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The Best Ninja Movies of All Time 

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Updated October 1, 2019 7.6k votes 3.1k voters 329.2k views 25 items

List Rules Films about or featuring ninja characters

A list of the best Ninja Movies. In the United States, Ninja movies surged in popularity in the early 1980's and have been with us ever since. We believe we've thought of them all, but if you think we missed one feel free to add it to the list yourself. Ninjas were the covert agents of feudal Japan. They were assassins and spies. Ninjas date back to at least the 1300's, although the word "shinobi" (another word for ninja) did not begin to appear until the 1400's. Ninjutsu is an even later word. Since espionage was considered dishonorable in Japanese cultures, ninjas were shrouded in mystery to help keep their employers identities a secret. Ninjas have been used in popular culture for centuries, appearing in countless folktales. Today, Ninja Films continue that tradition.
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1
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Naomie Harris, Rain, Lee Joon

Released: 2009

Directed by: James McTeigue

Year of Release: 2009 Ninja Assassin is a 2009 American-German martial arts film directed by James McTeigue. The story was written by Matthew Sand, with a screenplay by J. Michael Straczynski. The film stars South ...more
2
Mumon:the Land of Stealt... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Ninja Movies of All Time
Karashi_LA added Mumon:the Land of Stealth (shinobi No Kuni)
3
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Professor Tanaka, Sho Kosugi, Virgil Frye

Released: 1983

Directed by: Sam Firstenberg

Year of Release: 1983 Revenge of the Ninja is an action film starring Sho Kosugi as a ninja. It is considered part of a ninja trilogy, starting with Enter the Ninja and ending with Ninja III: The Domination, but the ...more

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#460 of 741 The Greatest Action Movies of All Time #160 of 413 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies #22 of 42 The Best Kung Fu Movies of the 1980s

4
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Scott Adkins, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Garrick Hagon

Released: 2009

Directed by: Isaac Florentine

Year of Release: 2009 A westerner named Casey, studying Ninjutsu in Japan, is asked by the Sensei to return to New York to protect the legendary Yoroi Bitsu, an armored chest that contains the weapons of the last ...more

More Ninja 

#95 of 104 The Best Assassin Movies #163 of 413 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies

5
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Michael Dudikoff, Tadashi Yamashita, Steve James

Released: 1985

Directed by: Sam Firstenberg

Year of Release: 1985 American Ninja is a 1985 ninja action film produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus's Cannon Films. Directed by Sam Firstenberg, who specialized in this genre in the 1980s, the film stars ...more

More American Ninja 

#30 of 39 The Best American Movies #38 of 52 The Best Movies Released Labor Day Weekend #134 of 413 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies

6
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Franco Nero, Christopher George, Sho Kosugi

Released: 1981

Directed by: Menahem Golan

Year of Release: 1981 Enter the Ninja is a 1981 martial arts film directed by Menahem Golan and starring Franco Nero, Susan George and Sho Kosugi. Production was started in the Philippines with Emmett Alston ...more

More Enter the Ninja 

#535 of 741 The Greatest Action Movies of All Time #199 of 413 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies #16 of 42 The Best Kung Fu Movies of the 1980s

7
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James Hong, Sho Kosugi, Lucinda Dickey

Released: 1984

Directed by: Sam Firstenberg

Year of Release: 1984 Ninja III: The Domination is a 1984 film directed by Sam Firstenberg, and stars Sho Kosugi as Yamada, Lucinda Dickey as Christie, Jordan Bennett as Officer Billy Secord, and James Hong as ...more

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#570 of 741 The Greatest Action Movies of All Time #220 of 413 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies #37 of 42 The Best Kung Fu Movies of the 1980s

8
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Bridgette Wilson, Frank Welker, Talisa Soto

Released: 1995

Directed by: Paul W. S. Anderson

Year of Release: 1995 Mortal Kombat is a 1995 American fantasy martial arts film written by Kevin Droney, directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, and starring Robin Shou, Linden Ashby, Bridgette Wilson, Christopher Lambert, ...more

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9
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Chuck Norris, Lee Van Cleef, Jack Carter

Released: 1980

Directed by: Eric Karson

Year of Release: 1980 The Octagon is a 1980 action film starring Chuck Norris, Karen Carlson and Lee Van Cleef. It was directed by Eric Karson and written by Paul Aaron and Leigh Chapman. It was filmed in Los ...more
10
Ninja II is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Ninja Movies of All Time
mhunter added Scott Adkins

Released: 2013

Directed by: Isaac Florentine

Ninja II is a 2013 film directed by Isaac Florentine.
11
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merebethplumo added Yukie Nakama, Erika Sawajiri, Laura Bailey

Released: 2005

Directed by: Ten Shimoyama

A clash between two ninja clans, Iga and Kouga
Date Released: 
September 15, 2005

