Roger von Oech

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Stephen Denny

Roger: Kurosawa is a favorite of mine, too. All these films are outstanding. Seven Samurai is a film I've watched dozens of times and is a top five on my list. The one that I've found most interesting -- and that I've only watched once, to my recollection -- is Rashomon. A feudal Japanese 'who done it'. Outstanding film.

(Although this has nothing to do with anything -- but since we're talking about Japanese film -- if you'd like a change of pace from the heavy lifting of Kurosawa, pick up a copy of 'Tampopo').

Mario Vellandi

Seven Samurai was my first experience. Later I saw Yojimbo and had a blast. Ran was ok, a bit long but insightful on the nature of territorial politics, families, and the quest for power. Dreams was slow but VERY colorful and poetic.

Vickie Carr

I just loved Dersu Uzala.


Imo, it's nigh impossible to pick the best Kurosawa film, but without a doubt Yojimbo is my favorite. There's a shot that I'll never forget near the end when a leaf blows by Mifune's character Sanjuro.

The Bad Sleep Well had a great story, Rashomon has some great storytelling methods, Madadayo had some great style, Seven Samurai was of course a classic... they all really stick out more consistently than most directors from the 20th century, so I totally agree with you. And I second the suggestion of Tampopo-- that's probably one of my favorite Japanese movies.

Mark McGuinness

Great choices! Seven Samurai and Ikiru are my favourites - the ultimate Samurai film and a magical, haunting film about what it means to really live.

I've not seen Rashomon yet, must sort that out...

Roger von Oech

It's nice to hear from so many Kurosawa fans.

Stephen and Mark: Yes, Seven Samurai is ennobling!

Mario and Tieg: I liked "Yojimbo" as well, and it would have made my "Top 7" list.

Tieg and Stephen: I'll have to rent "Tampopo" in the near future; and "Dersu Uzala" as well — on Vick's recommendation!

Vili Maunula

My personal favourites are probably 'Ran', 'Stray Dog' and 'One Wonderful Sunday', although there are only very few films by Kurosawa that I can't enjoy over and over again. Almost all of them get just better with repeated viewings.

With so many Kurosawa fans here, would I be allowed a little bit of self-promotion and invite you all to check out ? :)

PS. It's actually "Toshiro", not "Tashiro" Mifune. (10 points for you for spelling "Rashomon" correctly, though -- for some reason people tend to write "Roshomon" or "Rashoman", the latter of which always makes me giggle.)

Roger von Oech

Vili: Thanks for stopping by. I've since corrected the spelling of Mifune's first name. I checked out your site.

How did you come to dedicate a whole to Kurosawa?

Lots of good stuff. I especially liked this post:

Vili Maunula

Thanks for checking out the site!

I've been fascinated by Kurosawa's films for most of my life, and since no one else was maintaining a (living) Kurosawa website, I thought that I might just as well do it, myself.

It has also been a great way of meeting like-minded people and doing some research on my own. And since I now have the responsibility of sorts to gather all the info I can find, I now find myself actually doing research and not only thinking about doing it, as used to be the case.

Regarding this, there's going to be a rather big update with the content side of the website within the next couple of weeks. I just need to put on the finishing touches for the new navigation structure before I launch it.

Stephen Denny

... and for a last bonus half-point, Toshiro is actually his first name... not that we're awarding points or anything...

(And yes, Yojimbo is the reason Clint Eastwood is a household name. I think the remake on that one was A Fistfull of Dollars, right?)

Roger von Oech

Vili: Good luck with your site.

Stephen: Yes indeedy. When I watched "Yojimbo" I thought to myself, "So that's where Sergio Leone got his idea."

Vili Maunula

There is actually a story behind "A Fistful of Dollars", which Leone made from "Yojimbo" without asking any permission for it. And not only is the story of "Fistful" copy-pasted from "Yojimbo", but so are many directorial decisions (shot composition, editing), Eastwood's acting mannerisms, and even Morricone's score is said to be similar to Sato's original.

Well, Kurosawa wasn't really happy about this, and wrote to Leone: "Signor Leone -- I have just had the chance to see your film. It is a very fine film, but it is my film. Since Japan is a signatory of the Berne Convention on international copyright, you must pay me."

The funny thing is what Leone did when he received the letter: he ran around waving it to everyone, pointing out that Kurosawa had written to him and *liked* his film. I guess we see what we want to see.

It took the legal processes about a year, after which a conclusion was made: Leone would personally make no money out of the film, while Kurosawa received 15 percent of whatever "Fistful" would earn. Some claim "Fistful" as a result to be the film Kurosawa actually made the most money out of, which may be true considering that he had no production costs for it.

Finally, note that the American release of "A Fistful of Dollars", which opened after all this had taken place, had no screenplay credit at all.

Carolyn Wilson Koerschen

Without a doubt Ikiru is not only my favorite Kurosawa film but one of my favorite movies of all time. The image of the man in the business suit, sitting on a swing, while surveying the empty playground is powerful. I think he is singing a song about love as he swings. I imagine that the song lingers in the air after his death- whispering his message of love to the children as they engage in carefree play. He lost the ability to play- to create- during his life as a bureaucrat but regained it as he approached death. His legacy was giving the gift of play to children. What could be better than that?

Funny Animal Videos

Wow...first off I haven't been to your site in quite awhile and am happy to see you have a blog... awesome! I'm a big fan of your books and whack packs and am usually on the lookout to see if you have any new books whenever I go to the book store.

I see you have something called "the ball of whacks"... well now, I guess I'll have to add this to my collection! :)

Goddess Artemis

Among Kurosawa movies, my number one is Kakushi toride no san akunin (a.k.a. Hidden Fortress).


Roger, check out "High and Low" and "Drunken Angel"

Douglas Dolan

I, too, recommend both "The Hidden Fortress" and "Yojimbo".

Just as with "The Seven Samurai" both of these films inspired other classic movies. As mentioned above, "Yojimbo" inspired "A Fist Full of Dollars". "The Hidden Fortress" inspired "Star Wars".

It's great to be able to take a day and watch through these Kurosawa classics.

I recommend that you check out another favorite, "Kikujiro" by Takeshi Kitano (also known for the game show Takeshi's Castle in Japan or MXC here in the US).

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