Jidaigeki/Chanbara Cinema

by GaryPattison | created - 20 Nov 2011 | updated - 15 Apr 2012 | Public
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1. Lady Snowblood (1973)

Not Rated | 97 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

A young girl is born and raised to be an instrument of revenge.

Director: Toshiya Fujita | Stars: Meiko Kaji, Toshio Kurosawa, Masaaki Daimon, Miyoko Akaza

Votes: 9,572

2. The Shogun's Samurai (1978)

130 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Following the death of the second Tokugawa shogun, it is revealed that he was poisoned by retainers of his son Iemitsu in hopes of gaining him the shogunate despite the stammer and ... See full summary »

Director: Kinji Fukasaku | Stars: Kinnosuke Nakamura, Shin'ichi Chiba, Hiroki Matsukata, Teruhiko Saigô

Votes: 1,312

Shogun's Samurai

3. Sword of the Beast (1965)

Not Rated | 85 min | Action, Drama

After killing a counselor of his clan, a fugitive samurai befriends a couple poaching the shogun's gold in the mountains.

Director: Hideo Gosha | Stars: Mikijirô Hira, Gô Katô, Shima Iwashita, Toshie Kimura

Votes: 2,055

Sword of the Beast

4. Samurai Wolf (1966)

75 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A charismatic ronin gets snared into a conflict between officials at a waystation, and gains the enmity of a group of thugs.

Director: Hideo Gosha | Stars: Isao Natsuyagi, Ryôhei Uchida, Junko Miyazono, Tatsuo Endô

Votes: 446

Samurai Wolf

5. Samurai Wolf II (1967)

72 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Kiba is caught in the intrigue between a crooked goldmine owner, a cynical, betrayed swordsman, a manipulative lady and an arrogant dojo master.

Director: Hideo Gosha | Stars: Isao Natsuyagi, Ichirô Nakatani, Bin Amatsu, Yûko Kusunoki

Votes: 288

Samurai Wolf 2

6. Goyôkin (1969)

PG | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A guilt-haunted samurai warrior attempts to stop a massacre taking place.

Director: Hideo Gosha | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Tetsurô Tanba, Yôko Tsukasa, Ruriko Asaoka

Votes: 1,684

7. Sword of Desperation (2010)

114 min | Action, History

A talented but troubled Edo Period swordsman, Kanemi Sanzawmon. Three years earlier, Kanemi killed a woman, Renko, the corrupt mistress of the powerful daimyo Tabu Ukyou. Unexpectedly, ... See full summary »

Director: Hideyuki Hirayama | Stars: Etsushi Toyokawa, Chizuru Ikewaki, Kôji Kikkawa, Tsumami Edamame

Votes: 519

Sword of Desperation

8. Miyamoto Musashi (1954)

Not Rated | 93 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

Depicts the early life of the legendary warrior Musashi Miyamoto; his years as an aspiring warrior, an outlaw and finally a true samurai.

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Mariko Okada, Rentarô Mikuni, Kurôemon Onoe

Votes: 6,474

9. Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955)

Not Rated | 104 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

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.

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Mariko Okada, Kôji Tsuruta, Kaoru Yachigusa

Votes: 4,688

10. Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956)

Not Rated | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

Musashi Miyamoto is challenged to a duel by a confident swordsman Sasaki Kojiro. He agrees to fight him in a year's time.

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Mariko Okada, Kôji Tsuruta, Kaoru Yachigusa

Votes: 4,642

11. Machibuse (1970)

Not Rated | 117 min | Action, Drama

In the Edo period, a nameless ronin accepts an assignment to go to a mountain pass and wait. Near the pass he stops at an inn where a collection of characters gather, including a gang set ... See full summary »

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yûjirô Ishihara, Ruriko Asaoka, Shintarô Katsu

Votes: 695

12. Heaven and Earth (1990)

PG-13 | 125 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

In 16th century Japan, two samurai engage in massive battles across the countryside; one attempting to conquer and the other attempting to defend his land while repressing his love for a woman after taking a vow of celibacy.

