My top 50 Japanese moviesby fletchers_paradox | created - 03 Mar 2013 | updated - 03 Mar 2013 | Public
Some classics, some new wave, some sun tribe, some anime, some docs, some pinku, and a fair number that defy genre or movement classification.
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1. Eureka (2000)
217 min | Drama
The traumatized survivors of a murderous bus hijacking come together and take a road trip to attempt to overcome their damaged selves. Meanwhile a serial killer is on the loose.
Votes: 3,152 | Gross: $0.05M
2. 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.
(aka In the Realm of the Senses)
3. Sad Vacation (2007)
136 min | Drama
Kenji, abandoned by his mother, scrapes out a meager existence doing odd jobs including driving bar hostesses and their customers home. Besides this he takes care of the sister of an old ... See full summary »
Not Rated | 190 min | Drama, History, War
His ideals challenged by life as a conscript in war-time Japan's military, a pacifist faces ever greater tests in his fight for survival.
(aka The Human Condition) (This is for all three, I don't have a separate enough memory of them to list them separately, but I liked the third one the most.)
5. The Catch (1961)
105 min | Drama, War
Towards the end of WWII, a black American pilot is captured and imprisoned by rural Japanese villagers, who await official instructions as to how to proceed with their "catch."
(aka The Catch)
6. Shinjuku Mad (1970)
65 min | Drama
A man comes to Tokyo searching for his son's killer. He ventures into the deep underground of the city where he finds out that the untraceable killer is a mysterious revolutionary gang leader called Shinjuku Mad.
(aka Shinjuku Mad)
7. The 47 Ronin (1941)
241 min | Action, Drama, History
In 1701, Lord Takuminokami Asano has a feud with Lord Kira and he tries to kill Kira in the corridors of the Shogun's palace. The Shogun sentences Lord Asano to commit suppuku and deprives ... See full summary »
(aka 47 Ronin)
8. Princess Mononoke (1997)
PG-13 | 134 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy
On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.
Votes: 303,697 | Gross: $2.38M
(aka Princess Mononoke)
9. Woman in the Dunes (1964)
Not Rated | 123 min | Drama, Thriller
An entomologist on vacation is trapped by local villagers into living with a woman whose life task is shoveling sand for them.
(aka Woman in the Dunes)
10. Demons (1971)
134 min | Drama, Horror
After being robbed by a geisha, a ronin warrior carves a bloody path to seek revenge.
11. 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.
(aka The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On)
12. United Red Army (2007)
Not Rated | 190 min | Crime, Drama
A story about the rise and fall of United Red Army, a real life 70s short-lived Japanese armed revolutionary communist movement similar to more famous Red Brigades in Italy or ... See full summary »
Votes: 631 | Gross: $0.00M
(aka United Red Army)
13. Taboo (1999)
Unrated | 100 min | Drama, History, Thriller
The new member of a samurai militia unit causes disruption as several of his colleagues fall in love with him, threatening to disturb the rigid code of their squad.
Votes: 6,739 | Gross: $0.05M
(aka Taboo aka The Code)
14. The Bad Sleep Well (1960)
Not Rated | 151 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A vengeful young man marries the daughter of a corrupt industrialist in order to seek justice for his father's suicide.
(aka The Bad Sleep Well)
16. Death by Hanging (1968)
Not Rated | 117 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
A Korean man is sentenced to death by hanging, but he survives the execution. For the following two hours, his executioners try to work out how to handle the situation in this black farce.
(aka Death by Hanging)
17. Love Exposure (2008)
Unrated | 237 min | Action, Comedy, Drama
A bizarre love triangle forms between a young Catholic upskirt photographer, a misandric girl and a manipulative cultist.
(aka Love Exposure)
18. Boy (1969)
97 min | Drama
A young boy reluctantly aids his swindling father in a threatening scam.
19. Seven Samurai (1954)
Not Rated | 207 min | Adventure, Drama
A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.
Votes: 291,896 | Gross: $0.27M
(aka Seven Samurai)
20. Pitfall (1962)
Not Rated | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy
A man wanders into a seemingly deserted town with his young son in search of work. But after a bit of bad luck, he joins the town's population of lost souls.
21. Sing a Song of Sex (1967)
103 min | Drama
Four high school students preparing for their university entrance exam fantasize about a classmate, and meet up with thier inebriated teacher, while singing bawdy drinking songs.
(aka A Treatise on Japanese Bawdy Songs aka Sing a Song of Sex)
22. Shôjo geba-geba (1969)
66 min | Crime, Horror
A bunch of violent hippies kidnap and humiliate a young romantic couple, while a nearby yakuza gang observes the situation.
