samurai movies and series

by Gregor Kralj | created - 06 Jan 2012 | updated - 13 May 2017 | Public

list of samurai movies and series to watch

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1. 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: 8,531

2. 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: 43,608 | Gross: $0.85M

3. 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: 780

4. 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: 1,693

5. 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: 2,062

6. 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: 265,355 | Gross: $0.27M

7. 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: 93,066 | Gross: $3.52M

8. 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: 124,106

9. Kagemusha (1980)

PG | 162 min | Drama, History, War

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.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ken'ichi Hagiwara, Jinpachi Nezu

Votes: 27,037

10. Sword of the Stranger (2007)

Not Rated | 103 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

A swordsman from a strange land is caught in a struggle between morality, righteousness, and devotion as he reluctantly agrees to take a raggedy boy and his dog to a remote, Buddhist temple.

Director: Masahiro Andô | Stars: Tomoya Nagase, Yuri Chinen, Kôichi Yamadera, Akio Ôtsuka

Votes: 12,057

11. Samurai X: Reflection (2001– )

Not Rated | 83 min | Animation, Drama, Romance

Kenshin and Kaoru are married. Kenshin leaves Kaoru with their son, Kenji, to lead a revolution in China. But both of them suffer from a seemingly incurable disease. 15 years later, Kenshin... See full summary »

Stars: Mayo Suzukaze, Miki Fujitani, Mîna Tominaga, Yûji Ueda

Votes: 3,135

12. Rurouni Kenshin: Wandering Samurai (1996–1999)

TV-14 | 24 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

The adventures of a young wandering swordsman who stumbles upon a struggling martial arts school in Meiji era Japan.

Stars: Mayo Suzukaze, Richard Cansino, Dean Wein, Dorothy Elias-Fahn

Votes: 14,251

13. Samurai Champloo (2004–2005)

TV-MA | 24 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

Fuu, a waitress who works in a teahouse, rescues two master swordsmen, Mugen and Jin, from their execution to help her find the "samurai who smells of sunflowers."

Stars: Kazuya Nakai, Ginpei Sato, Ayako Kawasumi, Steve Blum

Votes: 30,794

14. Chûshingura (1962)

207 min | Action, Drama, History

After their lord is tricked into committing ritual suicide, forty-seven samurai warriors await the chance to avenge their master and reclaim their honor.

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki | Stars: Yûzô Kayama, Chûsha Ichikawa, Tatsuya Mihashi, Akira Takarada

Votes: 1,695

15. 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: 5,512

16. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades (1972)

R | 89 min | Action, Drama

Ogami Itto volunteers to be tortured by the yakuza to save a prostitute and is hired by their leader to kill an evil chamberlain.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Gô Katô, Yûko Hama, Isao Yamagata

Votes: 3,517

17. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril (1972)

Not Rated | 81 min | Action, Thriller

Ogami is hired to kill a tattooed female assassin. Gunbei Yagyu, an enemy samurai, happens upon Ogami's son, and sees his chance for revenge.

Director: Buichi Saitô | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Yoichi Hayashi, Michi Azuma, Akihiro Tomikawa

Votes: 3,068

18. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx (1972)

Not Rated | 81 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Trailed by a clan of female ninja, Ogami is paid to assassinate a clan traitor accompanied by three killers known as the Gods of Death.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Kayo Matsuo, Minoru Ôki, Akiji Kobayashi

Votes: 4,294

19. Kozure Ôkami: Jigoku e ikuzo! Daigorô (1974)

Not Rated | 83 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

In the sixth and final film of the Lone Wolf and Cub series, the final conflict between Ogami Itto and the Yagyu clan is carried out.

Director: Yoshiyuki Kuroda | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Akihiro Tomikawa, Junko Hitomi, Gorô Mutsumi

Votes: 2,623

20. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons (1973)

Not Rated | 89 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Five warriors challenge Ogami to duels. Each holds a part of information needed to complete the assassination of a mad clan leader.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Michiyo Ohkusu, Akihiro Tomikawa, Shingo Yamashiro

Votes: 2,865

21. 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: 22,384

22. 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: 89,981

23. The Hidden Fortress (1958)

Not Rated | 126 min | Adventure, Drama

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.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Misa Uehara, Minoru Chiaki, Kamatari Fujiwara

Votes: 27,869

24. 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: 37,294

25. 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: 7,805

26. 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: 19,687

27. 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: 5,247 | Gross: $0.04M

28. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)

