Great Performances (1971– )
8 user 4 critic



On Disc

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Episode credited cast:
Akira Kurosawa ... Himself (archive footage)
Sam Shepard ... Narrator (voice)
Paul Scofield ... Kurosawa (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
James Coburn ... Himself
Clint Eastwood ... Himself
Shinobu Hashimoto Shinobu Hashimoto ... Himself
Hiromichi Horikawa Hiromichi Horikawa ... Himself
Kon Ichikawa ... Himself
Shuichi Kato Shuichi Kato ... Himself
Masahiko Kumada Masahiko Kumada ... Himself
Hisao Kurosawa Hisao Kurosawa ... Himself
Kazuko Kurosawa Kazuko Kurosawa ... Herself
Machiko Kyô ... Herself
George Lucas ... Himself (archive footage)
Tatsuya Nakadai ... Himself


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UK | Japan | USA



Release Date:

21 March 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kurosawa: A Documentary See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BBC Arena, KQED, NHK See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Narrator: Until his death in 1998, Kurosawa directed over thirty films, including 'Rashômon', 'Seven Samurai', 'Throne of Blood' and 'Ran'. His work was a huge influence of directors like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, who revered him as a master of the cinema. He was criticised in Japan for appealing to an International audience, yet he did more than anything else to reveal Japanese society to the West.
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Features Ran (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

too short to really dig deeper than the books, aside from a good 'surface' examination
12 August 2006 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

This is a documentary I've seen a few times, as it is fairly well produced and edited together covering the broad scope of the career (and some parts of the life) of filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. The opening images seem pretty neat, with the Tokyo huge-screen in the city plays the infamous arrow climax from Throne of Blood. But it's mostly just an all-too-short pastiche of interviews and some narration that wavers from being informative or kind of unnecessary, depending on whether it's reading from quotes (this is the part that is the latter). It's probably worth noting that the DVD might hold more interest for those who saw the documentary and felt cheated; there's a trove of interview clips that probably out-time the actually running length of the documentary here. Some of the interviews do come into some good use, like from Kurosawa's own family and from those who are still around to kick some small anecdotes or notes of praise. Even Clint Eastood and James Coburn give their dues for some of the pivotal inspirations for their own careers. It's a fitting TV documentary that puts the important bits from Kurosawa's autobiography up-front (i.e. the earthquake in the 20s, the suicide attempt, pretty much all the major works noted to greater or lesser degrees depending on their notoriety). That it isn't the ultimate testament to the director is a letdown, as the more informative, enlightening looks at his work and life can be seen in Stuart Galbraith and Donald Richies books.

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