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spartanmachine
3rd February 2004, 01:14
What are your favorite Samurai movies? I'm thinking of buying a few on DVD and looking for suggestions. Also does anyone know of other good movies that Ken Watanabe or the actress who took care of Cruise's character may have starred in?

Blackwood
3rd February 2004, 03:16
The Seven Samurai is the classic. I could watch it a dozen times without getting tired of it.

David T Anderson
3rd February 2004, 12:22
Kurosawa's samurai movies are in a class of their own...

My favorite non-Kurosawa is probably the 1962 Toho production of Chushingura. It's a gorgeous historical movie, as opposed to a straight-up samurai adventure. Great stuff!

Brian Owens
3rd February 2004, 12:43
Originally posted by spartanmachine
What are your favorite Samurai movies? I'm thinking of buying a few on DVD and looking for suggestions.
So many to choose from! Some standouts: Sanjuro and Yojimbo (both starring Toshiro Mifune), Gate of Hell, Kagemusha.

Also Red Sun, a samurai meets cowboy movie with Toshiro Mifune, Charles Bronson, Alain Dillon, and Ursala Andress.

Oh, and although it's not a samurai movie per se, The Yakuza with Takakura Ken and Robert Mitchum. It's one of my favorite movies.


Originally posted by spartanmachine
Also does anyone know of other good movies that Ken Watanabe or the actress who took care of Cruise's character may have starred in?
I don't know if they're good movies, but here's a filmography for both:

For Ken Watanabe:

Last Samurai, The (2003) .... Katsumoto
T.R.Y. (2003) .... Masanobu Azuma
Hi wa mata noboru (2002) .... Okubo
Sennen no koi - hikaru genji monogatari (2002) .... Fujiwara Michinaga/Fujiwara Nobutaka
... aka Genji: A Thousand-Year Love (2002)
"Hojo Tokimune" (2001) TV Series
"Ikebukuro West Gate park" (2000) TV Series
Supeesu toraberaazu (2000) .... Sakamaki ("Crusher")
... aka Space Travelers (2000)
Oboreru sakana (2000) .... Miyota
Kizuna (1998) .... Police Detective Sako
Rajio no jikan (1997) .... Truck Driver
... aka Radio no jikan (1997)
... aka Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald (1997)
Kimitachi ga ite boku ga iru (1992) (TV)
Bakumatsu jyunjyoden (1991) .... Ryouma Sakamoto
Umi to dokuyaku (1986) .... Toda
... aka Sea and Poison, The (1987) (USA)
Tampopo (1985) .... Gun
... aka Dandelion (1985)
Kekkon annai mystery (1985) .... Funayama Tetsuya/Masakazu Sekine
Setouchi shonen yakyu dan (1984) .... Tetsuo
... aka MacArthur's Children (1984)



For Koyuki (one name, like Cher):

Last Samurai, The (2003) .... Taka
Spy Sorge (2003) .... Yoshiko Yamazaki
Alive (2002/I) .... Asuka Saegusa
Laundry (2002) .... Mizue
"Italiatsu" (2001) (mini) TV Series
Ka´ro (2001) .... Harue Karasawa
... aka Circuit, The (2001/II)
... aka Pulse (2001/II) (International: English title)
"Ikebukuro West Gate Park" (2000) TV Series
"Love Complex" (2000) TV Series .... Kiiko

spartanmachine
3rd February 2004, 14:43
Great! Thanks for the info guys.
I'll start off with The Seven Samurai, Sanjuro and Yojimbo. They come packaged together.

jest
6th February 2004, 22:27
Originally posted by David T Anderson
Kurosawa's samurai movies are in a class of their own...

My favorite non-Kurosawa is probably the 1962 Toho production of Chushingura. It's a gorgeous historical movie, as opposed to a straight-up samurai adventure. Great stuff!

I completely agree, Chushingura is a truly sumptuous film.
I could also recommend Masaki Kobayashi's Harakiri (aka Seppuku) and Kihachi Okamoto's Sword of doom.

edit: for typo and additional info.

spartanmachine
6th February 2004, 23:00
I ordered Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Sanjuro, and Chushingura on DVD.
Can anyone elaborate on any of these films abit? Without giving anything away of course. I've heard great things about Chushingura being one of the most beautiful films ever made, anyone care to elaborate?

