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...
Japanese warlord Hidetori Ichimonji decides the time has come to retire and divide his fiefdom among his three sons. His eldest and middle sons - Taro and Jiro - agree with his decision and promise to support him for his remaining days. The youngest son Saburo disagrees with all of them arguing that there is little likelihood the three brothers will remain united. Insulted by his son's brashness, the warlord banishes Saburo. As the warlord begins his retirement, he quickly realizes that his two eldest sons selfish and have no intention of keeping their promises. It leads to war and only banished Saburo can possibly save him. Written by
The film used approximately 1400 extras and 200 horses. 1400 suits of armor (designed by Akira Kurosawa himself) were fabricated and a number of the horses had to be imported from the United States. Kurosawa used the extras and horses so efficiently that when the film was ready for premiere, newspapers in Japan were reporting that thousands of extras and horses were used to stage the battles. See more »
When Saburo's men ride away from the Third Castle, you can see that the path before them has already been trampeled from previous takes. See more »
Kurosawa, while a great director, isn't somebody whose films I blindly endorse.
However, Ran takes the cake. It easily makes my personal top five films any time I think about it.
The imagery is absolutely stunning, and the dialogue is quite clever. The battle scenes are suitably horrific, and the humor (and yes, there is humor) is subtle enough not to get in the way.
All told, one of the greatest films it's been my privilege to see. I watched it to get the nightmare that was Cold Mountain out of my head, as proof that long movies can actually be epic, as opposed to boring, trite, and predictable.
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