Director: Haruki Kadokawa | Stars: Takaaki Enoki, Masahiko Tsugawa, Atsuko Asano, Naomi Zaizen

Votes: 815 | Gross: $0.31M

Heaven and Earth

13. Ôoku (2010)

116 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

In the year 1716 a mysterious epidemic strickens the country of Japan, dropping the population of men to 1/4th of its prior state. With the drastic reduction of men, more and more families ... See full synopsis »

Director: Fuminori Kaneko | Stars: Ko Shibasaki, Kazunari Ninomiya, Hiroshi Tamaki, Maki Horikita

Votes: 273

Ooku

14. The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (2003)

R | 116 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

75 Metascore

The blind masseur/swordsman comes to a town in control of warring gangs, and while bunking with a farming family, he meets two women with their own agenda.

Director: Takeshi Kitano | Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Tadanobu Asano, Yui Natsukawa, Michiyo Ohkusu

Votes: 43,520 | Gross: $0.85M

15. Hana yori mo naho (2006)

127 min | Comedy, Drama

A troubled young samurai seeks revenge for the death of his father.

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda | Stars: Jun'ichi Okada, Rie Miyazawa, Arata Furuta, Jun Kunimura

Votes: 1,107

16. Jûsan-nin no shikaku (1963)

Not Rated | 125 min | Adventure, Action

A group of samurai plan to assassinate a sadistic feudal lord.

Director: Eiichi Kudô | Stars: Takayuki Akutagawa, Chiezô Kataoka, Kôtarô Satomi, Ryôhei Uchida

Votes: 618

Thirteen Assassins

17. Seven Samurai (1954)

Not Rated | 207 min | Adventure, Drama

98 Metascore

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Yukiko Shimazaki

Votes: 263,619 | Gross: $0.27M

18. Throne of Blood (1957)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama

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.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, Isuzu Yamada, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 36,632

19. Yojimbo (1961)

Not Rated | 110 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Eijirô Tôno, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa

Votes: 89,048

20. Semishigure (2005)

131 min | Drama, Romance

A young swordsman is forced into a tough situation. He must resolve a potential power struggle that involves his adolescent crush Fuku.

Director: Mitsuo Kurotsuchi | Stars: Somegorô Ichikawa, Yoshino Kimura, Kôji Imada, Ryô Fukawa

Votes: 258

21. Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972)

Not Rated | 83 min | Action, Adventure

The story of a Ronin (i.e. a masterless samurai) who wanders the countryside of Japan with his small child, having various adventures.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Fumio Watanabe, Gô Katô, Tomoko Mayama

Votes: 5,473

22. Samurai Assassin (1965)

122 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

February 17 to March 3, 1860, inside Edo castle. A group of assassins wait by Sakurada Gate to kill the lord of the House of Ii, a powerful man in the Tokugawa government, which has ruled ... See full summary »

Director: Kihachi Okamoto | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Keiju Kobayashi, Michiyo Aratama, Yûnosuke Itô

Votes: 1,603

Samurai Assassin

23. The Sword of Doom (1966)

Not Rated | 119 min | Action, Drama

Through his unconscionable actions against others, a sociopath samurai builds a trail of vendettas that follow him closely.

Director: Kihachi Okamoto | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Yûzô Kayama, Yôko Naitô

Votes: 7,767

24. Gohatto (1999)

Unrated | 100 min | Drama, History, Thriller

75 Metascore

The new member of a samurai militia unit causes disruption as several of his colleagues fall in love with him, threatening to disturb the rigid code of their squad.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima | Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Ryûhei Matsuda, Shinji Takeda, Tadanobu Asano

Votes: 6,428 | Gross: $0.05M

Taboo

25. Kamui gaiden (2009)

120 min | Action, Drama

The adventurous story of a fugitive ninja.

Director: Yôichi Sai | Stars: Ken'ichi Matsuyama, Koyuki, Kaoru Kobayashi, Kôichi Satô

Votes: 909

26. Shinobi: Heart Under Blade (2005)

R | 107 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

Star-crossed lovers must fight on opposing sides in a battle that will determine the next Shogun.

