Japan, 500 greatest films in the history (Sorted by Release Date Ascending)



1. No Regrets for Our Youth (1946)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama

7.2
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The daughter of a politically disgraced university professor struggles to find a place for herself in love and life, in the uncertain world of Japan leading into WWII.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Setsuko Hara, Susumu Fujita, Denjirô Ôkôchi, Haruko Sugimura

Votes: 2,459

2. Late Spring (1949)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama

8.3
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Noriko is twenty-seven years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her father.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Setsuko Hara, Yumeji Tsukioka, Haruko Sugimura

Votes: 11,885

3. Stray Dog (1949)

Not Rated | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

7.9
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During a sweltering summer, a rookie homicide detective tries to track down his stolen Colt pistol.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Awaji, Eiko Miyoshi

Votes: 13,103

4. Rashômon (1950)

Not Rated | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

8.3
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The rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband are recalled from the perspectives of a bandit, the bride, the samurai's ghost and a woodcutter.

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

Votes: 131,712 | Gross: $0.10M

5. Early Summer (1951)

Not Rated | 125 min | Drama

8.2
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A family chooses a match for their daughter Noriko, but she, surprisingly, has her own plans.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Setsuko Hara, Chishû Ryû, Chikage Awashima, Kuniko Miyake

Votes: 6,055

6. Ikiru (1952)

Not Rated | 143 min | Drama

8.3
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A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Shin'ichi Himori, Haruo Tanaka

Votes: 57,728 | Gross: $0.06M

7. Ugetsu (1953)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Fantasy, War

8.2
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A tale of ambition, family, love, and war set in the midst of the Japanese Civil Wars of the sixteenth century.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyô, Kinuyo Tanaka, Mitsuko Mito

Votes: 17,660 | Gross: $0.01M

8. Tokyo Story (1953)

Not Rated | 136 min | Drama

8.2
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An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama, Sô Yamamura, Setsuko Hara

Votes: 42,910

9. Sansho the Bailiff (1954)

Not Rated | 124 min | Drama

8.4
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In medieval Japan, a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children grow up amid suffering and oppression.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Yoshiaki Hanayagi, Kyôko Kagawa, Eitarô Shindô

Votes: 12,369

10. Seven Samurai (1954)

Not Rated | 207 min | Adventure, Drama

8.7
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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: 279,090 | Gross: $0.27M

11. Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Romance

8.0
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A French actress filming an anti-war film in Hiroshima has an affair with a married Japanese architect as they share their differing perspectives on war.

Director: Alain Resnais | Stars: Emmanuelle Riva, Eiji Okada, Stella Dassas, Pierre Barbaud

Votes: 24,440 | Gross: $0.09M

12. The Bad Sleep Well (1960)

Not Rated | 151 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

8.1
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A vengeful young man marries the daughter of a corrupt industrialist in order to seek justice for his father's suicide.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Masayuki Mori, Kyôko Kagawa, Tatsuya Mihashi

Votes: 9,382

13. The Naked Island (1960)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama

8.3
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A family of four are the sole inhabitants of a small island, where they struggle each day to irrigate their crops.

Director: Kaneto Shindô | Stars: Nobuko Otowa, Taiji Tonoyama, Shinji Tanaka, Masanori Horimoto

Votes: 4,215

14. Yojimbo (1961)

Not Rated | 110 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

8.3
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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: 95,232

15. Sanjuro (1962)

Not Rated | 96 min | Action, Crime, Drama

8.1
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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: 27,359

16. Harakiri (1962)

Not Rated | 133 min | Action, Drama, History

8.7
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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: 23,961

17. High and Low (1963)

Not Rated | 143 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

8.4
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An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yutaka Sada, Tatsuya Nakadai, Kyôko Kagawa

Votes: 23,314

18. Onibaba (1964)

Not Rated | 103 min | Drama, Horror

8.0
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Two women kill samurai and sell their belongings for a living. While one of them is having an affair with their neighbor, the other woman meets a mysterious samurai wearing a bizarre mask.

Director: Kaneto Shindô | Stars: Nobuko Otowa, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Kei Satô, Jûkichi Uno

Votes: 13,399

19. Kwaidan (1964)

Not Rated | 183 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

8.0
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A collection of four Japanese folk tales with supernatural themes.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Rentarô Mikuni, Michiyo Aratama, Misako Watanabe, Kenjirô Ishiyama

Votes: 12,589

20. Red Beard (1965)

Not Rated | 185 min | Drama

8.3
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In 19th century Japan, a rough tempered yet charitable town doctor trains a young intern.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yûzô Kayama, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Reiko Dan

Votes: 14,091

21. Sword of the Beast (1965)

Not Rated | 85 min | Action, Drama

7.6
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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: 2,171

22. Dersu Uzala (1975)

G | 142 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

8.3
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The Russian army sends an explorer on an expedition to the snowy Siberian wilderness where he makes friends with a seasoned local hunter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Maksim Munzuk, Yuriy Solomin, Mikhail Bychkov, Vladimir Khrulyov

Votes: 20,938

23. In the Realm of the Senses (1976)

NC-17 | 109 min | Biography, Drama, Horror

6.6
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A passionate telling of the story of Sada Abe, a woman whose affair with her master led to a sexual obsession which then came to a violent end.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima | Stars: Tatsuya Fuji, Eiko Matsuda, Aoi Nakajima, Yasuko Matsui

Votes: 16,135

24. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

PG | 117 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

8.1
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86 Metascore

Warrior and pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Sumi Shimamoto, Mahito Tsujimura, Hisako Kyôda, Gorô Naya

Votes: 126,270

25. Ran (1985)

R | 162 min | Action, Drama

8.2
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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: 98,368 | Gross: $3.52M

26. Brightness (1987)

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, Fantasy

7.2
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A young man with magical powers journeys to his uncle to request help in fighting his sorcerer father.

