My top Japanese films of all time.

This is a list of my favorite Japanese films of all time. I will admit to not seeing many modern Japanese films outside of the popular Miyazaki films. I will also admit (though it is obvious from the list below) that I am a big Kurosawa fan. You will also note that I haven't fallen in love with many Ozu films (which may be considered blasphemy if I want to say I'm a Japanese film fan) but I do tend to like almost all of his films. I am very open to suggestions of others to watch. All films included are 7/10 or higher.
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1.
Ran (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Set in Japan in the 16th century (or so), an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them, or cause them to turn on each other...and him... (162 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
2.
Seven Samurai (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves. (207 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
3.
The Twilight Samurai (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A 19th-century samurai tries to protect a battered wife. (129 mins.)
Director: Yôji Yamada
 
4.
Yojimbo (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town. (110 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
5.
High and Low (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom. (143 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
6.
Sanjuro (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A crafty samurai helps a young man and his fellow clansmen save his uncle, who has been framed and imprisoned by a corrupt superintendent. (96 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
7.
Woman in the Dunes (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An entomologist on vacation is trapped by local villagers into living with a woman whose life task is shoveling sand for them. (123 mins.)
 
8.
Still Walking (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Still Walking is a family drama about grown children visiting their elderly parents, which unfolds over one summer day... (115 mins.)
 
9.
The Hidden Fortress (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
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. (139 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
10.
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A young boy and his little sister struggle to survive in Japan during World War II. (89 mins.)
Director: Isao Takahata
 
11.
Red Beard (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In 19th century Japan, a rough tempered yet charitable town doctor trains a young intern. (185 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
12.
Kwaidan (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A collection of four Japanese folk tales with supernatural themes. (183 mins.)
 
13.
Ikiru (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer. (143 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
14.
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wonderous forest spirits who live nearby. (86 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
15.
13 Assassins (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord. (141 mins.)
Director: Takashi Miike
 
16.
Rashomon (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view. (88 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
17.
Floating Weeds (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The head of a Japanese theatre troupe returns to a small coastal town where he left a son who thinks he is his uncle, and tries to make up for the lost time, but his current mistress grows jealous. (119 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
18.
Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Musashi Miyamoto returns to Kyoto after years of absence. After a series of fights against the Yoshioka School, he challenges its master to a duel. (104 mins.)
Director: Hiroshi Inagaki
 
19.
Harakiri (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
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. (133 mins.)
 
20.
Tokyo Story (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them. (136 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
21.
The Burmese Harp (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In the War's closing days, when a conscience-driven Japanese soldier fails to get his countrymen to surrender to overwhelming force, he adopts the lifestyle of a Buddhist monk. (116 mins.)
Director: Kon Ichikawa
 
22.
Stray Dog (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
During a sweltering summer, a rookie homicide detective tries to track down his stolen Colt pistol. (122 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
23.
Early Summer (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A family chooses a match for their daughter Noriko, but she, surprisingly, has her own plans. (124 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
24.
Drunken Angel (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A drunken doctor with a hot temper and a violence-prone gangster with tuberculosis form a quicksilver bond. (98 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
25.
Pitfall (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
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. (97 mins.)
 
26.
Sansho the Bailiff (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
In mediaeval Japan a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him... (124 mins.)
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
 
27.
The Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
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. (190 mins.)
 
28.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
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. (134 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
29.
Onibaba (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Two women kill samurai and sell their belongings for a living. While one of them is having an affair with their neighbor, the other woman meets a mysterious samurai wearing a bizarre mask. (103 mins.)
Director: Kaneto Shindô
 
30.
Throne of Blood (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
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. (110 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
31.
Tokyo Twilight (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Two sisters find out the existence of their long-lost mother, but the younger cannot take the truth of being abandoned as a child. (140 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
32.
The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A Japanese pacifist, unable to face the dire consequences of conscientious objection, is transformed by his attempts to compromise with the demands of war-time Japan. (208 mins.)
 
33.
The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
As a conscript in war-time Japan's military, a pacifist struggles to maintain his determination to keep his ideals. (181 mins.)
 
34.
The Hidden Blade (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
During the time of change of the mid-19th Century, Yaichiro is bid farewell by his fellow samurai friends... (132 mins.)
Director: Yôji Yamada
 
35.
Late Autumn (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A widow tries to marry off her daughter with the help of her late husband's three friends. (128 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
36.
Kill! (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Two ronin - an ex-samurai and an ex-farmer - get caught up a local official's complex game of murder and betrayal. (115 mins.)
Director: Kihachi Okamoto
 
37.
Rhapsody in August (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Three generations' responses to the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. (98 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
38.
Samurai Spy (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The legendary samurai Sasuke Sarutobi gets caught in a web of political intrigue, deception and espionage during the early 17th century. (102 mins.)
 
39.
Kagemusha (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
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. (180 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
40.
Spirited Away (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
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. (125 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
41.
Departures (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A newly unemployed cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals. (130 mins.)
Director: Yôjirô Takita
 
42.
Equinox Flower (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A businessman clashes with his elder daughter over her choice of a husband. (118 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
43.
Kikujiro (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young, naive boy sets out alone on the road to find his wayward mother. Soon he finds an unlikely protector in a crotchety man and the two have a series of unexpected adventures along the way. (121 mins.)
Director: Takeshi Kitano
 
44.
Tokyo Godfathers (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
On Christmas Eve, three homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo find a newborn baby among the trash and set out to find its parents. (93 mins.)
 
