Director Filmography Rankings, Movie Ranking

Ranking All Of Director Masaki Kobayashi’s Movies

Masaki Kobayashi Filmography Ranking Movies

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

We took all of the movies directed by Masaki Kobayashi 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.

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

Happy Viewing!



The Top Film’s Of Masaki Kobayashi



22 ) Youth of the Son

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 22
  • Letterboxd User Score: 16

The story of a father and two teenaged sons, and the rivalry between the two siblings as they begin to discover the attraction of girls.

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21 ) Three Loves

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 20
  • Letterboxd User Score: 17

In a mountain village, Heita, a translator’s son, is a gifted boy but is shunned by the villagers. He can imitate birds’ cry and befriends another boy who works in a brewery. Heita also finds solace in the village pastor Yasugi and his teacher Michiko, but they too have problems of their own.

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20 ) Fountainhead

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 21
  • Letterboxd User Score: 13

A botanist woos the secretary of an industrialist whose company threatens the local water supply.

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18 ) Somewhere Under the Broad Sky

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 17
  • Letterboxd User Score: 13

This drama of middle-class life in postwar Japan tells the story lower-middle-class workers in the city of Kawasaki, and their troubles and travails.

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18 ) The Fossil

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 13
  • Letterboxd User Score: 17

This drama is adapted from a Japanese television mini-series. In the story, an industrialist learns of a medical condition which will greatly shorten his life. He is on a trip to Europe at the time, and a glimpse of a Japanese woman in that setting causes him to fantasize about her as the personification of his impending death. As his dialogue with his imagined mortality continues, he actually meets the living woman who is the template for his fantasy, and together they tour rural churches. Gradually he comes to some kind of peace about the diagnosis. When he returns to Japan, he is met with a series of challenges which profoundly test the lessons he has learned

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17 ) Hymn to a Tired Man

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 11
  • Letterboxd User Score: 17

Zensaku, middle-aged and deaf in one ear, learns that his son’s fallen for the daughter of a war officer responsible for the maiming.

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15 ) Beautiful Days

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 17
  • Letterboxd User Score: 10

Masaki Kobayashi directs this romantic drama concerning a family of florists.

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15 ) I Will Buy You

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 17
  • Letterboxd User Score: 10

A talent scout moves sharply, dead-set on signing a promising athlete to the team the Toyko Flowers.

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13 ) Sincere Heart

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 13
  • Letterboxd User Score: 13

A young student falls into a hopeless romantic attraction to an invalid girl whom he can only see from afar.

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13 ) Family Without a Dinner Table

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 9
  • Letterboxd User Score: 17

This gripping docudrama is a fictionalized account of what could happen to a Japanese family when one of their sons shames them in front of the entire nation. Director Masaki Kobayashi has used real events so the dramatic turns in the film are based on fact — a 1970s shootout in the mountains between a band of Japanese terrorists and the police in which many men on both sides died. The Kidoji family bids good-bye to their son Otohiko (Kiichi Nakai) as he heads off for the mountains, keeping his objective a secret from them. After the shootout, other families publicly apologized for their sons’ behavior out of a deep-seated sense of responsibility. Not so Otohiko’s father — he goes against cultural norms and says his son is an adult and is solely responsible for his own actions. The agony caused by society’s stigma, the son’s actions, and the father’s lonely stance drive Otohiko’s mother to suicide.

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11 ) The Thick-Walled Room

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 16
  • Letterboxd User Score: 8

A group of rank-and-file Japanese soldiers are jailed for crimes against humanity, themselves victims of a nation refusing to bear its burdens as a whole.

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11 ) Tokyo Trial

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 7
  • Letterboxd User Score: 17

One of the major documentaries on a specific chapter in modern Japanese history, this look at the trial of Japanese militarists accused of war crimes is excellently handled by director Masaki Kobayashi. Kobayashi and his assistants had to plough through 30,000 reels from the proceedings of the International Military Tribunal which took place between May, 1946 and November, 1948. It took two days to read the charges against the 100 alleged war criminals in the docket (only 28 top officials are actually in the courtroom, which was limited in space), and the final judgment took one week to read.

