Seven Samurai (1954) – Akira Kurosawa

The next film recommendation from the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book is yet another iconic film from Kurosawa’s oeuvre. In a catalogue of films that are all exceptional, it’s tough to pick a favourite, but this may very will be mine.

I love the American remake from 1960, The Magnificent Seven,  it’s one of my all time favourite westerns, and as brilliant and enjoyable as it is, Kurosawa’s original work is something that is completely unparalleled.

Running an epic three and a half hours, Kurosawa fills his tale with character arcs, action sequences, drama and a healthy dose of humour. The tale is a familiar one, and has been revisited countless times since; a group of villagers who are having their harvests stolen by bandits decide to hire samurai to help them.

Among the samurais who take the job are the recognisable talents, and much loved actors Takashi Shimura and Toshiro Mifune.

I love the way this film is put together, there are wonderful moments as we get to spend times with each of the townsfolk, as well as the eventual recruitment of each of the samurai, their testing of one another, their interaction with the villagers, as well as their emotional connection to them, as well as their confrontation with the bandits.


This remains a brilliant film, a stunning watch, that flies by until you don’t realise it’s over.

Kurosawa crafts a film that has lasted and endured, it entertains, and is cinema at its finest. The moments, both big and small, are given the time they need to expound on the film, and the characters, and definitely affect the audience.

As much as I love The Magnificent Seven, Seven Samurai is a superior film. In part it is because Kurosawa lets the film run the length it needs to in order to share its tale, and the actors benefit from it, as much as the story does.

There are so many great moments, iconic scenes, and bravura performances throughout the film and it is a simply stunning watch. From the location work, to the costume design, performances, production design, (it was nominated for Oscars for both set and costume, but didn’t win) it’s an amazing watch.

One of the things I hate to admit is that this is only the second time I’ve seen the film, I should have seen it so many more times this, I loved it. And no matter the other amazing films Kurosawa made, this is and will remain my undeniable favourite.

This is a film that everybody should see. They should settle in, get comfy, and just revel in the story, and enjoy it all.


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