Ranking of 25 Western Films that take place in Japan

by JoshE117 | created - 12 Apr 2016 | updated - 04 Sep 2017 | Public

A list of 25 films that take place in Japan, from best to worst. A few other films, Jumper (2008), Ninja Assassin (2009), and Inception (2010) have a couple scenes that feature Japan in a cool way but it is not the primary setting of those movies.

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1. Lost in Translation (2003)

R | 102 min | Drama

89 Metascore

A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.

Director: Sofia Coppola | Stars: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris

Votes: 378,678 | Gross: $44.59M

2. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

R | 111 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

69 Metascore

After awakening from a four-year coma, a former assassin wreaks vengeance on the team of assassins who betrayed her.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen

Votes: 923,160 | Gross: $70.10M

3. Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

PG-13 | 145 min | Drama, Romance

54 Metascore

Nitta Sayuri reveals how she transcended her fishing-village roots and became one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.

Director: Rob Marshall | Stars: Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Michelle Yeoh, Suzuka Ohgo

Votes: 132,614 | Gross: $57.49M

4. The Last Samurai (2003)

R | 154 min | Action, Drama, War

55 Metascore

An American military advisor embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after he is captured in battle.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly, William Atherton

Votes: 374,377 | Gross: $111.11M

5. Tokyo Pop (1988)

R | 99 min | Comedy

Young female rock singer is not appreciated by her band, gets postcard from Japan saying "wish you were here". Takes what little money she has including ex-boyfriend's rent money and goes ... See full summary »

Director: Fran Rubel Kuzui | Stars: Carrie Hamilton, Diamond Yukai, Taiji Tonoyama, Tetsurô Tanba

Votes: 201 | Gross: $0.13M

6. Flags of our Fathers (2006)

R | 135 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

79 Metascore

The life stories of the six men who raised the flag at the Battle of Iwo Jima, a turning point in World War II.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Ryan Phillippe, Barry Pepper, Joseph Cross, Jesse Bradford

Votes: 112,272 | Gross: $33.60M

7. The Karate Kid Part II (1986)

PG | 113 min | Action, Family, Romance

55 Metascore

Daniel accompanies his mentor, Mr. Miyagi, to Miyagi's childhood home in Okinawa. Miyagi visits his dying father and confronts his old rival, while Daniel falls in love and inadvertently makes a new rival of his own.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Pat Morita, Ralph Macchio, Pat E. Johnson, Bruce Malmuth

Votes: 66,692 | Gross: $115.10M

8. The Thin Red Line (1998)

R | 170 min | Drama, War

78 Metascore

Adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Jim Caviezel, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Kirk Acevedo

Votes: 162,132 | Gross: $36.40M

9. Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Romance

A French actress filming an anti-war film in Hiroshima has an affair with a married Japanese architect as they share their differing perspectives on war.

Director: Alain Resnais | Stars: Emmanuelle Riva, Eiji Okada, Stella Dassas, Pierre Barbaud

Votes: 25,277 | Gross: $0.09M

10. Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)

PG-13 | 94 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

62 Metascore

Upon learning that his father has been kidnapped, Austin Powers must travel to 1975 and defeat the aptly named villain Goldmember, who is working with Dr. Evil.

Director: Jay Roach | Stars: Mike Myers, Beyoncé, Seth Green, Michael York

Votes: 186,074 | Gross: $213.31M

11. 47 Ronin (2013)

PG-13 | 128 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

28 Metascore

A band of samurai set out to avenge the death and dishonor of their master at the hands of a ruthless shogun.

Director: Carl Rinsch | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ko Shibasaki, Tadanobu Asano

Votes: 138,203 | Gross: $38.36M

12. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

PG-13 | 104 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

45 Metascore

A teenager becomes a major competitor in the world of drift racing after moving in with his father in Tokyo to avoid a jail sentence in America.

Director: Justin Lin | Stars: Lucas Black, Zachery Ty Bryan, Shad Moss, Damien Marzette

Votes: 223,335 | Gross: $62.51M

13. Mr. Baseball (1992)

PG-13 | 108 min | Comedy, Romance, Sport

Jack Elliot, once a great baseball player, is forced to play in Japan where his brash, egotistical ways cause friction with his new teammates and friends.

