Kinema Junpo's Top 100 Japanese Films of the 20th Century (1995)

by idi_i_smotri | created - 02 Jan 2014 | updated - 02 Jan 2014 | Public
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1. Tokyo Story (1953)

Not Rated | 136 min | Drama

An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama, Sô Yamamura, Setsuko Hara

Votes: 44,994

2. Seven Samurai (1954)

Not Rated | 207 min | Adventure, Drama

98 Metascore

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Yukiko Shimazaki

Votes: 289,198 | Gross: $0.27M

3. Floating Clouds (1955)

123 min | Drama, Romance

A tragic social drama set in post war Japan and concerns a lonely woman trying to find purpose and stability in a devastated Tokyo.

Director: Mikio Naruse | Stars: Hideko Takamine, Masayuki Mori, Mariko Okada, Isao Yamagata

Votes: 2,093

4. Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937)

86 min | Drama

The lives of two slum neighbors, one of a happy-go-lucky gambler and the other of a poor ronin, converge when the two get involved with the affairs of a powerful samurai official and his gangsters.

Director: Sadao Yamanaka | Stars: Chôjûrô Kawarasaki, Kan'emon Nakamura, Tsuruzô Nakamura, Chôemon Bandô

Votes: 1,613

5. The Life of Oharu (1952)

Not Rated | 133 min | Drama

Follows a woman's fight and survival amid the vicissitudes of life and the cruelty of the society.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Tsukie Matsuura, Ichirô Sugai, Toshirô Mifune

Votes: 5,419

6. A Fugitive from the Past (1965)

183 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Three thieves escape from a heist, one of them killing the other two. He is sheltered by a prostitute and sought after by the police, but only after ten years his true motivation unravels.

Director: Tomu Uchida | Stars: Rentarô Mikuni, Sachiko Hidari, Kôji Mitsui, Yoshi Katô

Votes: 699

7. Rashomon (1950)

Not Rated | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

98 Metascore

The rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband are recalled from the perspectives of a bandit, the bride, the samurai's ghost and a woodcutter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 138,010 | Gross: $0.10M

8. Ikiru (1952)

Not Rated | 143 min | Drama

A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Shin'ichi Himori, Haruo Tanaka

Votes: 59,883 | Gross: $0.06M

9. Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo (1935)

92 min | Comedy, Drama

A man gets rid of a cheap pot without knowing it contains a map to a treasure. As word spreads, many join in hunting it.

Director: Sadao Yamanaka | Stars: Denjirô Ôkôchi, Kiyozo, Kunitarô Sawamura, Reizaburô Yamamoto

Votes: 862

10. A Sun-Tribe Myth from the Bakumatsu Era (1957)

110 min | Comedy, Drama

In the last days of the Shogunate, a resourceful grifter seeks to outwit competing prostitutes, rebellious samurai and other inhabitants of a brothel in order to survive the hardened times.

Director: Yûzô Kawashima | Stars: Furankî Sakai, Sachiko Hidari, Yôko Minamida, Yûjirô Ishihara

Votes: 565

11. Early Summer (1951)

Not Rated | 125 min | Drama

A family chooses a match for their daughter Noriko, but she, surprisingly, has her own plans.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Setsuko Hara, Chishû Ryû, Chikage Awashima, Kuniko Miyake

Votes: 6,331

12. Ugetsu (1953)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Fantasy, War

A tale of ambition, family, love, and war set in the midst of the Japanese Civil Wars of the sixteenth century.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyô, Kinuyo Tanaka, Mitsuko Mito

Votes: 18,308 | Gross: $0.01M

13. Night and Fog in Japan (1960)

107 min | Drama

Long takes and a highly theatrical visual approach combine to form a tense and confrontational look at the decline of a socialist student activists' movement in Japan.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima | Stars: Miyuki Kuwano, Fumio Watanabe, Masahiko Tsugawa, Hiroshi Akutagawa

Votes: 533

15. A Story from Chikamatsu (1954)

Not Rated | 102 min | Drama, History, Romance

Ishun is a wealthy, but unsympathetic, master printer who has wrongly accused his wife and best employee of being lovers. To escape punishment, the accused run away together, but Ishun is certain to be ruined if word gets out.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Kazuo Hasegawa, Kyôko Kagawa, Eitarô Shindô, Eitarô Ozawa

Votes: 3,223

16. Muhomatsu no issho (1943)

80 min | Action, Adventure

Matsugoro is a poor rickshaw driver whose animated spirit and optimistic demeanor make him a favorite of the town. Matsu helps an injured boy, Toshio, and is hired by the boy's parents.

