Director Filmography Rankings, Japanese, Movie Ranking

Ranking All Of Director Akira Kurosawa’s Movies

Akira Kurosawa Filmography Movie Ranking

“What are Akira Kurosawa’s Best Movies?” We looked at all of Kurosawa’s directed filmography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!

We took all of the movies directed by Akira Kurosawa and looked at his Rotten Tomato Critic, Rotten Tomato User, IMDB, and Letterboxd scores, ranking them against one another to see which movies came out on top. The movies are ranked in our list below based on which movies have the highest overall score between all 4 review sites in comparison with all of the other movies by the same director. The process is all very scientific with no flaws at all. Metacritic was not included in this list because of the lack of reviews and scores for older movies.

The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page.

Happy Viewing!



The Top Film’s Of Akira Kurosawa



31 Tie ) Horse

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 27
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 29
  • IMDB User Review Score: 30
  • Letterboxd User Score: 31

An old man talks about a horse and human relations to his grandchild through the growth of the Derby horse. Akira Kurosawa’s visual poem for the horse, the creature which he loved.

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31 Tie ) The Most Beautiful

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 27
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 29
  • IMDB User Review Score: 32
  • Letterboxd User Score: 29

The stories of several young women who work in a ‘precision optical instruments’ factory during the second World War. Despite illness, injury, and tremendous personal hardship, the women persevere in their tasks, devoted to their work and their country’s cause.

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30 ) Those Who Make Tomorrow

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 27
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 29
  • IMDB User Review Score: 29
  • Letterboxd User Score: 31

Two sisters, one a dancer and the other a script supervisor at a big movie studio, become embroiled in union activities when a strike is called in sympathy with striking railroad workers, one of whom boards with the sisters and their parents. The girls’ father argues with them about their strike, but finds his views changing when he himself loses his job.

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29 ) Sanshiro Sugata Part II

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 27
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 29
  • IMDB User Review Score: 30
  • Letterboxd User Score: 29

In this government-suggested sequel, Sugata again grows as a judo master, and demonstrates his (and by extension, all Japanese) superiority to the foreign warrior.

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28 ) Sanshiro Sugata

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 27
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 27
  • IMDB User Review Score: 27
  • Letterboxd User Score: 27

The story of Sanshiro, a strong stubborn youth, who travels into the city in order to learn Jujutsu. However, upon his arrival he discovers a new form of self-defence: Judo. The main character is based on Shiro Saigo, a legendary judoka.

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27 ) The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 16
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 28
  • IMDB User Review Score: 27
  • Letterboxd User Score: 28

Yoshitsune Minamoto, disguised with his retinue as monks, must make do with a comical porter as their guide through hostile territory en route to safety.

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26 ) Rhapsody in August

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 25
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 22
  • IMDB User Review Score: 23
  • Letterboxd User Score: 26

The story centers on an elderly hibakusha, who lost her husband in the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki, caring for her four grandchildren over the summer. She learns of a long-lost brother, Suzujiro, living in Hawaii who wants her to visit him before he dies.

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25 ) The Quiet Duel

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 27
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 26
  • IMDB User Review Score: 17
  • Letterboxd User Score: 20

Toshirō Mifune plays a young idealistic doctor who works at his father’s (Takashi Shimura) clinic in a small and seedy district. During the war, he contracts syphilis from the blood of a patient when he cuts himself during an operation. Treating himself in secret and tormented by his conscience, he rejects his heartbroken fiancée without explanation.

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24 ) Scandal

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 16
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 25
  • IMDB User Review Score: 23
  • Letterboxd User Score: 25

Akira Kurosawa directed this drama about a paparazzi photo that a tabloid magazine spins into a scandalous story and soon sparks a court case.

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23 ) The Idiot

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 20
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 22
  • IMDB User Review Score: 20
  • Letterboxd User Score: 20

Kameda, who has been in an asylum on Okinawa, travels to Hokkaido. There he becomes involved with two women, Taeko and Ayako. Taeko comes to love Kameda, but is loved in turn by Akama. When Akama realizes that he will never have Taeko, his thoughts turn to murder, and great tragedy ensues.

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22 ) Dodes’ka-den

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 25
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 19
  • IMDB User Review Score: 17
  • Letterboxd User Score: 20

By turns tragic and transcendent, Akira Kurosawa’s film follows the daily lives of a group of people barely scraping by in a slum on the outskirts of Tokyo. Yet as desperate as their circumstances are, each of them—the homeless father and son envisioning their dream house; the young woman abused by her uncle; the boy who imagines himself a trolley conductor—finds reasons to carry on. The unforgettable Dodes’ka-den was made at a tumultuous moment in Kurosawa’s life. And all of his hopes, fears, and artistic passion are on fervent display in this, his gloriously shot first color film.