RayCorrea
6th February 2004, 23:19
Originally posted by spartanmachine
I ordered Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Sanjuro, and Chushingura on DVD.
Can anyone elaborate on any of these films abit?



Seven Samurai: Rural villagers hire seven samurai to defend their village against brigands. One of the best movies ever made. Period.

Yojimbo: Ronin comes to town and pits two yakuza clans against eachother. Again, one of the best movies ever made.

Sanjuro: The "sequel" to Yojimbo, Ronin helps young samurai against disloyal daimyo. A very good movie.

Chushingura: A retelling of the classic 47 ronin story. A waste of Toshiro Mifune, IMHO, but okay as a whole.

I personally prefer the 1941/1942 version (47 Ronin). It was filmed in two parts. It's loyal to the original story and beautifully shot. My wife and I were glued to the set.

nicojo
6th February 2004, 23:27
If you ordered the Criterion Collection dvd of Seven Samurai, and I don't know of another version, then after watching it straight through once, listen to the commentary. I thought the speaker had some very good things to say and I learned quite a bit about Kurosawa's filming stuff. I'm not really well-versed in film theory or techniques, but hey I can tell when the lighting is good.

The anticipation may kill you but really maybe you should watch them first so you get your own conclusions. But I've found a few good websites on the movies, so you could just do some looking around.

The Musashi movie trilogy is good, but I like Kurosawa better...If you like Musashi, you may as well read the manga "Vagabond" and the book "Musashi" by Eiji Yoshikawa. But then I'm always trying to get people to read.

Films are great too though.

Brian Owens
7th February 2004, 06:48
Originally posted by spartanmachine
...Can anyone elaborate on any of these films a bit? Without giving anything away of course...
Seven Samurai was copied, almost line for line, and scene for scene, as The Magnificant Seven.

Sanjuro and Yojimbo were the inspiration for Clint Eastwood's "Man With No Name" Westerns.

Chushingura has some beautiful sets and costumes, and good cinematography. The story was "touched up" a bit to be acceptable to audiences of the day. The conflict in the movie centers around a dispute over a daimyo not being taught proper manners by a master of ceremonies. My understnading is that the real event was possibly over a homosexual love triangle or something like that.

Anyway, when they arrive I'm sure you'll consider your money well spent.

Howard Quick
8th February 2004, 04:35
Gotta agree with everyone else on the Kurosawa films.
The collection I have include: (not all Kurosawa films)
Seven Samurai (Magnificent Seven)
Yojimbo (Bruce Willis - Last man standing. I actually watched Last man standing and then thought to myself 'this has to be a remake of a Japanese film'. After a bit of research I found Yojimbo).
Sanjuro (as mentioned, sequel to Yojimbo)
Ran
Throne of Blood
Kagemusha
Taboo - about the Shinsengumi (you just have to be able to get around the gay scenes).
Sword of Doom
The classic - Shogun with Richard Chamberlain
Dora Heita - this one I found very enjoyable.
Samurai Banners
Shogun Mayeda (not of Kurosawa quality, but fun to watch)
Heaven and Earth
That's not all of them, but it's a start.

;)

Shimura
8th February 2004, 04:56
I noticed you mentioned "Heaven and Earth". Great movie but I have it seen it since I was in high school. Anybody know where I can get a copy at a reasonable price (less than $30 perhaps)

spartanmachine
8th February 2004, 07:34
Is Heaven and Earth the Oliver Stone movie about Vietnam?

Shimura
10th February 2004, 16:04
Yes there is a movie intitled heaven and Earth about vietnam, and starring Tommy Lee Jones. It's the story of a vietmanese woman named May Li Hayslip and her ordeals before and after the war. Really good movie I thought and interesting in how it showed the war from the other side's perspective.

But the movie I'm talking about is the Japanese samurai epic about the battles between Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen. It had some great costumes and fight scenes and it had the epic feel of a Braveheart or Gladiator. I really good watch overall and I would love to get a permanent copy to add to my collection. I also particularly like it because I'm a fan of Takeda Shingen. Hence I also own a copy of Kagemusha.

Gary Dolce
10th February 2004, 17:37
The Kurosawa films listed are great, but don't miss some of the ones by other directors, such as Harakiri and Sword of Doom.