Director: Ten Shimoyama | Stars: Yukie Nakama, Joe Odagiri, Tomoka Kurotani, Erika Sawajiri

Votes: 11,454

27. Assassination (1964)

104 min | Action, Drama

In 1863, when Americans warships approach Japan, a enigmatic ronin becomes a important figure in a complex game of power between the Shogunate and the empire.

Director: Masahiro Shinoda | Stars: Tetsurô Tanba, Shima Iwashita, Eiji Okada, Isao Kimura

Votes: 670

Assassination

28. Saigo no Chûshingura (2010)

R | 133 min | Drama

An army of loyal samurai plot to revenge their unjustly executed lord.

Director: Shigemichi Sugita | Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Kôichi Satô, Nanami Sakuraba, Kôji Yamamoto

Votes: 265

The Last Ronin

29. Jûsan-nin no shikaku (2010)

R | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

84 Metascore

A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.

Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yûsuke Iseya, Ikki Sawamura

Votes: 55,858 | Gross: $0.80M

30. Mibu gishi den (2002)

143 min | Drama

A samurai goes to extraordinary lengths to provide for his family.

Director: Yôjirô Takita | Stars: Kiichi Nakai, Kôichi Satô, Yui Natsukawa, Takehiro Murata

Votes: 4,292

31. Sleepy Eyes of Death: The Chinese Jade (1963)

Not Rated | 82 min | Drama

Nemuri Kyoshiro, a youthful and cynical ronin with unparalleled skill, is approached by both sides in a game of corruption, ambition, and double crosses. The leader of the Kaga clan, who ... See full summary »

Director: Tokuzô Tanaka | Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Tamao Nakamura, Shinobu Araki, Saburô Date

Votes: 191

Sleepy Eyes of Death (1): The Chinese Jade

32. The Betrayal (1966)

87 min | Action, Drama

A naively honorable samurai comes to the bitter realization that his devotion to moral samurai principles makes him an oddity among his peers and a very vulnerable oddity in consequence.

Director: Tokuzô Tanaka | Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Kaoru Yachigusa, Shiho Fujimura, Ichirô Nakatani

Votes: 162

The Betrayal

33. Miyamoto Musashi (1961)

110 min | Action, Drama, History

The film begins when the legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi is still named Shinmen Takezo. After being on the losing side of the Battle of Sekigahara, Takezo and his friend manage to escape and come across a young woman and her mother.

Director: Tomu Uchida | Stars: Kinnosuke Nakamura, Akiko Kazami, Wakaba Irie, Isao Kimura

Votes: 172

Miyamoto Musashi I: Zen and Sword

34. Miyamoto Musashi II: Duel at Hannya Hill (1962)

110 min | Drama

The remake of Yoshikawa's novel continues with the second installment in which Takezo, soon to be Miyamoto Musashi, emerges from the Himeji Castle after three years of intense contemplation... See full summary »

Director: Tomu Uchida | Stars: Kinnosuke Nakamura, Wakaba Irie, Isao Kimura, Chieko Naniwa

Votes: 120

Miyamoto Musashi II: Duel at Hannya Hill

35. Miyamoto Musashi III: Birth of the Nito-ryu Style (1963)

104 min | Drama

In the third installment of Yoshikawa's novel Musashi, things continue from the 2nd film at the end of battle, where Miyamoto continues on a mission of learning; with the introduction of ... See full summary »

Director: Tomu Uchida | Stars: Kinnosuke Nakamura, Wakaba Irie, Isao Kimura, Chieko Naniwa

Votes: 103

Miyamoto Musashi III: Birth of the Nitoryu Style

36. Tasogare Seibei (2002)

129 min | Drama, History

82 Metascore

As the feudal Japan era draws to a close, a widower samurai experiences difficulty balancing 2 young daughters, an aged mother, clan loyalties, and the sudden reappearance of his childhood sweetheart.