(aka Violent Virgin)
23. Noriko's Dinner Table (2005)
Not Rated | 159 min | Drama, Horror
A teenager called Noriko Shimabara runs away from her family in Tokoyama, to meet Kumiko, the leader of an Internet BBS, Haikyo.com. She becomes involved with Kumiko's "family circle", ... See full summary »
(aka Noriko's Dinner Table)
25. Taiyo no kisetsu (1956)
89 min | Drama
(aka Season of the Sun)
26. Ran (1985)
R | 162 min | Action, Drama
In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
Votes: 102,132 | Gross: $3.52M
27. The Warped Ones (1960)
Not Rated | 75 min | Action, Crime
A juvenile delinquent gets out of the pen and causes reckless mayhem, mostly directed at the girlfriend of the journalist who helped send him up.
(aka The Warped Ones)
28. 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.
(aka Sun in the Last Days of the Shogunate)
29. The Incorrigible (1963)
Not Rated | 95 min | Drama
A teenager is dismissed from school for misconduct. Still violent, he falls in love with a pupil of his new establishment.
(aka The Bastard aka The Young Rebel)
30. Oatsurae Jirôkichi koshi (1931)
80 min | Action, Drama
The only completely preserved silent film directed by Daisuke Ito, this film relates the life of a legendary thief, Jirokichi the Rat in an exquisite original story and through the ... See full summary »
(aka Jirokichi the Rat aka Made to Order Cloth)
31. Spirited Away (2001)
PG | 125 min | Animation, Adventure, Family
During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.
Votes: 576,362 | Gross: $10.06M
(aka Spirited Away)
32. Suzaki Paradise Red Light (1956)
81 min | Drama
A couple stand indecisively on a bridge in Asakusa. Tsutae and Yoshiji have lost confidence and passion for their future as they get on the bus for Tsukishima and get off at Suzaki. Across ... See full summary »
(aka Suzaki Paradise: Red Light District)
33. 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.
(aka Fighting Elegy)
34. 13 Assassins (2010)
R | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.
Votes: 58,936 | Gross: $0.80M
(aka 13 Assassins)
35. Ecstasy of the Angels (1972)
89 min | Action, Drama, Mystery
The movie focuses on the actions of a revolutionary movement.
(aka Ecstasy of the Angels)
36. Warm Water Under a Red Bridge (2001)
119 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
A down-and-out businessman travels to a seaside town, where he meets a woman with unusual sexual powers.
Votes: 2,410 | Gross: $0.06M
(aka Warm Water Under a Red Bridge)
37. Empire of Passion (1978)
R | 105 min | Drama, Horror, Romance
A married woman and her lover murder her husband and dump his body into a well. After a while, his ghost comes to haunt them while the local gossip grows stronger.
(aka Empire of Passion)
38. The Ballad of Narayama (1983)
Not Rated | 130 min | Drama
In a poor 19th century rural Japanese village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 has to climb a nearby mountain to die. An old woman is getting close to the cut-off age, and we follow her last days with her family.
(aka Ballad of Narayama)
39. Helpless (1996)
80 min | Crime
Yasuo is a gangster just released from jail. Believing his boss double-crossed him, enraged Yasuo is on his way to find the boss. But before setting out for the dangerous trip, Yasuo asks ... See full summary »
40. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
PG | 117 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy
Warrior and pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.
Votes: 131,763 | Gross: $0.50M
(aka Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds)
41. 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.
(aka Night and Fog in Japan)
Century of Cinema (1995–1998)
100 Years of Japanese Cinema
60 min | Documentary
Nagisa Oshima explores the first century of Japanese cinema.
(aka 100 Years of Japanese Cinema)
43. Branded to Kill (1967)
Not Rated | 91 min | Action, Crime, Drama
After a badly done assignment, a hitman finds himself in conflict with his organisation, and one mysterious and dangerous fellow-hitman in particular.
(aka Branded to Kill)
44. The Cat Returns (2002)
G | 75 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
After helping a cat, a 17-year-old girl finds herself involuntarily engaged to a cat prince in a magical world where her only hope of freedom lies with a dapper cat statuette come to life.
(aka The Cat Returns)
45. Fires on the Plain (1959)
Not Rated | 108 min | Drama, War
In the closing days of WWII remnants of the Japanese army in Leyte are abandoned by their command and face certain starvation.
(aka Fires on the Plain)
46. All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001)
146 min | Crime, Drama, Music
The problematic lives of teenager students for whom the singer Lily Chou-Chou's dreamy music is the only way to escape an alienating, violent and insensitive society.
Votes: 7,398 | Gross: $0.02M
(aka All About Lily Chou-Chou)
47. Kagemusha (1980)
PG | 162 min | Drama, History, War
A petty thief with an utter resemblance to a samurai warlord is hired as the lord's double. When the warlord later dies the thief is forced to take up arms in his place.
(aka The Shadow Warrior)
48. Battle Royale (2000)
Not Rated | 114 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act.
(aka Battle Royale)
49. Suicide Club (2001)
R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Horror