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki | Stars: Tsumasaburô Bandô, Ryûnosuke Tsukigata, Keiko Sonoi, Kyôji Sugi

Votes: 59

17. Twenty-Four Eyes (1954)

Not Rated | 156 min | Drama

Schoolteacher Hisako Oishi forms an emotional bond with her pupils and teaches them various virtues, while at the same time worrying about their future.

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita | Stars: Hideki Gôko, Itsuo Watanabe, Makoto Miyagawa, Takeo Terashita

Votes: 2,011

18. Yojimbo (1961)

Not Rated | 110 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Eijirô Tôno, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa

Votes: 100,186

19. Osaka Elegy (1936)

90 min | Comedy, Drama

A young woman becomes a mistress of her boss in order to support her family.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Isuzu Yamada, Seiichi Takegawa, Chiyoko Ôkura, Shinpachirô Asaka

Votes: 1,813

20. The Ghost of Yotsuya (1959)

76 min | Horror

The ghost of a samurai's wife takes revenge on her husband.

Director: Nobuo Nakagawa | Stars: Shigeru Amachi, Noriko Kitazawa, Katsuko Wakasugi, Shuntarô Emi

Votes: 1,085

21. The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (1987)

Not Rated | 122 min | Documentary, War

A documentary following Kenzo Okuzaki, a 62-year-old WW2 veteran notorious for his protests against Emperor Hirohito, as he tries to expose the needless executions of two Japanese soldiers during the war.

Director: Kazuo Hara | Stars: Kenzo Okuzaki, Riichi Aikawa, Masaichi Hamaguchi, Toshio Hara

Votes: 1,295

22. Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Drama

During the violent chaos of post-War Japanese black market, a young gangster called Shozo Hirono has to keep up with the rapid shifts of power between unscrupulous bosses.

Director: Kinji Fukasaku | Stars: Bunta Sugawara, Hiroki Matsukata, Kunie Tanaka, Eiko Nakamura

Votes: 2,906

23. Kurenai no nagareboshi (1967)

97 min | Action, Crime

A young yakuza hitman named Goro does a job and needs to hideout away from Tokyo for a while. He hangs out with loose women and hard men and always manages to stay one step ahead of the law... See full summary »

Director: Toshio Masuda | Stars: Tetsuya Watari, Ruriko Asaoka, Jô Shishido, Kayo Matsuo

Votes: 117

24. Naked Youth (1960)

Not Rated | 96 min | Crime, Drama

A harsh young man seduces a freeloading young woman and eventually takes advantage of her knack for hitch-hiking to rob middle-class men.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima | Stars: Miyuki Kuwano, Yûsuke Kawazu, Yoshiko Kuga, Fumio Watanabe

Votes: 1,807

25. Late Autumn (1960)

Not Rated | 128 min | Comedy, Drama

A widow tries to marry off her daughter with the help of her late husband's three friends.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Setsuko Hara, Yôko Tsukasa, Mariko Okada, Keiji Sada

Votes: 3,874

26. Intentions of Murder (1964)

Not Rated | 150 min | Drama

A housewife living under her tyrannical husband has her life stressfully turned upside down after getting raped by a burglar.

Director: Shôhei Imamura | Stars: Masumi Harukawa, Kô Nishimura, Shigeru Tsuyuguchi, Yûko Kusunoki

Votes: 1,231

27. Till We Meet Again (1950)

110 min | Drama, History

The hero Saburo (Okada Eiji) is obstructed by a series of events from meeting Keiko (Kuga Yoshiko), his fiancee.

Director: Tadashi Imai | Stars: Yoshiko Kuga, Eiji Okada, Osamu Takizawa, Akitake Kôno

Votes: 92

29. The Naked Island (1960)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama

A family of four are the sole inhabitants of a small island, where they struggle each day to irrigate their crops.

Director: Kaneto Shindô | Stars: Nobuko Otowa, Taiji Tonoyama, Shinji Tanaka, Masanori Horimoto

Votes: 4,407

30. The Insect Woman (1963)

Not Rated | 123 min | Drama

Life story of a woman born in poverty trying to succeed. Through her many schemes, she faces her ups and downs in a cyclical nature, fueled mostly by self-interest.

Director: Shôhei Imamura | Stars: Emiko Aizawa, Setsuko Amamiya, Tomio Aoki, Tomoko Aoyagi

Votes: 1,692

31. Kiru (1962)

71 min | Action, Drama

A samurai seeks revenge and redemption after his family is executed by a rival clan.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Shiho Fujimura, Mayumi Nagisa, Masayo Banri

Votes: 325

32. Muddy River (1981)

105 min | Drama

In post-War Japan, a boy from a noodle store-owning family befriends a neighboring boy living in poverty.

