The Best Samurai Movies

by napoleon03 | created - 26 Aug 2013 | updated - 26 Aug 2013 | Public
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1. 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: 265,581 | Gross: $0.27M

2. 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: 6,503

3. 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: 4,710

4. 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: 4,665

5. 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: 37,342

6. 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: 27,909

7. 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: 90,104

8. 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: 24,226

9. 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: 22,414

10. 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: 1,696

11. 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: 2,352

12. 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: 1,615

13. 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: 7,811

14. Zatoichi Challenged (1967)

Not Rated | 87 min | Drama, Adventure, Action

After an artist is threatened by the yakuza into creating valuable but highly illegal pornography, the law aims to execute him. Zatoichi, having been honor bound to protect the man and his family, must now run against the law.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Jûshirô Konoe, Miwa Takada, Yukiji Asaoka

Votes: 886

15. 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: 8,545

16. 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: 2,135

17. 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: 1,697

18. 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: 568

19. 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: 781

20. Killer's Mission (1969)

90 min | Drama

A shogunate secret agent is sent to investigate a secret deal with a Dutch warship involving repeating rifles to be used in an uprising against the Shogun, but finds there's more going on than previously suspected.

Director: Shigehiro Ozawa | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Junkô Tôda, Chiezô Kataoka, Tomoko Mayama

Votes: 54

21. Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (1970)

Not Rated | 115 min | Drama, Action, Adventure

Zatoichi tries to unrest the mob rule over a small village all while the gang leader's bodyguard is actually the Yojimbo, secretly taking the gang down from the inside. Will the two heroes realize in time that they are on the same side?

Director: Kihachi Okamoto | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Shintarô Katsu, Ayako Wakao, Osamu Takizawa

Votes: 1,976

22. 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: 698

23. Shin Zatôichi: Yabure! Tôjin-ken (1971)

Not Rated | 94 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Two of Japan and China's greatest heroic swordsman find themselves caught in a plot to protect a young child. But will national distrust and simple misunderstanding keep the two kindred spirits apart?

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda | Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yu Wang, Watako Hamaki, Michie Terada

Votes: 1,054

24. 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: 1,320

25. Ninja bugeicho momochi sandayu (1980)

R | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

In the middle of the 16th century, Hideyoshi, a power hungry warlord sets out to destroy the Momochi clan. He sends his war commander in search of the clan's hidden gold only to find that ... See full summary »

Director: Noribumi Suzuki | Stars: Hiroyuki Sanada, Shin'ichi Chiba, Etsuko Shiomi, Yuki Ninagawa

Votes: 547

The image does not reflects the real movie/title: "Shogun's Ninja"

26. 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: 27,071

27. 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: 93,191 | Gross: $3.52M

28. Owls' Castle (1999)

138 min | Action, Drama

As the great military commander Nobunaga Oda was consolidating his power across Japan, one of his actions was to wipe out a clan of assassins, killing every man, woman and child he found in... See full summary »

Director: Masahiro Shinoda | Stars: Kiichi Nakai, Mayu Tsuruta, Riona Hazuki, Takaya Kamikawa

Votes: 273

29. 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: 3,325

30. 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: 19,695

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: 4,304

32. The Last Samurai (2003)

R | 154 min | Action, Drama, History

55 Metascore

An American military advisor embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after he is captured in battle.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly, William Atherton

Votes: 351,657 | Gross: $111.11M

33. 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: 5,249 | Gross: $0.04M

34. Rurôni Kenshin: Meiji kenkaku roman tan (2012)

TV-MA | 134 min | Action, Drama, History

A former assassin who has resolved to never kill again has his vow sorely tested.

Director: Keishi Ohtomo | Stars: J. Michael Tatum, Takeru Satoh, Eric Vale, Josh Grelle

Votes: 17,162