Director: Souleymane Cissé | Stars: Issiaka Kane, Aoua Sangare, Niamanto Sanogo, Balla Moussa Keita

Votes: 1,836

27. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

G | 86 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

8.2
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86 Metascore

When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wondrous forest spirits who live nearby.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Hitoshi Takagi, Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Shigesato Itoi

Votes: 234,571

28. Mystery Train (1989)

R | 110 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

7.6
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80 Metascore

Three stories are connected by a Memphis hotel and the spirit of Elvis Presley.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Masatoshi Nagase, Yûki Kudô, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Cinqué Lee

Votes: 22,496 | Gross: $0.37M

29. Dreams (1990)

PG | 119 min | Drama, Fantasy

7.8
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A collection of tales based upon the actual dreams of director Akira Kurosawa.

Directors: Akira Kurosawa, Ishirô Honda | Stars: Akira Terao, Mitsuko Baishô, Toshie Negishi, Mieko Harada

Votes: 21,337 | Gross: $1.96M

30. Night on Earth (1991)

R | 129 min | Comedy, Drama

7.8
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68 Metascore

An anthology of 5 different cab drivers in 5 American and European cities and their remarkable fares on the same eventful night.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Winona Ryder, Gena Rowlands, Lisanne Falk, Alan Randolph Scott

Votes: 49,292 | Gross: $2.02M

31. Howards End (1992)

PG | 142 min | Drama, Romance

7.5
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89 Metascore

A businessman thwarts his wife's bequest of an estate to another woman.

Director: James Ivory | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter

Votes: 25,572 | Gross: $25.97M

32. Dead Man (1995)

R | 121 min | Drama, Fantasy, Western

7.7
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62 Metascore

On the run after murdering a man, accountant William Blake encounters a strange North American man named Nobody who prepares him for his journey into the spiritual world.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen

Votes: 82,875 | Gross: $1.04M

33. Princess Mononoke (1997)

PG-13 | 134 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

8.4
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76 Metascore

On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Yôji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yûko Tanaka, Billy Crudup

Votes: 288,963 | Gross: $2.38M

34. Fireworks (1997)

103 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

7.8
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Nishi leaves the police in the face of harrowing personal and professional difficulties. Spiraling into depression, he makes questionable decisions.

Director: Takeshi Kitano | Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Osugi, Susumu Terajima

Votes: 24,594 | Gross: $0.23M

35. Ringu (1998)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror, Mystery

7.3
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A reporter and her ex-husband investigate a cursed video tape that is rumored to kill the viewer seven days after watching it.

Director: Hideo Nakata | Stars: Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatani, Yûko Takeuchi, Hitomi Satô

Votes: 57,825

36. Spirited Away (2001)

PG | 125 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

8.6
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96 Metascore

During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

Directors: Hayao Miyazaki, Kirk Wise | Stars: Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Miyu Irino, Rumi Hiiragi

Votes: 546,843 | Gross: $10.06M

37. Dolls (2002)

114 min | Drama, Romance

7.7
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71 Metascore

Three stories of never-ending love.

Director: Takeshi Kitano | Stars: Miho Kanno, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Tatsuya Mihashi, Kyoko Fukada

Votes: 14,789 | Gross: $0.00M

38. Lost in Translation (2003)

R | 102 min | Drama

7.8
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89 Metascore

A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.

Director: Sofia Coppola | Stars: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris

Votes: 370,745 | Gross: $44.59M

39. The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (2003)

R | 116 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

7.6
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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 Yasuda

Votes: 44,676 | Gross: $0.85M

40. 3-Iron (2004)

R | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

8.1
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72 Metascore

A transient young man breaks into empty homes to partake of the vacationing residents' lives for a few days.

Director: Ki-duk Kim | Stars: Seung-Yun Lee, Hee Jae, Hyuk-ho Kwon, Jeong-ho Choi

Votes: 44,581 | Gross: $0.24M

41. You, the Living (2007)

Not Rated | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

7.5
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81 Metascore

You, the Living is a film about humankind, its greatness and its baseness, joy and sorrow, its self-confidence and anxiety, its desire to love and be loved.

Director: Roy Andersson | Stars: Elisabeth Helander, Jörgen Nohall, Jan Wikbladh, Björn Englund

Votes: 12,648 | Gross: $0.02M

42. First Man (2018)

PG-13 | 141 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.4
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84 Metascore

A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

Director: Damien Chazelle | Stars: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler

Votes: 107,148 | Gross: $44.94M


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