Great Performances (1971– )
8 user 4 critic



On Disc

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Episode credited cast:
Akira Kurosawa ... Himself (archive footage)
Sam Shepard ... Narrator (voice)
Paul Scofield ... Kurosawa (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
James Coburn ... Himself
Clint Eastwood ... Himself
Shinobu Hashimoto Shinobu Hashimoto ... Himself
Hiromichi Horikawa Hiromichi Horikawa ... Himself
Kon Ichikawa ... Himself
Shuichi Kato Shuichi Kato ... Himself
Masahiko Kumada Masahiko Kumada ... Himself
Hisao Kurosawa Hisao Kurosawa ... Himself
Kazuko Kurosawa Kazuko Kurosawa ... Herself
Machiko Kyô ... Herself
George Lucas ... Himself (archive footage)
Tatsuya Nakadai ... Himself


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UK | Japan | USA



Release Date:

21 March 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kurosawa: A Documentary See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BBC Arena, KQED, NHK See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Steven Spielberg: This year the Academy's Board of Governors have voted an Honorary Academy Award to a man who many of us believe is our greatest living filmmaker, and all of us know if one of the few true visionaries ever to work in our medium.
Narrator: In 1990, at the age of eighty the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa was given an honorary Oscar at the Academy Awards in Hollywood.
Akira Kurosawa: [in Japanese] I am deeply honoured to receive such a prestigious award. Thank you.
See more »


Features The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

Too trite for me...
2 February 2008 | by moondog-8See all my reviews

There is a phrase by the experimental filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky, who says some films are structured like a camera mounted on the head of a dog who goes down an alley, sniffing everything along the way.

That's how this movie is. The structure is "Kurosawa started out as a baby, then he became a kid, then a young man, then a movie director, then he started making 'masterpieces', then he grew old, The End." The word 'masterpiece' is used a lot in this film to describe Kurosawa's output, without explaining *what* makes his films so good/great. Just because the off-screen narrator reading a script says that a film is a masterpiece, are we supposed to kiss his rear-end and accept that a certain movie is one of the great works of art of the 20th century? And one more point. The voice of Paul Scofield is used as the voice of Kurosawa, when excerpts from the director's memoirs are being read off screen. He brings pear-shaped Shakespearean tones to the text...but why him?? If you were making a documentary about Billie Holiday, would you use Dame Judi Densch as her voice????

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