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Akira Kurosawa

'The best director of Toho,
the best screenplay writer of Japan,
the best cutter in the world.'

on the set of High and Low
il tenno

In this section detailed info only on the Kurosawa movies I have seen.
This may mean only that I have had the privilege of seeing it in a luxurious Paris showroom (Sanjuro);
that I had a copy sent to Holland and had it screened for a vast audience of at the most 20 people (The Bad Sleep Well);
that I had it accepted for screening in a film festival (Red Beard);
or that I actually had it released in Dutch movie theaters (High and Low)
— and then all the way down to crummy VHS-tapes.

Below all Kurosawa's movies are listed, and some books on or by him.

Sanjuro red beard
last sequence


high and low

Tengoku to Jigoku

Books on Kurosawa

Donald Richie: The Films of Akira Kurosawa

The standard classic's third edition; contains descriptions of and commentaries on all Kurosawa movies.
Very thorough and complete—Richie knows what he's writing about.
University of California Press, 1996

Akira Kurosawa: Something Like an Autobiography
Also highly recommended. Alas, it stops with Rashomon.
Will go to show you Kurosawa was just a regular, unconceited, beer-drinking guy.
Vintage Books, 1983

All Kurosawa movies
chronological list
year    original titletitleproduction
1943Sugata SanshiroJudo SagaToho, Japan
1944Ichiban UtsukushikuThe Most BeautifulToho, Japan
1945Zoku Sugata SanshiroSanshiro Sugata, part IIToho, Japan
1945Tora no O o Fumu OtokachiThey Who Step on the Tiger's TailToho, Japan
1946Asu o Skuru HitobitoThose Who Make TomorrowToho, Japan
1946Waga Sheishun ni KuinashiNo Regrets for Our YouthToho, Japan
1947Subarashi NichiyobiOne Wonderful SundayToho, Japan
1948Yoidore TenshiDrunken AngelToho, Japan
1949Shizukanaru KettoThe Quiet DuelDaiei, Japan
1949Nora InuStray DogShintoho, Japan
1950ShubunScandalShochiku, Japan
1950RashomonRashomonDaiei, Japan
1951HakuchiThe IdiotShochiku, Japan
1952IkiruLiving aka DoomedToho, Japan
1954Shichinin no SamuraiSeven SamuraiToho, Japan
1955Ikimono no KirokuRecord of a Living Being
aka I Live in Fear
Toho, Japan
1957Kumonosu-joThrone of BloodToho, Japan
1957DonzokoThe Lower DepthsToho, Japan
1958Kakushi Toride no San-AkuninThe Hidden FortressToho, Japan
1960Warui Yatsu Hodo Yoko NomuruThe Bad Sleep WellToho, Japan
1961YojimboYojimboToho, Japan
1962Tsubaki SanjuroSanjuroToho, Japan
1963Tengoku to JigokuHigh and LowToho, Japan
1965AkahigeRedbeardToho, Japan
All later Kurosawa movies are in color
1970DodesukadenDodes'ka-denKai/Toho, Japan
1975Derusu UsaraDersu UsalaMosfilm, USSR
1980KagemushaThe Shadow WarriorToho, Japan
1985RanRanToho, Japan
1990YumeDreamsSpielberg/Warner, USA
1991Hachigatsu no KyoshikokuRhapsody in AugustShochiku, Japan
1993Madâ dâ yoMadadayoDaiei/Dentsu, Japan

Quiet Duel
In Akira Kurosawa's stark drama, Toshiro Mifune is a young, virgin doctor working in a small hospital who contracts syphilis from a patient. Troubled by his conscience, Mifune decides to secretly treat himself and not marry the woman he had planned to. With Takashi Shimura.

Kagemusha Amazon.usa
Sprawling Akira Kurosawa epic of a petty thief in feudal Japan who is spared from death in order to impersonate a recently killed warlord, and who begins to take on the fiery drive of his predecessor as he leads his clan into battle. Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki star.
160 min. Widescreen

Ran Amazon.usa
Akira Kurosawa's spellbinding transposition of "King Lear" to feudal Japan chronicles Lord Hidetora's attempt to pass down his kingdom to his sons, which results in its violent and chaotic downfall. Tatsuya Nakadai stars, with Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu and Daisuke Ryu as his sons, and Mieko Harada as ruthless Lady Kaede.
160 min. Widescreen

Rhapsody In August Amazon.usa
Akira Kurosawa's sensitive drama tells of four children whose visit to their grandmother rekindles her frightening memories of August 9th, 1945, when an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The children learn about the horrors of war, and when an American cousin arrives, more dark secrets of the past are revealed. Sachiko Murase, Hidetaka Yoshioka and Richard Gere star.
98 min. Widescreen (

Madadayo Amazon.usa
The final work from legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa is a gentle, lyrical drama set in '40s Japan. An elderly teacher, revered by his now-grown students, steps down to devote his final years to his writing. Despite losing his home in an air raid and other hardships, the steadfast "sensei" refuses to give up on life with a valiant cry of "Madadayo" ("not yet"). Tatsuo Matsumura, Kyoko Kagawa star.
134 min.

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