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The Top 10 Greatest Samurai Movies

The Top 10 Greatest Samurai Movies

Samurai movies are a great genre of movies all around the world. The historical samurai movies often take place in feudal Japan and are somewhat realistic movies. The non-historivcal samurai movies put samurai in all kinds of situation and can be unrealistic in many ways, however the samurai movies in fantasy worlds or different planets are not included in the top 10 greatest samurai movies list. Most of the samurai movies focuses on the of the way of the samurai, masterless ronin, or samurai dealing with a changing society and off course epic sword fighting scenes.

10. The Hidden Blade (2004) Kakushi ken: Oni no tsume

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Movie: The Hidden Blade is a movie directed by Yôji Yamada.

Story: Yaichiro is leaving his clan to take an important position within the shigunate in far away Edo and is bid farewell by his fellow clanmembers and samurai friends Munezo and Samon. After Munezo’s father was forced into suicide after failing a mission, Munezo was left behind with his mother and sister Shino. Kie a farmgirl is working as a made in Munezo’s house. As time passes Shino marries Samon and Kie marries a man from a merchant family. Munuzo learns that Kie is being abused by her husband’s family and he decides to rescue her. Although sharing mutual affection and respect, Munezo decides to send Kie back to her father’s farm. After failing a mission, Yaichiro is sent home in disgrace and imprisoned in solitary confinement. Yaichiro escapes and Munezo is ordered to prove his innocence from complicity by killing his old friend. Although Yaichiro is the better swordsman, their master only entrusted the secret of the ‘’Hidden Blade’’ to Munezo.

9. Sanjuro (1962) Tsubaki Sanjûrô

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Movie: Sanjuro is a movie directed by Akira Kurosawa.

Story: A smart samurai helps a young man and his fellow clansmen save his uncle, who has been framed and imprisoned by a corrupt superintendent. A group of idealistic young men, determined to end the corruption in their town, are aided by a crafty samurai who does not at all fit their concept of a noble warrior.

8. Throne of Blood (1957) Kumonosu-jô

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Movie: Throne of blood is a movie directed by Akira Kurosawa. This movie is a samurai version of William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.

Story: After a great victory the lord of the spider web castle summons his two generals to congratulate them on their victory. On the way to the castle the two generals Washizu and Miki walk into an evil spirit that predict great things for Washizu and even greater things for Miki’s son. Like the evil spirits prophecy says, Washizy and Miki are immediately promoted by the emperor and Washizu, encouraged by his ambitious wife to make even more of the prophecy come true whatever it takes.

7. Yojimbo (1961) Yôjinbô

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Movie: Yojimbo is a movie directed by Akira Kurosawa.

Story: Sanjuro a wandering ronin who arrives in a small village that is in a gang war. The two bosses of the village both desperately want the highly skilled ronin to fight for them. Sanjuro plays one side off against the other in order to get the best possible deal. A son of one of gang leaders who owns a gun has Sanjuro beaten and destroys all of his father’s opponents. During this battle Sanjuro escapes with the help of an innkeeper. While Sanjuro is recovering he learns of the innkeeper’s abduction and returns to the town to confront Unosuke.

6. The sword of doom (1966) Dai-bosatsu tôge

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Movie: The sword of doom is a movie directed by Kihachi Okamoto. This movie is based on a book written by Kaizan Nakazato and is reported to be the longest novel ever written.

Story: Ryunosuke Tsukue is a emotionless and merciless samurai with an unorthodox style. Ryunosuke leaves town after killing a man and killing the dead man’s calnmembers who attack him on the way. After a while Ryunosuke learns that the younger brother of the man he killed is looking for him to avenge his brother. Ryunosuke appears to descend into complete insanity and the movie ends in one of the most famous sword fight scenes.

5. Lonewolf and cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972) Kozure ôkami: Ko wo kashi ude kashi tsukamatsuru

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Movie: Sword of Vengeance is the first of its six series and is directed by Kenji Misumi. The movies are based on a manga created by Kazuo Koike.

Story: Ogami Itto, the official executioner of the Shogunate is being framed for disloyalty by the Yagyu clan. After being set up Ogami lost everything except his 3 year old son Daigaro. Ogami has Daigaro choose between a sword and a toy. Choosing the toy would mean to die and be with his mother while picking the sword would mean to join his father Ogami to walk the way of hell and take revenge on the Yagyu clan. Daigaro choice is the sword and Ogami together with his infant son are now waging a one-man war.

4: The Tale of Zatoichi (1962) Zatôichi monogatari

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Movie: The tale of zatoichi is a movie directed by Kenji Misumi and is the first of a 26 long epic movie samurai drama series from 1962 till 1989.

Story: A blind masseur named Zatoichi who happens to be a skilled master swordsman is hired by a yakuza gang-leader Sukejoro Iioka (Eijiro Yanagi) to kill his rival Shigezo Sasagawa (Ryuzo Shimada). Shigezo responds by hiring a ronin with a similar reputation as Zatoichi.

3. Harakiri (1962) Seppuku

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Movie: Harakiri is a movie directed by masaki Kobayashi.

Story: A samurai Hanshiro Tsugumo is looking for a place that’s suitable to commit seppuku. He arrives at an estate where he is being warned that another ronin named Motome Chijawe of the same clan, made the same request. When Motome swords was revealed it turned out to be a wooden sword made of bamboo. Motome wasn’t given a blade and was forced to commit seppuku with the wooden sword. Hanshiro says not to worry as he is carrying a real blade and wants to continue with his request to commit suicide. In flashbacks Hanshiro tells the sad story of his son-in-law and sets in motion a showdown of revenge against the house.

Nr 2: Ran (1985)

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Movie: Ran is a movie directed by Akira Kurosawa. The movie is a samurai version of the Shakespearean tragedy King Lear.

Story: A Great Lord has decided to retire and give up his kingdom to his three sons Taro, Jiro and Saburo. The great lord entitles each son to its own castle. The lord wishes to live in each castle for a period of time as an honored guest. Unlike the two oldest sons Taro and Jiro the youngest son Saburo thinks it’s a bad idea and doesn’t believe the three brothers will not remain united. The great lord feels disrespected by Saburo and banished him from the kingdom. Being warned by Saburo it won’t take long before Taro and Jiro conspire together to take everything from The Great Lord.

1. Seven Samurai (1954) Shichinin no samurai

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Movie: Seven Samurai is directed by Akira Kurosawa.

Story: A wise samurai answers the village request to help them protect their corps for three mails a day. The samurai seeks help of 6 other samurai to help him. When the seven samurai arrive in the village they teach the farmers in the village how to defend themselves against the bandits. The film ends in an epic battle when the village gets attacked by 40 bandits.

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