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The Best Samurai Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated May 14, 2020 1.4k votes 343 voters 24.8k views 26 items

List Rules Only movies featuring Samurai.

A list of the best samurai movies ever made, ranked by movie fans with film trailers when available. This samurai movie list is ordered by popularity, so only the greatest movies about samurai are at the top of the list. If there are any great movies about samurai you believe we missed, please feel free to add them to the list yourself. The films on this list are the most famous samurai movies of all time, so use it to find some movies that you haven't seen already. Click on these samurai movie titles for more information about the films.

List items include Ran, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and more.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best samurai movies?" and "What is the greatest samurai movie of all time?"

Various bits of information are included with these popular samurai movies, such as who directed them, when they were released and who starred in the films. Whether you're watching these samurai movies on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, these good samurai movies can be enjoyed no matter what.

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1
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Benjamin Dunn added Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Eijirō Tōno

Released: 1954

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

Seven Samurai is a 1954 Japanese Jidaigeki adventure film co-written, edited, and directed by Akira Kurosawa. It follows the story of a village of farmers that hire seven ronin to combat bandits ...more

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#65 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #660 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #95 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

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Benjamin Dunn added Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Tatsuya Nakadai

Released: 1961

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

Yojimbo is a 1961 jidaigeki film directed by Akira Kurosawa. It tells the story of a rōnin, portrayed by Toshiro Mifune, who arrives in a small town where competing lords vie for supremacy. The ...more

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#91 of 92 The Most Rewatchable Action Movies #66 of 334 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History #42 of 47 The Best Sword and Sandal Films Ever Made

3
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Benjamin Dunn added Tsuyoshi Ihara, Kōji Yakusho, Goro Inagaki

Released: 2010

Directed by: Takashi Miike

13 Assassins is a 2010 Japanese samurai film directed by Takashi Miike and is a remake of the1963 Eiichi Kudo film. Toward the end of the Edo period, A group of thirteen assassins—comprising ...more

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#72 of 105 The Greatest Movie Remakes of All Time #54 of 102 The Best Assassin Movies #45 of 100 The Best Movies On Shudder

4
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Benjamin Dunn added Tatsuya Nakadai, Tetsurō Tamba, Akiji Kobayashi

Released: 1962

Directed by: Masaki Kobayashi

Harakiri is a Japanese jidaigeki film directed by Masaki Kobayashi. The story takes place between 1619 and 1630 during the Edo period and the reign of the Tokugawa shogunate. It tells the story ...more

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#64 of 334 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History #248 of 333 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies

5
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Milo added Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Tatsuya Nakadai

Released: 1962

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

Sanjuro is a 1962 black-and-white Japanese samurai film directed by Akira Kurosawa and starring Toshiro Mifune. It is a sequel to Kurosawa's 1961 Yojimbo. Originally an adaptation of the Shūgorō ...more
6
The 47 Ronin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Samurai Movies
Milo added Daisuke Katō, Mieko Takamine, Kan'emon Nakamura

Released: 1941

Directed by: Kenji Mizoguchi

The 47 Ronin is a 1941/1942 black-and-white two-part jidaigeki Japanese film directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, adapted from a play by Seika Mayama. The film chronicles the end of the lives of the ...more
7
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Benjamin Dunn added Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Machiko Kyō

Released: 1950

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

Rashomon is a 1950 Japanese period drama film directed by Akira Kurosawa, working in close collaboration with cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa. It stars Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyō, Masayuki Mori ...more

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#1,277 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #417 of 557 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time #53 of 232 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made

8
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Benjamin Dunn added Tatsuya Nakadai, Susumu Terajima, Jinpachi Nezu

Released: 1985

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

Ran is a 1985 Japanese-French jidaigeki epic film directed and co-written by Akira Kurosawa. The film stars Tatsuya Nakadai as Hidetora Ichimonji, an aging Sengoku-era warlord who decides to ...more

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#155 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #277 of 675 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Starslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Benjamin Dunn added Tatsuya Nakadai, Kenichi Hagiwara, Kaori Momoi

Released: 1980

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa, Ishirō Honda

Kagemusha is a 1980 film by Akira Kurosawa. In Japanese, kagemusha is a term used to denote a political decoy. It is set in the Sengoku period of Japanese history and tells the story of who is ...more
10
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Benjamin Dunn added Tom Cruise, Billy Connolly, Timothy Spall

Released: 2003

Directed by: Edward Zwick

The Last Samurai is a 2003 American epic film directed and co-produced by Edward Zwick, who also co-wrote the screenplay with John Logan. The film stars Tom Cruise, who also co-produced, as well ...more

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#63 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #195 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #361 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

11
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Milo added Beat Kitano, Tadanobu Asano, Akira Emoto

