samurai and Yojimbo
Probably between"Yojimbo" and “Seven Samurai.”
There are hundreds of good movies about samurais, that i can tell which is the most beautiful. But i can tell the worst: SIX STRING SAMURAI.
Reading this thread has made me realize that I still need to see many more samurai films before I could reliably say what the greatest one is, but my unreliable, contingent response would be: Seven Samurai.
It’s not just that Seven Samurai is a great movie that happens to be about samurai: it is a movie that is about the (end of the) samurai way of life. Each of the seven is a different version (or vision) of the samurai.
So, I’m not sure that I would say it is a greater movie than Ran or Yojimbo, but I would argue that it is the greater samurai movie.
Lachlan Foley thanks for your defence on my behalf for the rather foul use of language towards my assurtions.
i am undetered from my opinion still that Kill Bill is not a samurai film (it pays homage, the Katana, the winter duel, the sense of lost honour) for the simple fact that the bride is not a samurai herself yes the traditional classification applies look up what a samurai is you’ll see it is very specific. It is an action film blending the genres of revenge thriller, and martial art movie into a B movie masterpiece. its like saying something is film noir because it is lit darkly and deals with some seedy people in seedy situations.
as for mathis’ statements Costello was a hitman for the mob not a samurai there are certain values taken from samurai and applied but i am of the belief that it is a gangster film as it deal primarily with well gangsters… I say the same for Ghost Dog, although it is much easier to argue for Ghost Dog as its influences are much more apparent. As for the noir assurtion Watanabe made an excellent point that i again agree with.
We can argue genre until judgement i will post a link that sums up my argument nicely atlhough not a definitive source it lists some classic examples of films in the genre none of which are the ones we are debating. i will leave my opinion as just that:
I would go for several titles already quoted like of course Seven Samurai, Sanjuro but also the Baby Cart (or Lone wold and cub) series, Lady Snowblood (both movies), the very dark Sword of Doom, Hara Kiri, the first 4 movies of the Zatoichi series by Kenji Misumi (not the Kitano movie which really disappointed me), the most sexual ones are by far the one from the crazy Hanzo the razor series (using a different type of Blade :-)
Also let’s not forget in a completely different genre the excellent anime serie Samurai Jack or the nice japanese anime Samurai 7 inspired as you can easily guess by the Kurosawa masterpiece.
I think I’m the only one that gets bored to tears with Kurosawa’s samurai films. yawn His samurai, they are too noble and classy for me. I’d rather watch Lone Wolf and Club films.
Lone, Wolf and Club Sandwich.
To respond to a couple of earlier posts: one, Le Samourai and it’s kin are not Samurai films. Samurai films are, by definition, period dramas. Le Samourai draws parallels between the figure of the samurai and that of the gangster. If you tear down that wall someone could answer ‘Seven Samurai’ as their favorite western because Kurosawa drew parallels to John Ford’s westerns, and that’s just silly. two, the word ronin means masterless samurai, it’s a qualifying term, so the samurai in Seven Samurai are still samurai, they just happen to be masterless which qualifies them as ronin as well.
And finally, including Kurosawa samurai films, my top ten would be as follows:
1. Seven Samurai
4. Throne of Blood
7. Samurai Rebellion
8. Hidden Fortress
Were he to be excluded, I’d include the Musashi Miyamoto trilogy, Sword of Doom, Lone Wolf and Cub, and a Zatoichi film or two.
I can’t believe no one mentioned the Zatoichi films! 26 films. 100+ tv episodes! Shintaro Katsu as the blind swordsman! Great stuff!
Well, said Josh W. Plain and simple: samurai films are period films. It makes sense.
I don’t really consider to be Ran and Kagemusha to be samurai movies. They are Shakespeare movies with a samurai setting. Kagemusha is a costume drama. Saying they are samurai movies is like saying The Seventh Seal is a slasher flick because it has death pursuing a group of people (same plot as Final Destination!). Seven Samurai isn’t just a samurai movie either as it transcends the genre while still being a part of it.
best actual samurai movies:
- Yojimbo and Sanjuro
- Lone Wolf and Cub series
- Kill Bill
- Zatoichi series
- The Hidden Fortress
- the stuff in the Rebel Samurai boxset
- Hanzo the Razor
- The Sword of Doom. I didn’t want to include this as it doesn’t have a plot other than Tatsuya Nakadai kills tons and tons of dudes but maybe that is actually a good thing.