Director: Kôhei Oguri | Stars: Takahiro Tamura, Mariko Kaga, Nobutaka Asahara, Makiko Shibata

Votes: 649

34. High and Low (1963)

Not Rated | 143 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yutaka Sada, Tatsuya Nakadai, Kyôko Kagawa

Votes: 24,322

35. Big Time Gambling Boss (1968)

95 min | Action

Tokyo, 1934. The boss of the clan that controls gambling agonizes and some of his followers propose to Nakai to take his place, but he refuses the offer and suggests they choose Matsuda, who is in prison.

Director: Kôsaku Yamashita | Stars: Sumiko Fuji, Nobuo Kaneko, Shin'ichirô Mikami, Hiroshi Nawa

Votes: 76

36. Sisters of the Gion (1936)

95 min | Drama

Two geisha sisters lead a hard life in the Gion district of Kyoto. After one of them feels obliged to support a bankrupt businessman, the other sister sets up various schemes to get rid of him.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Isuzu Yamada, Yôko Umemura, Benkei Shiganoya, Eitarô Shindô

Votes: 2,194

38. The Garden of Women (1954)

141 min | Drama

A student at a woman's university takes a controversial action against the school's old-fashioned doctrines

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita | Stars: Mieko Takamine, Hideko Takamine, Keiko Kishi, Yoshiko Kuga

Votes: 137

39. Fighting Elegy (1966)

Not Rated | 86 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

During the 1930s, a teenager yearns for a Catholic girl, whose only desire is to reform his sinful tendencies. Hormones raging, the young man channels his unsatisfied lust into the only outlet available: savage, crazed violence.

Director: Seijun Suzuki | Stars: Hideki Takahashi, Junko Asano, Yûsuke Kawazu, Chikako Miyagi

Votes: 1,220

40. Himatsuri (1985)

126 min | Drama

The villagers in a beautiful remote area of Japan are divided into the woodsmen, who worship the mountain goddess, and the fishermen, who worship the goddess of the sea. These traditions ... See full summary »

Director: Mitsuo Yanagimachi | Stars: Kin'ya Kitaôji, Kiwako Taichi, Norihei Miki, Junko Miyashita

Votes: 227

41. In the Realm of the Senses (1976)

NC-17 | 109 min | Drama, Romance

A passionate telling of the story of Sada Abe, a woman whose affair with her master led to a sexual obsession which then came to a violent end.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima | Stars: Tatsuya Fuji, Eiko Matsuda, Aoi Nakajima, Yasuko Matsui

Votes: 16,617

42. Zigeunerweisen (1980)

Not Rated | 144 min | Horror, Mystery

A surreal period film following an university professor and his eerie nomad friend as they go through loose romantic triangles and face death in peculiar ways.

Director: Seijun Suzuki | Stars: Yoshio Harada, Naoko Ôtani, Kisako Makishi, Akaji Maro

Votes: 836

43. Godzilla (1954)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

78 Metascore

American nuclear weapons testing results in the creation of a seemingly unstoppable, dinosaur-like beast.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Akihiko Hirata, Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi

Votes: 25,994 | Gross: $2.42M

44. Drunken Angel (1948)

Not Rated | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

A drunken doctor with a hot temper and a violence-prone gangster with tuberculosis form a quicksilver bond.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Toshirô Mifune, Reizaburô Yamamoto, Michiyo Kogure

Votes: 8,908

45. A Japanese Tragedy (1953)

116 min | Drama

Alternating in time, between the end of World War II and 1953, Haruko, a widow, does what she can to keep her daughter Utako and son Seiichi safe, fed, and sheltered. By 1953, it's clear ... See full summary »

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita | Stars: Yûko Mochizuki, Yôko Katsuragi, Masami Taura, Keiko Awaji

Votes: 241

47. Samurai Vendetta (1959)

Not Rated | 109 min | Drama, Action

Tange Tenzen and Nakayama Yasubei are honorable samurai living in an era of corrupt officials and treacherous clans. But after finding themselves in opposing clans and ensnared in a love ... See full summary »

Director: Kazuo Mori | Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Shintarô Katsu, Chitose Maki, Tokiko Mita

Votes: 223

48. Harakiri (1962)

Not Rated | 133 min | Drama, History

85 Metascore

An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Ishihama, Shima Iwashita, Tetsurô Tanba

Votes: 25,967