Director: Yôji Yamada | Stars: Hiroyuki Sanada, Rie Miyazawa, Nenji Kobayashi, Ren Osugi

Votes: 19,624

37. Kakushi ken oni no tsume (2004)

R | 132 min | Action, Drama, History

76 Metascore

During the time of change of the mid-19th Century, Yaichiro is bid farewell by his fellow samurai friends Munezo and Samon as he leaves their clan's fiefdom on the northwest coast of Japan ... See full summary »

Director: Yôji Yamada | Stars: Masatoshi Nagase, Takako Matsu, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Yukiyoshi Ozawa

Votes: 5,217 | Gross: $0.04M

38. Bushi no ichibun (2006)

PG-13 | 121 min | Drama, Romance

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.

Director: Yôji Yamada | Stars: Takuya Kimura, Rei Dan, Mitsugorô Bandô, Takashi Sasano

Votes: 2,796 | Gross: $0.02M

39. Samurai Rebellion (1967)

Not Rated | 128 min | Drama

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.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yôko Tsukasa, Gô Katô, Tatsuyoshi Ehara

Votes: 8,488

40. Harakiri (1962)

Not Rated | 133 min | Action, Drama, History

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.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Ishihama, Shima Iwashita, Tetsurô Tanba

Votes: 22,215

41. Rashômon (1950)

Not Rated | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 122,982

42. Chiyari Fuji (1955)

94 min | Adventure, Drama

A samurai travels to Edo with his two servants. On their way, they meet many people and encounter great injustice.

Director: Tomu Uchida | Stars: Chiezô Kataoka, Ryûnosuke Tsukigata, Chizuru Kitagawa, Yuriko Tashiro

Votes: 396

43. Hitokiri (1969)

140 min | Action, Drama, History

A destitute ronin allies himself with an established clan, but its ruthless leader tries to turn him into a mindless killer.

Director: Hideo Gosha | Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yukio Mishima, Yûjirô Ishihara

Votes: 769

44. Kill! (1968)

Not Rated | 115 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

Two ronin - an ex-samurai and an ex-farmer - get caught up in a local official's complex game of murder and betrayal.

Director: Kihachi Okamoto | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Etsushi Takahashi, Yuriko Hoshi, Tadao Nakamaru

Votes: 2,125

45. Ran (1985)

R | 162 min | Action, Drama

96 Metascore

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.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryû

Votes: 92,192 | Gross: $3.52M

46. Sanjuro (1962)

Not Rated | 96 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A crafty samurai helps a young man and his fellow clansmen save his uncle, who has been framed and imprisoned by a corrupt superintendent.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Keiju Kobayashi, Yûnosuke Itô

Votes: 23,774

47. Three Outlaw Samurai (1964)

Not Rated | 95 min | Action, Drama

When poor peasants kidnap a magistrate's daughter to coerce him into reducing taxes, a wandering ronin and two renegades from the magistrate's guard take up the fight for them.

Director: Hideo Gosha | Stars: Tetsurô Tanba, Isamu Nagato, Mikijirô Hira, Miyuki Kuwano

Votes: 2,324

48. Red Lion (1969)

115 min | Action, Comedy

Impersonating an Imperial Army officer by wearing a "red lion's mane", a poor servant returns to his village after 10 years of absence to end the village's suffering caused by corrupt ... See full summary »

Director: Kihachi Okamoto | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Shima Iwashita, Etsushi Takahashi, Minori Terada

Votes: 565

49. Yôtô monogatari: hana no Yoshiwara hyakunin-giri (1960)

109 min | Action, Fantasy

A successful textile industrialist from the provinces, who is beloved by his employees for his kindness, cannot find a wife because of a disfiguring birthmark on his face. Even the ... See full summary »

Director: Tomu Uchida | Stars: Isao Kimura, Noriko Aoba, Koji Arima, Minoru Chiaki

Votes: 194

50. Samurai Banners (1969)

165 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Feudal Japan, 1543 to 1562. Kansuke Yamamoto is a samurai who dreams of a country united, peaceful from sea to sea. He enters the service of Takeda, the lord of Kai domain. He convinces ... See full summary »

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yoshiko Sakuma, Kinnosuke Nakamura, Yûjirô Ishihara

Votes: 540

51. Samurai Spy (1965)

Not Rated | 99 min | Action, Drama

7.1