45.
Under the Flag of the Rising Sun (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
One woman's search to find the truth about her husband's death in World War II. (96 mins.)
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
 
46.
The Sword of Doom (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Through his unconscionable actions against others, a sociopath samurai builds a trail of vendettas that follow him closely. (119 mins.)
Director: Kihachi Okamoto
 
47.
Fires on the Plain (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
In the closing days of WWII remnants of the Japanese army in Leyte are abandoned by their command and face certain starvation. (108 mins.)
Director: Kon Ichikawa
 
48.
Samurai Rebellion (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The mother of a feudal lord's only heir is kidnapped away from her husband by the lord. The husband and his samurai father must decide whether to accept the unjust decision, or risk death to get her back. (128 mins.)
 
49.
Love and Honor (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A look at the relationship between a young blind samurai (Kimura) and his wife, who will make a sacrifice in order to defend her husband's honor. (121 mins.)
Director: Yôji Yamada
 
50.
Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Musashi Miyamoto is challenged to a duel by a confident swordsman Sasaki Kojiro. He agrees to fight him in a year's time. (105 mins.)
Director: Hiroshi Inagaki
 
51.
Late Spring (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Noriko is twenty-seven years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her father. (108 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
52.
Godzilla (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
American nuclear weapons testing results in the creation of a seemingly unstoppable, dinosaur-like beast. (96 mins.)
Director: Ishirô Honda
 
53.
47 Samurai (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After their lord is tricked into committing ritual suicide, forty-seven samurai warriors await the chance to avenge their master and reclaim their honor. (207 mins.)
Director: Hiroshi Inagaki
 
54.
Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An tale of revenge, honor and disgrace, centering on a poverty-stricken samurai who discovers the fate of his ronin son-in-law, setting in motion a tense showdown of vengeance against the house of a feudal lord. (128 mins.)
Director: Takashi Miike
 
55.
Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Depicts the early life of the legendary warrior Musashi Miyamoto; his years as an aspiring warrior, an outlaw and finally a true samurai. (93 mins.)
Director: Hiroshi Inagaki
 
56.
After the Rain (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
During a downpour, a generous ronin and his supporting wife are stranded at a country inn. The ronin comes to the attention of a lord who wants to hire him as an instructor for his men, who treat the ronin with disrespect. (91 mins.)
Director: Takashi Koizumi
 
57.
Early Spring (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A young man and his wife struggle within the confines of their passionless relationship while he has an extramarital romance. (144 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
58.
The Tale of Zatoichi (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The adventures of a blind, gambling masseur who also happens to be a master swordsman. (96 mins.)
Director: Kenji Misumi
 
59.
A Story of Floating Weeds (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A kabuki actor's mistress hatches a jealous plot to bring down her lover's son. (86 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
60.
An Autumn Afternoon (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An aging widower arranges a marriage for his only daughter. (112 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
61.
The End of Summer (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The family of an older man who runs a small sake brewery become concerned with his finances and his health after they discover him visiting an old mistress from his youth. (103 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
62.
Assassination (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Acclaimed Chambara, Japanese Nouvelle Vague. In 1863, when Americans warships approach Japan, a enigmatic ronin becames a important figure in a complex game of power between the xogunat and the imperium. (104 mins.)
 
63.
Ponyo (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A five year-old boy develops a relationship with Ponyo, a goldfish princess who longs to become a human after falling in love with him. (101 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
64.
Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle. (119 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
65.
Sword of the Beast (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A fugitive samurai encounters a married couple who steal mountain gold for their clan. Upon hearing that the clan is going to betray and kill them, the samurai decides to fight for them. (85 mins.)
Director: Hideo Gosha
 
66.
The Bad Sleep Well (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A vengeful young man marries the daughter of a corrupt industrialist in order to seek justice for his father's suicide. (151 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
67.
Madadayo (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
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. (134 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
68.
Japan's Longest Day (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Following the detonation of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese military and the... (157 mins.)
Director: Kihachi Okamoto
 
69.
Ugetsu (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A fantastic tale of war, love, family and ambition set in the midst of the Japanese Civil Wars of the sixteenth century. (96 mins.)
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
 
70.
Floating Clouds (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A tragic social drama set in post war Japan and concerns a lonely women trying to find purpose and stability in a devastated Tokyo. (123 mins.)
Director: Mikio Naruse
 
71.
Scandal (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A celebrity photograph sparks a court case as a tabloid magazine spins a scandalous yarn over a painter and a famous singer. (104 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
72.
Red Lion (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Impersonating an Imperial Army officer by wearing a "red lion's mane", a poor servant returns to his... (115 mins.)
Director: Kihachi Okamoto
 
73.
Zoku Zatôichi monogatari (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The blind masseur and swordsman, Zatoichi, learns of a powerful political figure's secret and is quickly tailed by a group of killers. (72 mins.)
Director: Kazuo Mori
 
74.
The Idiot (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
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. (166 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
75.
Nobody Knows (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In a small Tokyo apartment, twelve-year-old Akira must care for his younger siblings after their mother leaves them and shows no sign of returning. (141 mins.)