Bunshun Bunko's Top 150 Japanese Films

by mymovieslists | created - 16 Jan 2012 | updated - 16 Jan 2012 | Public

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Missing from IMDb: 或日の干潟 (1940)

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1. Seven Samurai (1954)

Not Rated | 207 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

98 Metascore

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Yukiko Shimazaki

Votes: 299,656 | Gross: $0.27M

2. Tokyo Story (1953)

Not Rated | 136 min | Drama

An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city, but receive little attention.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama, Sô Yamamura, Setsuko Hara

Votes: 47,683

3. Ikiru (1952)

Not Rated | 143 min | Drama

A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Shin'ichi Himori, Haruo Tanaka

Votes: 62,573 | Gross: $0.06M

4. Rashomon (1950)

Not Rated | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

98 Metascore

The rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband are recalled from the perspectives of a bandit, the bride, the samurai's ghost and a woodcutter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 143,339 | Gross: $0.10M

5. Floating Clouds (1955)

123 min | Drama, Romance

A tragic social drama set in post war Japan and concerns a lonely woman trying to find purpose and stability in a devastated Tokyo.

Director: Mikio Naruse | Stars: Hideko Takamine, Masayuki Mori, Mariko Okada, Isao Yamagata

Votes: 2,181

6. A Fugitive from the Past (1965)

183 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Three thieves escape from a heist, one of them killing the other two. He is sheltered by a prostitute and sought after by the police, but only after ten years his true motivation unravels.

Director: Tomu Uchida | Stars: Rentarô Mikuni, Sachiko Hidari, Kôji Mitsui, Yoshi Katô

Votes: 728

7. Twenty-Four Eyes (1954)

Not Rated | 156 min | Drama

Schoolteacher Hisako Oishi forms an emotional bond with her pupils and teaches them various virtues, while at the same time worrying about their future.

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita | Stars: Hideki Gôko, Itsuo Watanabe, Makoto Miyagawa, Takeo Terashita

Votes: 2,093

8. Muhomatsu no issho (1943)

80 min | Action, Adventure

Matsugoro is a poor rickshaw driver whose animated spirit and optimistic demeanor make him a favorite of the town. Matsu helps an injured boy, Toshio, and is hired by the boy's parents.

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki | Stars: Tsumasaburô Bandô, Ryûnosuke Tsukigata, Keiko Sonoi, Kyôji Sugi

Votes: 61

9. Bakumatsu taiyôden (1957)

Not Rated | 110 min | Comedy, Drama

In the last days of the Shogunate, a resourceful grifter seeks to outwit competing prostitutes, rebellious samurai and other inhabitants of a brothel in order to survive the hardened times.

Director: Yûzô Kawashima | Stars: Furankî Sakai, Sachiko Hidari, Yôko Minamida, Yûjirô Ishihara

Votes: 725

10. Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937)

86 min | Drama

The lives of two slum neighbors, one of a happy-go-lucky gambler and the other of a poor ronin, converge when the two get involved with the affairs of a powerful samurai official and his gangsters.

Director: Sadao Yamanaka | Stars: Chôjûrô Kawarasaki, Kan'emon Nakamura, Tsuruzô Nakamura, Chôemon Bandô

Votes: 1,675

11. Till We Meet Again (1950)

110 min | Drama, History

The hero Saburo (Okada Eiji) is obstructed by a series of events from meeting Keiko (Kuga Yoshiko), his fiancee.

Director: Tadashi Imai | Stars: Yoshiko Kuga, Eiji Okada, Osamu Takizawa, Akitake Kôno

Votes: 104

12. Ugetsu (1953)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Fantasy, War

A tale of ambition, family, love, and war set in the midst of the Japanese Civil Wars of the sixteenth century.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyô, Kinuyo Tanaka, Mitsuko Mito

Votes: 19,162 | Gross: $0.01M

13. The Castle of Sand (1974)

143 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Detectives investigate the murder of an old man found in a Tokyo rail yard.

Director: Yoshitarô Nomura | Stars: Tetsurô Tanba, Gô Katô, Kensaku Morita, Yôko Shimada

Votes: 968

14. The Life of Oharu (1952)

Not Rated | 133 min | Drama

Follows a woman's fight and survival amid the vicissitudes of life and the cruelty of the society.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Tsukie Matsuura, Ichirô Sugai, Toshirô Mifune

Votes: 5,722

15. Muddy River (1981)

105 min | Drama

In post-War Japan, a boy from a noodle store-owning family befriends a neighboring boy living in poverty.