- Seven Samurai
- Samurai trilogy. Way too much crappy filler but some great scenes.
People need to give “The Sword of Doom” another chance! It’s message is clear, it only seems subtle because the violence seems mindless, but it isn’t. In my opinion, it’s some of the best physical acting I’ve ever seen and it really relays the message of what’s going on inside of Ryunosuke. Refer to my previous post about it in this same forum for my indepth detail about it.
I’d say that Yojimbo, Harakiri and Sword of Doom are the three best samurai films that I’ve ever seen
Yojimbo. I also nominate it for the best western of all time and one of the ten best movies ever made.
“I don’t really consider to be Ran and Kagemusha to be samurai movies. They are Shakespeare movies with a samurai setting. Kagemusha is a costume drama.”
I’ll happily debate this. First of all, Ran may be based off of Shakespeare, but Kagemusha is not. So that’s nixed. And while the central figures of Ran and Kagemusha may be more authoritative figures than samurai, they exist in and of the ‘samurai system’, including a predominant amount of samurai as peripheral or supporting characters. While they may not conform to any rigid ‘samurai film stereotypes’ they do fall within both the same period and thematically involve the bushido and the samurai way of life in a fashion directly related to the samurai themselves, as opposed to something that draws modern parallels to the samurai code, e.g. Le Samourai.
“Saying they are samurai movies is like saying The Seventh Seal is a slasher flick because it has death pursuing a group of people”
No, it’s not saying that because a) slasher films are, by definition, a subgenre of horror, and The Seventh Seal eschews that by not falling into said category, and b) ‘slasher flicks’ is a much more debatable category than the samurai genre.
I’ll put one out there for Mizoguchi’s “The 47 Loyal Ronin”.
Throne of Blood
The Hidden Fortress
Oh Hell! Just about everything from Akira Kurosawa
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril
I’ve just started watching some samurai movies. I don’t know why the Samurai Trilogy hasn’t been mentioned more. I can’t call myself educated in the genre, but I’ve seen the first two and I’m really excited to see the third.
Seven Samurai is the movie I would have to pick, of course. Every main character is so unique and likable for different reasons. Shimura and Mifune are actors I’m dying to see more of.
No, Kill Bill is not a samurai film. It’s just a fanboy’s pastiche, sloppily strung together with tropes from Japanese cinema. I’d be hard pressed to find anyone other than yourself who would call this a fitting entry into the genre.
Rashomon by a MILE.
It is the greatest film ever :-)
the opening scenes of that film give me the chills its such genius.
Seven Samurai is brilliant though, but I think Rashomon is Kurosawa s masterpeice
Samurai Rebellion and Seppuku can match just about anything by Kurosawa.
Sword of Doom is also underrated.
Don’t think anybody has mentioned Assassination (Ansatsu) by Shinoda, that one is quite alright as well.
Sword of doom!…Anyone interested in starting a yakuza thread? And a chinese martial arts thread as well?
Anyone happen to know what some of Tarantino’s influences were when he made Kill Bill vol. 1? I am interested in contrasting the more serious samurai pieces with the pulpy stuff that came after and apparently influenced Tarantino and folks like the Wu-tang clan.
Are the swordsmen in Ashes of Time Redux considered actual samurai?
Connor, the influneces are mostly various Shaw Brothers films.
The swordsmen in Ashes of Time are not properly samurai, they belong to the genre “wuxia” (honourable martial arts).
Ah, that’s interesting — they don’t talk a lot about their way of life. Yet Kar-Wai says that Ashes of Time is also about the philosophy of the wuxia as well as the martial arts action.
Excluding the obvious picks of Seven Samurai and Yojimbo/Sanjuro.
The Twilight Samurai.
Sword of Doom is very good as well.
If Rashomon counts as a samurai film than, in my opinion, it is easily the best.