R | 116 min | Action, Crime, Drama

67 Metascore

An African American mafia hit man who models himself after the samurai of old finds himself targeted for death by the mob.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Forest Whitaker, Henry Silva, John Tormey, Cliff Gorman

Votes: 76,745 | Gross: $3.31M

29. Le Samouraï (1967)

GP | 101 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

After Professional hitman Jef Costello is seen by witnesses his efforts to provide himself an alibi drive him further into a corner.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville | Stars: Alain Delon, François Périer, Nathalie Delon, Cathy Rosier

Votes: 36,469 | Gross: $0.04M

30. 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: 56,057 | Gross: $0.80M

31. 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: 4,302

32. 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: 448

33. 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: 9,647

34. Aragami (2003)

78 min | Action, Fantasy, Horror

A raging god of battle and a master samurai duke it out in a series of sword fights in a remote temple.

Director: Ryûhei Kitamura | Stars: Takao Ohsawa, Masaya Katô, Kanae Uotani, Tak Sakaguchi

Votes: 1,928

35. 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: 6,499

36. 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: 4,664

37. 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: 4,709

38. Ame agaru (1999)

91 min | Drama

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.

Director: Takashi Koizumi | Stars: Akira Terao, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Shirô Mifune, Fumi Dan

Votes: 3,323

39. 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: 24,198

40. Hanzo the Razor: Sword of Justice (1972)

94 min | Action

Hanzo Itami is an incorruptible Edo officer who learns that an infamous killer has fled from his island prison. Hanzo begins tracking him down using his unorthodox interrogation techniques.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yukiji Asaoka, Mari Atsumi, Kô Nishimura

Votes: 1,328

41. Hanzo the Razor: The Snare (1973)

Not Rated | 89 min | Action, Drama

During the currency devaluation by the Edo treasury, officer Hanzo deals with a temple priestess who sells her pupils as prostitutes, and a notorious thief who plans to rob the mint.

Director: Yasuzô Masumura | Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Keiko Aikawa, Kazuko Inano, Keizô Kanie

Votes: 939

42. Hanzo the Razor: Who's Got the Gold? (1974)

Not Rated | 84 min | Action

After extracting information by raping a ghost, Hanzo uncovers a plot among high officials to steal the shogunate's gold and loan it out to the poor.

Director: Yoshio Inoue | Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kô Nishimura, Mako Midori, Mikio Narita

Votes: 688

43. Agent Shiranui (1960)

Not Rated | 91 min | Drama

Before he portrayed the legendary blind swordsman, Zatoichi, Shintaro Katsu played Suganoichi, a blind court masseur with a dark side. An outcast since birth, he learned from a young age ... See full summary »

Director: Kazuo Mori | Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Tamao Nakamura, Mieko Kondô, Matasaburô Niwa

Votes: 108

44. 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: 2,350

45. Kiru (1962)

71 min | Action, Drama

A samurai seeks revenge and redemption after his family is executed by a rival clan.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Shiho Fujimura, Mayumi Nagisa, Masayo Banri

Votes: 287

46. Demons (1971)

134 min | Drama, Horror

After being robbed by a geisha, a ronin warrior carves a bloody path to seek revenge.

Director: Toshio Matsumoto | Stars: Katsuo Nakamura, Juro Kara, Yasuko Sanjo, Masao Imafuku

Votes: 1,348

47. Rikyu (1989)

135 min | Drama, History

Legendary tea master Sen no Rikyu is faced with his warmongering lord's unrealistic pretensions.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara | Stars: Rentarô Mikuni, Yoshiko Mita, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Kyôko Kishida

Votes: 492

49. Oni no sumu yakata (1969)

76 min | Drama

An abandoned temple in the mountains outside of the old capital city of Kyoto is the scene of a fated meeting between a traveling priest, two women, and a vicious killer.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Hideko Takamine, Michiyo Aratama, Kei Satô

Votes: 77

50. The 47 Ronin (1941)

241 min | Action, Drama, History

In 1701, Lord Takuminokami Asano has a feud with Lord Kira and he tries to kill Kira in the corridors of the Shogun's palace. The Shogun sentences Lord Asano to commit suppuku and deprives ... See full summary »

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Chôjûrô Kawarasaki, Yoshizaburo Arashi, Utaemon Ichikawa, Kan'emon Nakamura

Votes: 1,588

51. Onibaba (1964)

Not Rated | 103 min | Drama, Horror

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