Top Ten Samurai Films



10. 47 Ronin

The tale of the 47 Ronin is the stuff of legends in Japan, so naturally Universal Studios thought it’s epic scope would make for one heck of an adventure picture. In this blockbuster adaptation Keanu Reeves plays Kai, a half-Japanese, half English, outsider in the service of his Samurai Lord Asano. When Asano is tricked into committing a grave offense and forced to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) Kai must team up with Asano’s second in command Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) to seek revenge for their fallen Lord. An action packed battle commences at the castle of the villain Lord Kira complete with a fire breathing Dragon at the climax of the film. With their Lord avenged the 47 Ronin can finally regain their lost honor at the hands of Lord Kira.

I’ll come right out and say it, 47 Ronin is no masterpiece. It’s big, goofy and kind of all over the place, but I can’t help but be entertained by it every time I see it. There’s something about this movie that keeps me coming back. The natural charisma of the two leads, Keanuv Reeves and Hiroyuki Sanada, keeps the movie afloat even when bogged down by silly plot conveniences and absurdities. If the works of Akira Kurosawa stand as a gourmet meal at a 5 star restaurant then this film is a Chicken Mcnugget, but you gotta admit, sometimes it’s nice to have some Mcnuggets.

Fun Facts:

  • Director Carl Rinsch’s directorial debut
  • Seventh overall cinematic adaptation of the 47 Ronin legend
  • Originally envisioned as an art-house samurai film before being altered into an action adventure film


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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?