Director: Kôhei Oguri | Stars: Takahiro Tamura, Mariko Kaga, Nobutaka Asahara, Makiko Shibata

Votes: 686

16. The Yellow Handkerchief (1977)

109 min | Comedy, Drama

Three complete strangers embark on a road-trip to Hokkaido.

Director: Yôji Yamada | Stars: Ken Takakura, Chieko Baishô, Kaori Momoi, Tetsuya Takeda

Votes: 750

17. Yojimbo (1961)

Not Rated | 110 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Eijirô Tôno, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa

Votes: 103,832

18. Drunken Angel (1948)

Not Rated | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

A drunken doctor with a hot temper and a violence-prone gangster with tuberculosis form a quicksilver bond.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Toshirô Mifune, Reizaburô Yamamoto, Michiyo Kogure

Votes: 9,436

19. Late Spring (1949)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama

Noriko is twenty-seven years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her father.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Setsuko Hara, Yumeji Tsukioka, Haruko Sugimura

Votes: 13,130

20. Aoi sanmyaku (1949)

92 min | Drama, Romance

When a post-war high school girl is seen with an older boy many find the nontraditional notion unacceptable and try to trick the girl and also assail her right to continue the relationship.... See full summary »

Director: Tadashi Imai | Stars: Setsuko Hara, Ryô Ikebe, Michiyo Kogure, Yôko Sugi

Votes: 97

21. Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Drama

During the violent chaos of post-War Japanese black market, a young gangster called Shozo Hirono has to keep up with the rapid shifts of power between unscrupulous bosses.

Director: Kinji Fukasaku | Stars: Bunta Sugawara, Hiroki Matsukata, Kunie Tanaka, Eiko Nakamura

Votes: 3,063

22. Early Summer (1951)

Not Rated | 125 min | Drama

A family chooses a match for their daughter Noriko, but she, surprisingly, has her own plans.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Setsuko Hara, Chishû Ryû, Chikage Awashima, Kuniko Miyake

Votes: 6,695

23. High and Low (1963)

Not Rated | 143 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

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

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yutaka Sada, Tatsuya Nakadai, Kyôko Kagawa

Votes: 27,403

24. The Burmese Harp (1956)

Not Rated | 116 min | Drama, Music, War

In the War's closing days, when a conscience-driven Japanese soldier fails to get his countrymen to surrender to overwhelming force, he adopts the lifestyle of a Buddhist monk.

Director: Kon Ichikawa | Stars: Rentarô Mikuni, Shôji Yasui, Tatsuya Mihashi, Jun Hamamura

Votes: 5,130

25. Zigeunerweisen (1980)

Not Rated | 144 min | Horror, Mystery

A surreal period film following an university professor and his eerie nomad friend as they go through loose romantic triangles and face death in peculiar ways.

Director: Seijun Suzuki | Stars: Yoshio Harada, Naoko Ôtani, Kisako Makishi, Akaji Maro

Votes: 891

26. The Funeral (1984)

124 min | Comedy

At the beginning of the film the father-in-law of the protagonist dies unexpectedly of a heart attack. The remainder of the film is episodic, moving from one incident to another over the ... See full summary »

Director: Jûzô Itami | Stars: Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto, Kin Sugai, Hideji Ôtaki

Votes: 1,071

27. Godzilla (1954)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

78 Metascore

American nuclear weapons testing results in the creation of a seemingly unstoppable, dinosaur-like beast.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Akihiko Hirata, Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi

Votes: 27,196 | Gross: $2.42M

28. Brother (1960)

98 min | Drama

Set in 1926 when Japanese tradition was much stronger, this standard drama looks at the inner workings of a small family, especially the relationship between a sister and brother.

Director: Kon Ichikawa | Stars: Keiko Kishi, Hiroshi Kawaguchi, Kinuyo Tanaka, Masayuki Mori

Votes: 361

29. The Insect Woman (1963)

Not Rated | 123 min | Drama

Life story of a woman born in poverty trying to succeed. Through her many schemes, she faces her ups and downs in a cyclical nature, fueled mostly by self-interest.

