The films of Akira Kurosawa, one of the cinema's greatest auteurs, have had a profound effect on audiences around the world, and his acclaimed samurai epics - featuring international star Toshirô Mifune - have inspired filmmakers a diverse as George Lucas and Sergio Leone. This collection marks the first time all these seminal films have been available on High Definition blu-ray in the UK.
Seven Samurai (1954)
When the residents of a small Japanese village seek protection they hire seven unemployed "ronin' (masterless samurai). Paid only in handfuls of rice, the samurai remain distant from the villagers, knowing that their assignment may prove to be fatal. Unanimously hailed as one of cinema's greatest masterpieces, Seven Samurai has inspired countless films, including The Magnificent Seven.
Japan | 1954 | 190 minutes | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1
Throne of Blood (1957)
In this brilliant re-imagining of Shakespeare's Macbeth Toshirô Mifune plays a samurai fated to betray his friend and master in exchange for the prestige of nobility. Kurosawa's bloody tale is a triumph of economic style, and the climactic battle scene is full of remarkable, and brutal, imagery.
Japan | 1957 | 104 minutes | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1
The Hidden Fortress (1958)
In this classic collaboration between Kurosawa and star Mifune, a warrior and a princess try against all odds to return to their homeland with their fortune. Acknowledged by George Lucas as the inspiration for Star Wars, The Hidden Fortress combines an epic tale of struggle and honour with modern comic sensibilities to masterful effect.
Japan | 1958 | 138 minutes | Original aspect ratio 2.35:1 (16x9 enhanced)
A drifting samurai for hire plays both ends against the middle with two warring factions, surviving on his wits and his ability to outrun his own bad luck. Eventually the samurai seeks to eliminate both sides for his own gain and to define his own sense of honour. Yojimbo provided inspiration for A Fistful of Dollars.
Japan | 1961 | 106 minutes | Widecreen 4:3 format
After the success of Yojimbo, Kurosawa teamed up once again with Mifune one year later to make this comedy of manners. The film, which follows a man fighting corruption in local government, offers a twist on the classic Samurai tale by gently, but perfectly parodying the conventions of the Japanese period action movie tradition.
Japan | 1962 | 95 minutes | Original aspect ratio 2.35:1 (16x9 enhanced)
Cast and Crew:
Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Starring Toshiro Mifune
Awards and Reviews:
‘His influence on filmmakers throughout the entire world is so profound as to be almost incomparable.’ Martin Scorsese
‘One of the great masterpieces’ Empire ‘Pure cinematic dynamite’ Guardian ‘
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I wanna start by saying that Zavvi is king. I have never had a problem witha product that I have ordered from Zavvi. As for this Samurai collection, bravo, Bravo. Being the inspiration for a whole generation of filmmakers, Akira Kurosawa is possibly the greatest director who ever lived.
Definitely the best way to see these movies at home. Nice, grainy transfers with minimal damage and minimal digital jiggery pokery.
When it comes to action filmmaking Kurosawa is a masterly director. Both influenced by the American western and in his turn influencing it, and other genres, that involve conflict, struggle and spectacular set pieces. It's all about technique and Kurosawa's editing leaves you breathless in admiration. All action filmmakers should be made to watch the last twenty minutes of The Seven Samurai and learn how to brilliantly pace a battle scene. Those fights in the mud and rain have such poetry and power. The Hidden Fortess has compositions to die for. The framing of this comic, knockabout adventure is remarkable. As for Throne of Blood - has their ever been a better adaptation of Macbth than this? Sanjuro and Yojimbo remind you of the Italian spaghetti westerns and are so enhanced by the presence of the great actor Toshiro Mifune. This BFI box set has been digitally restored in Blu-Ray. And it comes with many excellent extras. A set to treasure.