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10 ) Glowing Autumn

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 6
  • Letterboxd User Score: 17

A very beautiful Japanese woman is in love with Persian carpets. She is being chased by lecherous Saburi Shin and a handsome young photographer. Lecherous Saburi Shin knows what she wants, and is able to produce it for her.

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9 ) Inn of Evil

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 11
  • Letterboxd User Score: 10

The story takes place in feudal Japan, when any commerce with the rest of the world was strictly prohibited. An idealist suddenly appears in an isolated inn (the one that the title refers to), the head-quarters of a group of smugglers, with stolen money intended to ransom his loved one who is forced to work in a brothel.

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8 ) Black River

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 7
  • IMDB User Review Score: 13
  • Letterboxd User Score: 8

The story follows a university student who moves into an apartment building and becomes involved with a waitress. The landlord then attempts to evict the tenants and sell the building through illicit means.

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7 ) The Inheritance

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 10
  • Letterboxd User Score: 7

On his deathbed, a wealthy businessman announces that his fortune is to be split equally among his three illegitimate children, whose whereabouts are unknown to his family and colleagues. A bevy of lawyers and associates scheme to procure the money for themselves, enlisting the aid of impostors and blackmail.

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6 ) Kwaidan

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 4
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 6
  • IMDB User Review Score: 7
  • Letterboxd User Score: 6

Taking its title from an archaic Japanese word meaning “ghost story,” this anthology adapts four folk tales. A penniless samurai marries for money with tragic results. A man stranded in a blizzard is saved by Yuki the Snow Maiden, but his rescue comes at a cost. Blind musician Hoichi is forced to perform for an audience of ghosts. An author relates the story of a samurai who sees another warrior’s reflection in his teacup.

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5 ) Samurai Rebellion

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 1
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 5
  • IMDB User Review Score: 5
  • Letterboxd User Score: 5

The mother of a feudal lord’s only heir is kidnapped away from her husband by the lord. The husband and his samurai father must decide whether to accept the unjust decision, or risk death to get her back.

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4 ) The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity

Review Website Ranks:

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

As a conscript in war-time Japan’s military, a pacifist struggles to maintain his determination to keep his ideals.

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3 ) The Human Condition I: No Greater Love

Review Website Ranks:

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

A Japanese pacifist and socialist, unable to face the dire consequences of conscientious objection, is transformed by his attempts to compromise with the demands of war-time Japan.

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2 ) The Human Condition III: A Soldier’s Prayer

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 1
  • IMDB User Review Score: 1
  • Letterboxd User Score: 2

His ideals challenged by life as a conscript in war-time Japan’s military, a pacifist faces ever greater tests in his fight for survival.

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1 ) Harakiri

Review Website Ranks:

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

Peace in 17th-century Japan causes the Shogunate’s breakup of warrior clans, throwing thousands of samurai out of work and into poverty. An honorable end to such fate under the samurai code is ritual suicide, or hara-kiri.

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Masaki Kobayashi’s Best Movies



Masaki Kobayashi Review Website Filmography Rankings

Film RT Critic RT User IMDB Letterboxd Overal Rank
Harakiri 1 2 2 1 1
The Human Condition III: A Soldier’s Prayer 5 1 1 2 2
The Human Condition I: No Greater Love 3 3 3 3 3
The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity 5 3 3 3 4
Samurai Rebellion 1 5 5 5 5
Kwaidan 4 6 7 6 6
The Inheritance 5 8 10 7 7
Black River 5 7 13 8 8
Inn of Evil 5 8 11 10 9
Glowing Autumn 5 8 6 17 10
The Thick-Walled Room 5 8 16 8 11
Tokyo Trial 5 8 7 17 11
Sincere Heart 5 8 13 13 13
Family Without a Dinner Table 5 8 9 17 13
Beautiful Days 5 8 17 10 15
I Will Buy You 5 8 17 10 15
Hymn to a Tired Man 5 8 11 17 17
Somewhere Under the Broad Sky 5 8 17 13 18
The Fossil 5 8 13 17 18
Fountainhead 5 8 21 13 20
Three Loves 5 8 20 17 21
Youth of the Son 5 8 22 16 22

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