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20 Tie ) One Wonderful Sunday

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 16
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 21
  • IMDB User Review Score: 23
  • Letterboxd User Score: 19

Yuzo and his fiancée Masako spend their Sunday afternoon together, trying to have a good time on just thirty-five yen. They manage to have many small adventures, especially because Masako’s optimism and belief in dreams is able to lift Yuzo from his realistic despair.

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20 Tie ) I Live in Fear

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 22
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 20
  • IMDB User Review Score: 20
  • Letterboxd User Score: 17

Kiichi Nakajima, an elderly foundry owner convinced that Japan will be affected by an imminent nuclear war, resolves to move his family to safety in Brazil. His family decides to have him ruled incompetent and Dr. Harada, a Domestic Court counselor, attempts to arbitrate.

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19 ) The Lower Depths

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 19
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 18
  • IMDB User Review Score: 17
  • Letterboxd User Score: 20

In a run-down Edo tenement, an elderly man (Rokubei) and his bitter wife (Osugi) rent out rooms and beds to the poor. The tenants are gamblers, prostitutes, petty thieves and drunk layabouts, all struggling to survive.

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18 ) Dreams

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 24
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 16
  • IMDB User Review Score: 15
  • Letterboxd User Score: 15

A collection of magical tales based upon the actual dreams of director Akira Kurosawa.

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17 ) No Regrets for Our Youth

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 1
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 22
  • IMDB User Review Score: 26
  • Letterboxd User Score: 20

Yukie, the well-bred daughter of a university professor, is shocked when her father is relieved of his post for his political teachings, and even more so when her lover, one of her father’s students, is arrested, then executed as a spy. She decides to leave Kyoto to live with the boy’s parents in their peasant village. But life still has many lessons for her…

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16 ) Madadayo

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 14
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 17
  • IMDB User Review Score: 20
  • Letterboxd User Score: 17

This film tells the story of professor Uehida Hyakken-sama (1889-1971), in Gotemba, around the forties. He was a university professor until an air raid, when he left to become a writer and has to live in a hut. His mood has hardly changed, not by the change nor by time.

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15 ) Stray Dog

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 12
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 14
  • IMDB User Review Score: 14
  • Letterboxd User Score: 14

In Akira Kurosawa’s gritty Stray Dog, a young police detective gets his pistol stolen on a crowded bus during the oppressive heat of a late 1940s Tokyo summer. The gun is later used in a robbery and murder making finding it even more important.

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14 ) Kagemusha

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 14
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 12
  • IMDB User Review Score: 13
  • Letterboxd User Score: 9

When a warlord dies, a peasant thief is called upon to impersonate him, in order to protect his clan from appearing weak and vulnerable. But he finds himself haunted by the warlord’s spirit as well as his own ambitions.

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13 ) Drunken Angel

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 1
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 15
  • IMDB User Review Score: 15
  • Letterboxd User Score: 15

In this powerful early noir from the great Akira Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune bursts onto the screen as a volatile, tubercular criminal who strikes up an unlikely relationship with Takashi Shimura’s jaded physician. Set in and around the muddy swamps and back alleys of postwar Tokyo, Drunken Angel is an evocative, moody snapshot of a treacherous time and place, featuring one of the director’s most memorably violent climaxes.

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12 ) Dersu Uzala

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 23
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 3
  • Letterboxd User Score: 9

A military explorer meets and befriends a Goldi man in Russia’s unmapped forests. A deep and abiding bond evolves between the two men, one civilized in the usual sense, the other at home in the glacial Siberian woods.

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11 ) Red Beard

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 21
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 4
  • IMDB User Review Score: 3
  • Letterboxd User Score: 8

Aspiring to an easy job as personal physician to a wealthy family, Noboru Yasumoto is disappointed when his first post after medical school takes him to a small country clinic under the gruff doctor Red Beard. Yasumoto rebels in numerous ways, but Red Beard proves a wise and patient teacher. He gradually introduces his student to the unglamorous side of the profession, ultimately assigning him to care for a prostitute rescued from a local brothel.

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10 ) Throne of Blood

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 9
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 9
  • IMDB User Review Score: 10
  • Letterboxd User Score: 5

Returning to their lord’s castle, samurai warriors Washizu and Miki are waylaid by a spirit who predicts their futures. When the first part of the spirit’s prophecy comes true, Washizu’s scheming wife, Asaji, presses him to speed up the rest of the spirit’s prophecy by murdering his lord and usurping his place. Director Akira Kurosawa’s resetting of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” in feudal Japan is one of his most acclaimed films.

