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.
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 was re-released in 2015 for it's 30th anniversary in a 4K restored version at the Cannes Film Festival. Limited screenings took place from early to mid-2016 in major cities. See more »
During the battle at the third castle, there is a sequence where Hidetora emerges from the castle at the top of a flight of stairs and confronts enemy soldiers ascending the stairs. When he retreats, his bodyguards suddenly appear and retreat with him, even though they were not present moments earlier. See more »
Why stay with this mad old man? If the rock you stay on starts to roll, jump clean. Or you'll go with it and be squashed. Only a fool stays aboard.
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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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