Lists are great. They inspire discussion, create arguments, and tend to spiral off into fun new lists. When you do a list about the “BEST” of anything it goes from being fun to becoming a hotbed for arguments. There’s no such thing as a definitive list but I’ve decided to pull from my rather extensive life of film watching and put it to good use.
This is not the “film critic’s top 100” list. There’s no guarantee Citizen Kane or The Bicycle Thief will be in the top echelon or even on the list. This is the 100 movies I would put my name on as my top 100. If I died tomorrow this would represent the 100 films I find most vital, special, or ones that bonded to whatever it is that makes me me. I’m not including documentaries, though that might make for a nice supplemental list.
The first 80 will be in no particular order. The last 20 will be in very particular order. One a day, you have my word.
#37 – The Seven Samurai
Why is it here:
Note: Remember that the first 80 are in no particular order.
Akira Kurosawa has four films worthy of this list, and one in particular is still in the running. There are seventeen entries left in my “lower eighty” section and I’ve narrowed it down to twenty-five contenders. We’ll see. This one is a no-brainer, Kurosawa’s legacy film and the one which has caused the most people worldwide to stand at attention and recognize Japan’s legendary filmmaker. Though it was remake to great success as The Magnificent Seven, The Seven Samurai may not be Kurosawa’s most influential film but it’s his most iconic. It’s also a perfect showcase for his ability to mine the impressive talents of Toshiro Mifune, an actor who is top ten all time worldwide in terms of skill and sheer movie star charisma. A fantastic film about people against impossible odds and the power of will. If you haven’t seen it, rectify before your next meal.
Moments to savor:
The introductions of the samurai. Watching Mifune own every scene he’s in. The battles, still effective 60 years later. The lighter moments between warfare. The creation of traps and defenses.
Pretty good but not as much as I’d remembered. When the Criterion DVD first hit I bought it and expected it to be a part of the rotation. It’s great but not the kind of thing you spin often.
Though only tangentially similar, Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins is a movie everyone must see. It’s so damn good.