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9 ) The Bad Sleep Well

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 1
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 12
  • IMDB User Review Score: 10
  • Letterboxd User Score: 9

A young executive hunts down his father’s killer. Continuing his legendary collaboration with actor Toshiro Mifune, Kurosawa combines elements of Hamlet and American film noir to chilling effect in exposing the corrupt boardrooms of postwar corporate Japan.

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8 ) The Hidden Fortress

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 1
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 9
  • IMDB User Review Score: 10
  • Letterboxd User Score: 9

Japanese peasants Matashichi and Tahei try and fail to make a profit from a tribal war. They find a man and woman whom they believe are simple tribe members hiding in a fortress. Although the peasants don’t know that Rokurota is a general and Yuki is a princess, the peasants agree to accompany the pair to safety in return for gold. Along the way, the general must prove his expertise in battle while also hiding his identity.

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7 ) Ran

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 11
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 4
  • IMDB User Review Score: 8
  • Letterboxd User Score: 4

Set in Japan in the 16th century (or so), an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them, or cause them to turn on each other…and him…

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6 ) Sanjuro

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 1
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 4
  • IMDB User Review Score: 8
  • Letterboxd User Score: 9

Toshiro Mifune swaggers and snarls to brilliant comic effect in Kurosawa’s tightly paced, beautifully composed “Sanjuro.” In this companion piece and sequel to “Yojimbo,” jaded samurai Sanjuro helps an idealistic group of young warriors weed out their clan’s evil influences, and in the process turns their image of a proper samurai on its ear.

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4 Tie ) Yojimbo

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 3
  • IMDB User Review Score: 3
  • Letterboxd User Score: 5

A nameless ronin, or samurai with no master, enters a small village in feudal Japan where two rival businessmen are struggling for control of the local gambling trade. Taking the name Sanjuro Kuwabatake, the ronin convinces both silk merchant Tazaemon and sake merchant Tokuemon to hire him as a personal bodyguard, then artfully sets in motion a full-scale gang war between the two ambitious and unscrupulous men.

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4 Tie ) High and Low

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 4
  • IMDB User Review Score: 2
  • Letterboxd User Score: 2

An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur’s son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

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3 ) Rashomon

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 1
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 9
  • IMDB User Review Score: 3
  • Letterboxd User Score: 7

Brimming with action while incisively examining the nature of truth, “Rashomon” is perhaps the finest film ever to investigate the philosophy of justice. Through an ingenious use of camera and flashbacks, Kurosawa reveals the complexities of human nature as four people recount different versions of the story of a man’s murder and the rape of his wife.

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2 ) Ikiru

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 1
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 1
  • IMDB User Review Score: 3
  • Letterboxd User Score: 2

Kanji Watanabe is a middle-aged man who has worked in the same monotonous bureaucratic position for decades. Learning he has cancer, he starts to look for the meaning of his life.

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1 ) Seven Samurai

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 1
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 1
  • IMDB User Review Score: 1
  • Letterboxd User Score: 1

A samurai answers a village’s request for protection after he falls on hard times. The town needs protection from bandits, so the samurai gathers six others to help him teach the people how to defend themselves, and the villagers provide the soldiers with food. A giant battle occurs when 40 bandits attack the village.

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Akira Kurosawa’s Best Movies



Akira Kurosawa Review Website Filmography Rankings

Film RT Critic RT User IMDB Letterboxd Overal Rank
Seven Samurai 1 1 1 1 1
Ikiru 1 1 3 2 2
Rashomon 1 9 3 7 3
Yojimbo 10 3 3 5 4
High and Low 13 4 2 2 4
Sanjuro 1 4 8 9 6
Ran 11 4 8 4 7
The Hidden Fortress 1 9 10 9 8
The Bad Sleep Well 1 12 10 9 9
Throne of Blood 9 9 10 5 10
Red Beard 21 4 3 8 11
Dersu Uzala 23 8 3 9 12
Drunken Angel 1 15 15 15 13
Kagemusha 14 12 13 9 14
Stray Dog 12 14 14 14 15
Madadayo 14 17 20 17 16
No Regrets for Our Youth 1 22 26 20 17
Dreams 24 16 15 15 18
The Lower Depths 19 18 17 20 19
One Wonderful Sunday 16 21 23 19 20
I Live in Fear 22 20 20 17 20
Dodes’ka-den 25 19 17 20 22
The Idiot 20 22 20 20 23
Scandal 16 25 23 25 24
The Quiet Duel 27 26 17 20 25
Rhapsody in August 25 22 23 26 26
The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail 16 28 27 28 27
Sanshiro Sugata 27 27 27 27 28
Sanshiro Sugata Part II 27 29 30 29 29
Those Who Make Tomorrow 27 29 29 31 30
Horse 27 29 30 31 31
The Most Beautiful 27 29 32 29 31

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