The Films of Akira Kurosawa: Ranked

by Musashi94 | created - 19 Nov 2014 | updated - 3 months ago | Public

A ranking of all thirty films directed by Akira Kurosawa, presented in order of best to worst.

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1. 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: 282,747 | Gross: $0.27M

2. Yojimbo (1961)

Not Rated | 110 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

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: 96,890

3. Ran (1985)

R | 162 min | Action, Drama

96 Metascore

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.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryû

Votes: 99,301 | Gross: $3.52M

4. 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: 58,468 | Gross: $0.06M

5. Rashomon (1950)

Not Rated | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

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: 133,913 | Gross: $0.10M

6. 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: 23,641

7. Throne of Blood (1957)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama

A war-hardened general, egged on by his ambitious wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become lord of Spider's Web Castle.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, Isuzu Yamada, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 39,711

8. Kagemusha (1980)

PG | 162 min | Drama, History, War

84 Metascore

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.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ken'ichi Hagiwara, Jinpachi Nezu

Votes: 28,525

9. Dersu Uzala (1975)

G | 142 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

The Russian army sends an explorer on an expedition to the snowy Siberian wilderness where he makes friends with a seasoned local hunter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Maksim Munzuk, Yuriy Solomin, Mikhail Bychkov, Vladimir Khrulyov

Votes: 21,113

10. Red Beard (1965)

Not Rated | 185 min | Drama

In 19th century Japan, a rough tempered yet charitable town doctor trains a young intern.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yûzô Kayama, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Reiko Dan

Votes: 14,259

11. Sanjuro (1962)

Not Rated | 96 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A crafty samurai helps a young man and his fellow clansmen save his uncle, who has been framed and imprisoned by a corrupt superintendent.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Keiju Kobayashi, Yûnosuke Itô

Votes: 27,786

12. 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.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Masayuki Mori, Kyôko Kagawa, Tatsuya Mihashi

Votes: 9,493

13. The Hidden Fortress (1958)

Not Rated | 126 min | Adventure, Drama

Lured by gold, two greedy peasants escort a man and woman across enemy lines. However, they do not realize that their companions are actually a princess and her general.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Misa Uehara, Minoru Chiaki, Kamatari Fujiwara

Votes: 29,677

14. Stray Dog (1949)

Not Rated | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

During a sweltering summer, a rookie homicide detective tries to track down his stolen Colt pistol.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Awaji, Eiko Miyoshi

Votes: 13,232

15. Dreams (1990)

PG | 119 min | Drama, Fantasy

A collection of tales based upon the actual dreams of director Akira Kurosawa.

Directors: Akira Kurosawa, Ishirô Honda | Stars: Akira Terao, Mitsuko Baishô, Toshie Negishi, Mieko Harada

Votes: 21,539 | Gross: $1.96M

16. 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: 8,681

17. No Regrets for Our Youth (1946)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama

The daughter of a politically disgraced university professor struggles to find a place for herself in love and life, in the uncertain world of Japan leading into WWII.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Setsuko Hara, Susumu Fujita, Denjirô Ôkôchi, Haruko Sugimura

Votes: 2,484

18. I Live in Fear (1955)

103 min | Drama

An aging Japanese industrialist becomes so fearful of nuclear war that it begins to take a toll on his life and family.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Minoru Chiaki, Eiko Miyoshi

Votes: 3,609

19. Maadadayo (1993)

134 min | Drama

76 Metascore

Following World War II, a retired professor approaching his autumn years finds his quality of life drastically reduced in war-torn Tokyo. Denying despair, he pursues writing and celebrates his birthday with his adoring students.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Tatsuo Matsumura, Hisashi Igawa, George Tokoro, Masayuki Yui

Votes: 4,449 | Gross: $0.05M

20. The Lower Depths (1957)

Not Rated | 137 min | Drama

In a Japanese slum, various residents play out their lives, dreaming of better things or settling for their lot. Among them is a man who pines for a young woman but is stymied by her deceptive family.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Isuzu Yamada, Kyôko Kagawa, Ganjirô Nakamura

Votes: 4,275

21. The Idiot (1951)

Not Rated | 166 min | Drama, Romance

A Japanese veteran, driven partially mad from the war, travels to the snowy island of Kameda where he soon enters a love triangle with his best friend and a disgraced woman.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Setsuko Hara, Masayuki Mori, Toshirô Mifune, Yoshiko Kuga

Votes: 4,028

22. Sanshiro Sugata (1943)

Not Rated | 79 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Sugata, a young man, struggles to learn the nuance and meaning of judo, and in doing so comes to learn something of the meaning of life.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Denjirô Ôkôchi, Susumu Fujita, Yukiko Todoroki, Ryûnosuke Tsukigata

Votes: 3,742

23. Dodes'ka-den (1970)

Not Rated | 140 min | Drama

Various tales in the lives of Tokyo slum dwellers, including a mentally deficient young man obsessed with driving his own commuter trolley.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Yoshitaka Zushi, Kin Sugai, Toshiyuki Tonomura, Shinsuke Minami

Votes: 5,420

24. The Quiet Duel (1949)

95 min | Drama

A surgeon gets syphilis from a patient when he cuts himself during an operation. The doctor's life is destroyed, but unlike the patient, he doesn't destroy others along with him.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Miki Sanjô, Kenjirô Uemura

Votes: 2,516

25. Scandal (1950)

Approved | 105 min | Drama

A celebrity photograph sparks a court case as a tabloid magazine spins a scandalous yarn over a painter and a famous singer.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Shirley Yamaguchi, Yôko Katsuragi, Noriko Sengoku

Votes: 2,974

26. The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail (1945)

Not Rated | 59 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

A Japanese general and his men disguise themselves as monks in order to pass an enemy border patrol.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Denjirô Ôkôchi, Susumu Fujita, Ken'ichi Enomoto, Masayuki Mori

Votes: 2,950

27. One Wonderful Sunday (1947)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama, Romance

During a Sunday trip into war-ravaged Tokyo, despairing Yuzo and optimistic Masako look for work and lodging, as well as affordable entertainments to pass the time.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Isao Numasaki, Chieko Nakakita, Atsushi Watanabe, Zekô Nakamura

Votes: 2,299

28. Rhapsody in August (1991)

PG | 98 min | Drama

Three generations' responses to the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Sachiko Murase, Richard Gere, Hisashi Igawa, Narumi Kayashima

Votes: 5,681 | Gross: $0.52M

29. The Most Beautiful (1944)

Not Rated | 85 min | Drama

World War II propaganda film about female volunteer workers at an optics plant who do their best to meet production targets.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Sôji Kiyokawa, Ichirô Sugai, Takako Irie

Votes: 1,452

30. Sanshiro Sugata, Part Two (1945)

Not Rated | 83 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Sugata returns to prove his judo mastery in a match against Western opponents.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Denjirô Ôkôchi, Susumu Fujita, Ryûnosuke Tsukigata, Akitake Kôno

Votes: 1,671



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