I would skip the Mushashi trilogy with Mifune - it just isn't in the same class as the other movies listed.

Earl Hartman
10th February 2004, 21:17
The Samurai Trilogy with Mifune blew chunks. A really bad movie. "Sword of Fury" starring Takashi Hideki as Musashi and Matsuzaka Keiko (hubba hubba!) as Otsu is much better.

The 1962 version of Chushingura is, visually, a very beautiful film. It is a very square-jawed, heroic telling of the tale, and, as befits a film directed by Inagaki Hiroshi (who also did the Samurai Trilogy) it is very beautiful to look at. A lot of cherry blossoms and koto music. Dramatically, it is saved by the superb acting of the actors who play Oishi Kuranosuke and Kira, respectively. They were both classically trained Kabuki actors and it shows. I wouldn't agree that Mifune is wasted; his over-the-top scenery-chewing turn as the ronin spearman Twaraboshi Genba is one of my favorite bits of overacting of all time. But, that's pretty much all he ever did except when he was directed by Kurosawa.

I also recomend the uncut version of "Hidden Fortress" by Kurosawa. It drags in places, but it is a really rousng film (kind of a parody on the conventions of the traditional Japanese period piece), and it has the best spearfight ever put on film.

Agree on "Seppuku" and "Sword of Doom". "Seppuku" is, I think one of the best films ever made (if incredibly depressing), and one of Nakadai's best roles. "Samurai Rebellion" is not anywhere near as good, but it has a LOT more swordfighting in it. I haven't seen it sine I was a teenager, but "Kill!", also directed by Okamoto Kihachi (a very good action director) was very enjoyable, as I recall.

Also, what you think is good depends on what you're looking for. If you just want swordfighting, there are hundreds of old chanbara films to choose from.

Finally, I have to say that neither "Ran" nor "Kagemusha" measure up to Kurosawa's earlier work, IMNSHO. Very pretty to look at, but somehow lacking in that essential Kurosawaness. But, to each his own.

I thought "Heaven and Earth" was a really lousy movie. Great spectacle, but empty.

Gary Dolce
10th February 2004, 21:41
Earl,

I remember seeing a movie about Mushashi in the mid-80's that was far better than the Musahshi trilogy, but I can't remember the title. I wonder if it was Sword of Fury. Do you know if Sword of Fury is available on video? It isn't listed at Amazon.

The conversation about Seppuku (aka Harakiri) is inspiring me to watch it again tonight. Isn't videotape/DVD great! It used to be the only way you could see these films was at college film festivals.

Earl Hartman
10th February 2004, 21:59
This is the one:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070761/

Brian Owens
10th February 2004, 23:08
Based on several recommendation, I rented Taboo last night.

I didn't hate it, but I sure won't be buying it. The film left me feeling as though no story had been told; no character development, no motivation, etc. Just a bunch of sword fights and guys trying to get into the "pretty boy's" bed.

Not at all what I had hoped for.

Gene Williams
11th February 2004, 01:06
I liked "Ran." But, I also liked "Shogun." Go figure.

M J Moquin
11th February 2004, 01:12
Originally posted by Yagyu Kenshi
Sanjuro and Yojimbo were the inspiration for Clint Eastwood's "Man With No Name" Westerns.

I thought Yojimbo was the inspiration of Bruce Willis's Last Man Standing?

Brian Owens
11th February 2004, 02:46
Originally posted by M J Moquin
I thought Yojimbo was the inspiration of Bruce Willis's Last Man Standing?
Didn't see it, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Great art is often the inspiration for many who follow.

Look how many Star Trek look-alikes there have been. ;)

Gary Dolce
11th February 2004, 03:18
"A Fistful of Dollars", the first of Sergio Leone's westerns starring Clint Eastwood was a direct rip-off of "Yojimbo". The plot is completely identical, but Kurosawa is not credited for the story.

"Last Man Standing", the Bruce Willis movie based on the same plot, properly credits Kurosawa for the story.

BTW - Geroge Lucas credits The Hidden Fortress as the inspiration for Star Wars. The inspiration for R2D2 and C3PO is pretty clear in The Hidden Fortress.

Earl Hartman
11th February 2004, 03:21
Yeah, I know. Unfortunate, that, seeing as how "The Hidden Fortress" is a great movie and the Star Wars series is a huge steaming pile.