Director: Shôhei Imamura | Stars: Emiko Aizawa, Setsuko Amamiya, Tomio Aoki, Tomoko Aoyagi

Votes: 1,767

30. A Story from Chikamatsu (1954)

Not Rated | 102 min | Drama, History, Romance

Ishun is a wealthy, but unsympathetic, master printer who has wrongly accused his wife and best employee of being lovers. To escape punishment, the accused run away together, but Ishun is certain to be ruined if word gets out.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Kazuo Hasegawa, Kyôko Kagawa, Eitarô Shindô, Eitarô Ozawa

Votes: 3,420

31. I Was Born, But... (1932)

Not Rated | 100 min | Comedy, Drama

91 Metascore

Two young brothers throw a tantrum when they discover that their father isn't the most important man in his workplace.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Tatsuo Saitô, Tomio Aoki, Mitsuko Yoshikawa, Hideo Sugawara

Votes: 4,560

32. Pigs and Battleships (1961)

Not Rated | 108 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

A young hoodlum decides to work for a criminal organization that is tearing itself apart.

Director: Shôhei Imamura | Stars: Hiroyuki Nagato, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Masao Mishima, Tetsurô Tanba

Votes: 1,853

33. Am I Trying (1969)

91 min | Drama, Comedy, Romance

Tora-San, an itinerant peddler who is thrown out of his father's house twenty years before but reconnects with his aunt, uncle and sister Sakura. Tora wreaks some havoc in their lives, like getting drunk and silly at a marriage meeting.

Director: Yôji Yamada | Stars: Kiyoshi Atsumi, Chieko Baishô, Sachiko Mitsumoto, Chishû Ryû

Votes: 348

34. Anjô-ke no butôkai (1947)

89 min | Drama

After Japan's loss in the war, the wealthy, cultured, liberal Anjo family have to give up their mansion and their way of life. They hold one last ball at the house before leaving. The ... See full summary »

Director: Kôzaburô Yoshimura | Stars: Setsuko Hara, Yumeko Aizome, Osamu Takizawa, Masayuki Mori

Votes: 277

35. The Naked Island (1960)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama

A family of four are the sole inhabitants of a small island, where they struggle each day to irrigate their crops.

Director: Kaneto Shindô | Stars: Nobuko Otowa, Taiji Tonoyama, Shinji Tanaka, Masanori Horimoto

Votes: 4,619

36. Sisters of the Gion (1936)

95 min | Drama

Two geisha sisters lead a hard life in the Gion district of Kyoto. After one of them feels obliged to support a bankrupt businessman, the other sister sets up various schemes to get rid of him.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Isuzu Yamada, Yôko Umemura, Benkei Shiganoya, Eitarô Shindô

Votes: 2,276

37. The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (I) (1959)

Not Rated | 208 min | Drama, War

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

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Chikage Awashima, Ineko Arima

Votes: 5,814

38. The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity (II) (1959)

Not Rated | 181 min | Drama, History, War

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

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Kokinji Katsura, Jun Tatara

Votes: 4,615

39. The Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer (1961)

Not Rated | 190 min | Drama, History, War

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.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Tamao Nakamura, Yûsuke Kawazu

Votes: 4,529

40. She Was Like a Wild Chrysanthemum (1955)

100 min | Drama, Romance

An old man, being rowed along a river, sees a field of daisies (or Wild Chrysanthemums, as they are described in the title, or starworts, as they are referred to in the subtitles), and ... See full summary »

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita | Stars: Noriko Arita, Chishû Ryû, Haruko Sugimura, Takahiro Tamura

Votes: 231

41. The Family Game (1983)

107 min | Comedy, Drama

A sendup of the stereo-typical Japanese family: dad is a salaryman jerk, unable to relate to anyone; mom is a hopeless housewife; the older son is a moderate academic success; but the ... See full summary »

Director: Yoshimitsu Morita | Stars: Yûsaku Matsuda, Jûzô Itami, Saori Yuki, Ichirôta Miyakawa

Votes: 741

42. Fighting Elegy (1966)

Not Rated | 86 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

During the 1930s, a teenager yearns for a Catholic girl, whose only desire is to reform his sinful tendencies. Hormones raging, the young man channels his unsatisfied lust into the only outlet available: savage, crazed violence.

Director: Seijun Suzuki | Stars: Hideki Takahashi, Junko Asano, Yûsuke Kawazu, Chikako Miyagi

Votes: 1,267

43. The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (1987)

Not Rated | 122 min | Documentary, War

A documentary following Kenzo Okuzaki, a 62-year-old WW2 veteran notorious for his protests against Emperor Hirohito, as he tries to expose the needless executions of two Japanese soldiers during the war.

Director: Kazuo Hara | Stars: Kenzo Okuzaki, Riichi Aikawa, Masaichi Hamaguchi, Toshio Hara

Votes: 1,420

46. Chuji Tabinikki Daisanbu Goyohen (1927)

107 min | Drama

7.2