Released: 2003

Directed by: Beat Kitano

Zatoichi is a 2003 Japanese samurai drama and action film, directed, written, co-edited, and starring Takeshi Kitano in the eleventh film he has directed. Kitano plays the role of the blind ...more

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#69 of 92 The Best Movies Directed by the Star #207 of 717 The Greatest Action Movies of All Time #9 of 31 The Best Yakuza Movies

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DavidGreene added Hiroyuki Sanada, Rie Miyazawa, Tetsurō Tamba

Released: 2002

Directed by: Yoji Yamada

The Twilight Samurai or Tasogare Seibei is a 2002 Japanese film directed by Yoji Yamada. Set in mid-19th century Japan, a few years before the Meiji Restoration, it follows the life of Seibei ...more

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#630 of 675 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #20 of 37 The Best Japanese Action Movies of All Time

13
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Big MO added Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Makatari Fujiwara

Released: 1958

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

The Hidden Fortress is a 1958 jidaigeki film directed by Akira Kurosawa and starring Toshiro Mifune as General Makabe Rokurōta and Misa Uehara as Princess Yuki.
14
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Milo added Toshiro Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yūzō Kayama

Released: 1966

Directed by: Kihachi Okamoto

The Sword of Doom, is a jidaigeki film released in 1966. It was directed by Kihachi Okamoto and stars Tatsuya Nakadai. It was based on the serial novel of the same title by Kaizan Nakazato.

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#283 of 333 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies #41 of 46 The Best '60s Action Movies

15
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Big MO added Tetsurō Tamba, Mikijiro Hira, Makatari Fujiwara

Released: 1964

Directed by: Hideo Gosha

Three Outlaw Samurai is a 1964 Japanese chambara film by director Hideo Gosha. The film is an origin-story offshoot of the original Japanese television series of the same name. The film involves ...more
16
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Milo added Akiji Kobayashi, Tomisaburo Wakayama, Shin Kishida

Released: 1972

Directed by: Kenji Misumi

Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx is the second in a series of six Japanese martial arts films based on the long-running Lone Wolf and Cub manga series about Ogami Ittō, a wandering ...more

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#11 of 13 13 Live Action Anime Movies That Are Actually Worth Watching #151 of 333 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies

17
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Big MO added Shintaro Katsu

Released: 1963

Directed by: Tokuzo Tanaka

Zatoichi: Vol. 3: New Tale of Zatoichi is a 1963 action and drama film directed by Tokuzô Tanaka.
18
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Milo added Shintaro Katsu, Jun Hamamura, Tomisaburo Wakayama

Released: 1972

Directed by: Kenji Misumi

Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades, is the third in a series of six Japanese martial arts films based on the long-running Lone Wolf and Cub manga series about Ogami Ittō, a wandering assassin ...more
19
The Blind Swordman: Zato... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Samurai Movies
20
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Milo added Asao Koike, Tomisaburo Wakayama, Shin Kishida

Released: 1972

Directed by: Buichi Saito

Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril, is the fourth in a series of six Japanese martial arts films based on the long-running Lone Wolf and Cub manga series about Ogami Ittō, a wandering ...more
21
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Milo added Taketoshi Naitô, Tomisaburo Wakayama, Yoshi Katō

Released: 1972

Directed by: Kenji Misumi

Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance is a 1972 film directed by Kenji Misumi, the first in a series of six. The film tells the story of Ogami Ittō, a wandering assassin for hire who is ...more

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#499 of 554 The Best '70s Movies #99 of 333 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies

22
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Milo added Taketoshi Naitô, Hideji Otaki, Tomisaburo Wakayama

Released: 1973

Directed by: Kenji Misumi

Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Land of Demons is the fifth in a series of six Japanese martial arts films based on the long-running Lone Wolf and Cub manga series about Ogami Ittō, a wandering ...more
23
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Forest Whitaker, Henry Silva, Victor Argo

Released: 1999

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is a 1999 American action film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. Forest Whitaker stars as the title character, the mysterious "Ghost Dog" who ...more

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#85 of 108 The Best Mafia Films #38 of 102 The Best Assassin Movies #12 of 37 Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters

24
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Benjamin Wright added Takashi Shimura, Yasuo Hisamatsu, Susumu Fujita

Released: 1952

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail is a 1945 Japanese period drama film, written and directed by Akira Kurosawa. It is based on the kabuki play Kanjinchō, which is in turn based on the Noh ...more
25
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Alain Delon, François Périer, Cathy Rosier

Released: 1967

Directed by: Jean-Pierre Melville

Le Samouraï is a 1967 French-Italian crime film directed by French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville, starring Alain Delon as Jef Costello.

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#64 of 102 The Best Assassin Movies #5 of 100 The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces #34 of 334 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History