Top Ten Samurai Films


2. The Twilight Samurai

A Samurai film without much, if any, action is a tough sell. After all, the Samurai are mighty warriors who ride out into battle ready to die for their Lord and country. How then could a film about such warriors be great, let alone land the #2 spot on this list? The performances in this film, along with understated, masterful direction would render Twilight Samurai a masterpiece regardless of the genre or subject matter. Hiroyuke Sanada (who was 47 Ronin and The Last Samurai previously listed) makes his mark as one of the greatest actors in film today as Iguchi Seibei, a widower who recently lost his wife to tuberculosis. I won’t give away the plot, but watching this man deal with his post as a samurai during the last days of the samurai’s power and all the trials and tribulations of raising a daughter makes this film an absolute must watch. I think what I admired most is that it wasn’t action packed. It can sometimes be so rewarding to take archetypes, settings and genres that are so well known and slow them way down to show the world another side of something so familiar. This movie can be a little tough to track down here in the states, but if you can nab yourself a copy do so. I promise you’ll enjoy this film over and over again!

Fun Facts:

  • Japan’s first Best Foreign Film Academy Award Nomination in twenty two years
  • Awarded a staggering twelve Japanese Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor
  • Score composed by Grammy nominated artist Isao Tomita
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  • steve hubbell

    Top 10 Samurai films (sort of) listed by release date rather than arbitrary ranking

    1. Seven Samurai (Kurosawa 1954)
    2. Yojimbo (Kurosawa 1962) / Sanjuro (Kurosawa 1963)
    3. Hara Kiri (Kobayashi 1962)
    4. Three Outlaw Samurai (Gosha 1963)
    5. Revenge (Imai 1964)
    6. Sword of the Beast (Gosha 1965)
    7. The Sword of Doom (Okamoto 1966)
    8. Samurai Rebellion (Kobayashi 1967)
    9. Kill! (Okamoto 1968)
    10. Goyokin (Gosha 1969)

    Honorable Mentions….

    11. Thirteen Assassins (Kudo 1963)
    12. The Great Killing (Kudo 1964)
    13. Eleven Samurai (Kudo 1966)
    14. Incident at Blood Pass (Inagaki 1970)

    No remakes, no Hollywood imitations, no animation, just the cream of the crop of samurai films available in the US on officially released DVDs with English subtitles.

    • Going old school I see. Nice list!

    • Niels Koomans


  • Good Man

    Is this list a joke?