I really wish hacks like Lucas would stop "crediting" Kurosawa for inspiring them to make junk. It brings The Master's name into disprepute.

hobbitbob
11th February 2004, 06:08
My faves (fully expecting to irritate some, and make others laugh):
The Zatoichi series
The Hanzo Razor movies
The Lone Wolf and Cub movies.
:D

Brian Owens
11th February 2004, 08:32
Originally posted by Earl Hartman
...the Star Wars series is a huge steaming pile...
Sacrilege! May a herd of Banthas trample through your kitchen!

Earl Hartman
11th February 2004, 20:13
The first two were OK. Everything after that is just junk, plain and simple.

Those furry little whatchamacallits in the 3rd installment?

Jar Jar Binks?

I mean, dude, come ON.

Travis Ward
11th February 2004, 23:35
Maybe the new Star Wars episodes stink because he didn't have a Kurosawa flick to copy them from.

Brian Owens
11th February 2004, 23:56
Originally posted by Earl Hartman
The first two were OK. Everything after that is just junk, plain and simple. Those furry little whatchamacallits in the 3rd installment?
You didn't love those cuddly little ewoks? What kind of stone-heart are you? ;)

Originally posted by Earl Hartman
Jar Jar Binks?
Okay, you got me there.

The original (Episode "4") was great. Two ("5") was good. Three ("6") was fun.

The new ones? Didn't like 'em.

Gene Williams
12th February 2004, 00:20
Star Wars was fun, the first three maybe, but hardly great movie making. The last two...just effing awful, I mean barfing, bloody stools awful:saw:

happ0giri
17th February 2004, 18:43
Hello!

Seems like everyone is boosting about those old kurosawa movies... Those are good indeed but there are lots more to watch.

The best ones are:

Mibu Gishi Den (when the last sword is drawn, this is just so great)

Tasogare Seibei (twilight samurai, about a poor samurai whos forced to sell his katana to feed his children...)

Makai Tensho (Samurai reincarnation, the remake, great movie with characters like Musashi Miyamoto and Yagyu Jubei!)

Shoguns Samurai (Maybe the best? Starring Sonny Chiba...)

There are lots more like the Itto Ogami movies (Lone Wolf, the reason why suio ryu is practiced in north america? :), Musashi-trilogy and so on, those I mentioned are made in last two years (except shoguns samurai, but thats just killer) and are definitely worth watching.

Feel free to ask, I collect Samurai movies and must have more than hundred or so?! :)

Shimura
17th February 2004, 23:03
I keep hearing all these rave reviews on the forum about "Twighlight samurai". Where I can I get a copy of these movie?

spartanmachine
17th February 2004, 23:48
Any Idea where I can get Twilight Samurai?


I got the other dvds. I'll comment on them as soon as I get a chance to see them starting with 7 Samurai.

nicojo
18th February 2004, 02:31
Hi,

For those of you wanting dvds, netflix is the way to go if you live in a large city that has a distribution center (takes only two or so days to arrive) or if you live in the absolute sticks with no rental store worthy of the name. I've got the entire zatoichi collection coming next week...They have a lot of samurai movies...

and I'm not working for them, so this isn't spam. Just thought you all might want to know if you don't.

BTW they have twilight samurai in queue but it seems it hasn't been released yet on dvd...does anyone have other information?

Shimura
18th February 2004, 03:31
Is net flix just for renting movies via internet or can you purchase them as well. Sorry for my ignorance, but I've never used their services. Only seen their adds on my yahoo account.

nicojo
18th February 2004, 06:56
Netflix is just a dvd rental but they have quite a huge selection.

www.netflix.com (somewhat obviously...)

Someone posted a nice japanese site to buy dvds that would probably have samurai twilight but I can't remember what it was and they were a different region than U.S. anyways. I did notice that Beat Takashi's remake of Zatoichi is out on dvd in Japan. That site had english pages...i'll try to find it again and post it up here.

I just use amazon, best buy or circuit city to buy dvd's right now but I don't have too many...saving for other things.

Can't beat rental though for certain things. As much as I like Shogun both book and movie, for nostalgia if nothing else, I decided I'd rather buy kurosawa for now on dvd. But it was the first "samurai" movie my girlfriend enjoyed!