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#152 of 200 The Best R-Rated Martial Arts Movies #80 of 121 The Best R-Rated Japanese Movies

12
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Michael Dudikoff, Gary Conway, Steve James

Released: 1987

Directed by: Sam Firstenberg

Year of Release: 1987 American Ninja 2: The Confrontation is a 1987 action/adventure sequel starring Michael Dudikoff, Steve James, Jeff Weston, Gary Conway, Michelle Botes and Larry Poindexter. It was directed by ...more

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#203 of 413 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies #27 of 42 The Best Kung Fu Movies of the 1980s

13
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MohamedIbrahim added Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, Danny Huston

Released: 2010

Directed by: Lee Sngmoo

The Warrior's Way is a 2010 New Zealand-South Korean fantasy action film written and directed by Sngmoo Lee and starring Jang Dong-gun, Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, Danny Huston and Tony Cox. ...more
14
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Christian Shewcraft added Sho Kosugi, Kane Kosugi, Parley Baer

Released: 1985

Directed by: Gordon Hessler

Pray For Death is a 1985 American martial arts action film starring Sho Kosugi.
15
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JoePerrillo added Erika Toda, Masatō Ibu, Ryoko Hirosue

Released: 2009

Directed by: Kazuaki Kiriya

best ninja movie out there. only competition is ninja assassins. if u havent seen goemon. u shud do that rite now... Goemon is a 2009 Japanese historical fantasy film written and directed by Kazuaki Kiriya. It is loosely based on the story of Ishikawa Goemon, a legendary outlaw hero who stole valuables from ...more
16
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Christian Shewcraft added Shaolin vs. Ninja Alexander Lou, Alan Chui Chung San, Chi Ping Chang

Released: 1983

Directed by: Robert Tai, Mai Chen Jsai

Shaolin vs. Ninja is a 1983 action film written by Chien-chi Chang and directed by Mai Chen Jsai and Robert Tai.
17
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PeterSacristan added Naoko Ken

Released: 2012

Directed by: Toshiyuki Morioka

Shinobido is a 2012 Japanese jidaigeki film directed by Toshiyuki Morioka.
18
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Johnny Cash, Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio del Toro

Released: 2003

Directed by: William Friedkin

Year of Release: 1995 The Hunted is a 2003 American action thriller film directed by William Friedkin and starring Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio del Toro. Brian Tyler composed the film's score.
19
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Tim Kingsbury added Chia Hui Liu, Yasuaki Kurata, Lung Chan

Released: 1978

Directed by: Lau Kar-leung

Heroes of the East, also known as Challenge Of The Ninja, Shaolin Vs. Ninja and Shaolin Challenges Ninja is a martial arts film produced in 1978. It starred Gordon Liu and was directed by Lau ...more
20
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Sean Connery, Donald Pleasence, Lois Maxwell

Released: 1967

Directed by: Lewis Gilbert

Year of Release: 1967 You Only Live Twice is the fifth spy film in the James Bond series, and the fifth to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film's screenplay was written by Roald Dahl, and ...more

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21
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Jaime Pressly, Kevin Nash, Sarah Carter

Released: 2006

Directed by: Corey Yuen

Year of Release: 2005 This film is a 2006 ensemble martial arts film loosely based on the Tecmo/Team Ninja fighting game series. It was directed by Corey Yuen and written by J. F. Lawton, Adam Gross, and Seth Gross. ...more

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22
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drunken.brother added Yumiko Shaku, Yōko Maki, Hideaki Ito

Released: 2001

Directed by: Shinsuke Sato

The Princess Blade is a 2001 Japanese action film directed by Shinsuke Sato. It is a reimagining of the manga Lady Snowblood by Kazuo Koike and Kazuo Kamimura.

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#124 of 200 The Best R-Rated Martial Arts Movies #99 of 113 The Best Japanese Sci-Fi Movies #30 of 121 The Best R-Rated Japanese Movies

23
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Mrhighroller added Anneline Kriel, Bill Flynn, Ken Gampu

Released: 1981

Directed by: Ivan Hall

Kill and Kill Again is a 1981 South African/American action film notable for being the first live-action film to use the visual effects known as bullet-time. It is a sequel to Kill or Be Killed. ...more
24
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Jennifer Garner, Jason Isaacs, Terence Stamp

Released: 2005

Directed by: Rob Bowman

Year of Release: 2005 Elektra is a 2005 Canadian-American superhero film directed by Rob Bowman. It is a spin-off from the 2003 film Daredevil, starring the Marvel Comics character Elektra Natchios. The story follows ...more

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25
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Don Smith added James Ryan, Norman Combes

Released: 1980

Directed by: Ivan Hall

Kill or Be Killed is a martial arts movie that was made in South Africa in 1977 and was titled Karate Olympiad, but released in 1980 to capitalize on the popularity of American martial arts