samurai weapons
Samurai Weapons, Samurai Armor and the Samurai Way of Life

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Samurai Movies

One of the most popular themes, as far as movie making is concerned, has to be the Samurai warrior's story. Understandably, most of these movies have originated from Japan. However, western cinema, too, has had its share of samurai movies.

Some of them have been original, some were remakes, and some have just been dubbed versions of popular Japanese titles. Mosgt of the movies have been worthy enough to win the audience's fancy.

The Last Samurai', starring Tom Cruise, set in the times when the Samurai were at a decline, went on to enjoy big success. The movie was nominated for several major awards including the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.

One reason why samurai themes have been so popular among film-makers must be the scope for creativity that they provide. Intense fight scenes - among individuals as well as large scale batle, cunning politics and the constant struggle between high moral values and everyday living are only some ideas among many others that can be played around with. The spectrum of complex stories that can be woven around the life of a samurai warrior will always keep the audience excited.

The Japanese have been very creative with this genre of movies. Starting off with making dramatic movies on the life of a Samurai, these slowly turned into action movies with exciting fight scenes. Some beautiful movies have been made based on the helpless despair of the samurai who lost their pride and sense of purpose when feudalism declined.

Samurai movies continued to be made very prolifically and enjoyed by eager audiences until the early 1970s. It was at this time when a comparitive decline started on the number of samurai movies. This was a problably a consequence of the general decline in the film industry that Japan saw in this period.

However, warrior movies still continue to be made today. Sanurai stories still continue to be spun and movie-goers don't seem to have had their fill of samurai movies yet.

Here is a list of some popular Japanese samurai movies (Note: Where available for purchase, movies are linked to Amazon):

  • 1949 Jakoman and Tetsu - directed by Senkichi Taniguchi
  • 1950 Rashomon - directed by Akira Kurosawa

  • 1952 Vendetta for a Samurai - directed by Kazuo Mori

  • 1954 Seven Samurai - directed by Akira Kurosawa

  • 1954-56 Samurai Trilogy - directed by Hiroshi Inagaki

  • 1957 Throne of Blood aka Spider Web Castle - directed by Akira Kurosawa

  • 1958 The Hidden Fortress - directed by Akira Kurosawa

  • 1959 Samurai Saga - directed by Hiroshi Inagaki

  • 1960 The Gambling Samurai - directed by Senkichi Taniguchi

  • 1961 Yojimbo aka The Bodyguard - directed by Akira Kurosawa

  • 1962 Chushingura - directed by Hiroshi Inagaki

  • 1962 Harakiri - directed by Masaki Kobayashi - Won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival

  • 1964 Three Outlaw Samurai - directed by Gosha Hideo

  • 1965 Samurai Assassin aka Samurai - directed by Kihachi Okamoto

  • 1965 Sanshiro Sugata - directed by Seiichiro Uchikiro - this is a remake of Kurosawa's film Sanshiro Sugata and Sanshiro Sugata part 2

  • 1966 The Sword of Doom - directed by Kihachi Okamoto

  • 1966 The Adventure of Kigan Castle - directed by Senkichi Taniguchi

  • 1967 Samurai Rebellion - directed by Masaki Kobayashi Rebellion won the Fipresci Prize at the Venice Film Festival

  • 1969 Samurai Banners - directed by Hiroshi Inagaki
  • 1969 Red Lion - directed by Kihachi Okamoto
  • 1969 Band of Assassins - directed by Tadashi Sawashima
  • 1969 Watch Out Crimson Bat

  • 1970 Mission: Iron Castle

  • 1970 Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo - directed by Kihachi Okamoto

  • 1970 The Ambitious - directed by Daisuke Ito

  • 1970 Incident at Blood Pass - directed by Hiroshi Inigaki

  • 1977 Intrigue of the Yagyu Clan - directed by Kinji Fukasaku

  • 1979 The 47 Ronin - directed by Kenji Mizoguchi

  • 1981 The Bushido Blade - directed by Tsugunobu Kotani

  • 1984 Legend of the Eight Samurai - directed by Kinji Fukasaku

  • 1988 Zatoichi - Directed, written and starring Shintaru Katsu

  • 2002 Twilight Samurai - directed by Yoji Yamada and nominated for a best foreign film Oscar.

  • 2003 Zatoichi - directed and starring Beat Takeshi and Silver Lion award winner at Venice Film  Festival
About the Author:  Scott Harker is the publisher of several websites including: In The Garden, and Reflexology.

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samuri movies

News About Samurai Movies

Hollywood Reporter

Lionsgate Taps 'Highlander' Creator Gregory Widen To Script Film On First Black Samurai
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Rotten Tomatoes

10 Ways Samurai Jack Wraps Up Its Story
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Methods Unsound (blog)

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Consequence of Sound (blog)

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... that in his heart to attack anybody,” he said. Medina starred as the Red Ranger, Cole Evans, in 40 episodes of the 2002 series Power Rangers Wild Force. He returned to the franchise as the villain Deker for 24 episodes of Power Rangers Samurai in 2011.
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Former 'Power Rangers' actor pleads guilty to killing roommate with samurai swordThe Comeback (blog)
Former 'Power Rangers' actor pleads guilty to killing roommate with swordLos Angeles Times -KTLA
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Samurai Jack: The essential episodes - Polygon
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The Rock Father Magazine

'RiffTrax Live: Samurai Cop' Slashes into Theaters this Spring...
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The time has come for the RiffTrax crew (Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett, of MST3K fame) to return to U.S. movie theaters, with RiffTrax Live: Samurai Cop, their 24th RiffTrax title since 2009 for Fathom Events. This special ...


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