This site is attempting to list, review and create some discussion about the best movies ever made about samurais, the warrior class that served, and helped shape the philosophies and culture of Japan for almost 1000 years.
Although five of my top ten movie were directed by the great Akira Kurosawa, there are also movies by the most of the greats of Japanese cinema including, Masaki Kobayashi, Kenji Mizoguchi, Hiroshi Inagaki, and Kon Ichikawa.
The samurai movies are particularly interesting because they show the shifting values of the Japanese culture between the pre World War 2 years and the post World War 2 years. Before the war the focus of the movies was on loyalty to one's lord and one's clan. The family was not a priority and was only important in helping the samurai do his duty.
In the post war years we start to see a re-interpretation of the samurai story. Now the samurai world view could be criticized. Movies like Samurai Rebellion and Harikiri could point out just unfair the system could be. Those in positions of authority could be portrayed as being villains, forcing their capricious will on good and loyal samurais and their families.
The samurai movies are really interesting because they go on to serve as metaphors for Japanes society in the post-samurai world. Should one's family or one's corporation be more important? What is the role of the individual in society? Are those in positions of authority always correct?
The samurai movies have a a great deal to say about these issues and will continue to have a lot to say in the future.