Director: Fred Schepisi | Stars: Tom Selleck, Ken Takakura, Aya Takanashi, Dennis Haysbert

Votes: 9,461 | Gross: $20.88M

14. Enlightenment Guaranteed (1999)

109 min | Drama, Comedy

68 Metascore

Two very different brothers get together for a temporary stay in a Japanese zen monastry. The trip from Germany to Japan brings up some unexpected quests they have to manage. Soon both ... See full summary »

Director: Doris Dörrie | Stars: Uwe Ochsenknecht, Gustav-Peter Wöhler, Petra Zieser, Ulrike Kriener

Votes: 1,231

15. The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956)

Approved | 123 min | Comedy, Drama

In post-WWII Japan, an American captain is brought in to help build a school, but the locals want a teahouse instead.

Director: Daniel Mann | Stars: Marlon Brando, Glenn Ford, Machiko Kyô, Eddie Albert

Votes: 2,969

16. The Yakuza (1974)

R | 112 min | Action, Crime, Drama

American private-eye Harry Kilmer returns to Japan to rescue a friend's kidnapped daughter from the clutches of the Yakuza.

Director: Sydney Pollack | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Ken Takakura, Brian Keith, Herb Edelman

Votes: 6,936

17. Big in Japan (2014)

Not Rated | 100 min | Comedy, Music

A struggling Seattle Rock band, Tennis Pro, take one last shot at making it big as they embark on a comical musical odyssey in Tokyo with hopes to prevent their day jobs from becoming their careers.

Director: John Jeffcoat | Stars: David Drury, John Jeffcoat, Aya Kawahara, Yuko Kawahara

Votes: 150

18. Sayonara (1957)

Not Rated | 147 min | Drama, Romance

A US Air Force major in Kobe confronts his own opposition to marriages between American servicemen and Japanese women when he falls for a beautiful performer.

Director: Joshua Logan | Stars: Marlon Brando, Ricardo Montalban, Patricia Owens, James Garner

Votes: 5,484 | Gross: $26.30M

19. You Only Live Twice (1967)

PG | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

61 Metascore

Agent 007 and the Japanese Secret Service ninja force must find and stop the true culprit of a series of spacejackings before nuclear war is provoked.

Director: Lewis Gilbert | Stars: Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Tetsurô Tanba

Votes: 89,492 | Gross: $43.08M

20. The Barbarian and the Geisha (1958)

TV-G | 105 min | Adventure, Drama, History

In 1856, the first U.S. Consul General to Japan encounters the hostility of the local authorities and the love of a young geisha.

Director: John Huston | Stars: John Wayne, Eiko Ando, Sam Jaffe, Sô Yamamura

Votes: 1,662

21. The Wolverine (2013)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

61 Metascore

Wolverine comes to Japan to meet an old friend whose life he saved years ago, and gets embroiled in a conspiracy involving yakuza and mutants.

Director: James Mangold | Stars: Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima

Votes: 406,919 | Gross: $132.56M

22. The Bushido Blade (1981)

R | 104 min | Action, Drama, History

A steel samurai blade that was to be given to the American ambassador by the Emperor of Japan is stolen. American sailors and Japanese samurai are sent to find it.

Director: Tsugunobu Kotani | Stars: Richard Boone, Toshirô Mifune, Mike Starr, Timothy Patrick Murphy

Votes: 309

23. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)

PG | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

40 Metascore

The turtles find themselves transported back in time to ancient Japan.

Director: Stuart Gillard | Stars: Elias Koteas, Paige Turco, Stuart Wilson, Sab Shimono

Votes: 29,016 | Gross: $42.66M

24. The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978)

PG | 91 min | Comedy, Family, Sport

31 Metascore

In this third film of the Bad News Bears series, Tony Curtis plays a small time promoter/hustler who takes the pint-sized baseball team to Japan for a match against the country's best ... See full summary »

Director: John Berry | Stars: Tony Curtis, Jackie Earle Haley, Tomisaburô Wakayama, Antonio Inoki

Votes: 2,525 | Gross: $14.00M

25. The Ramen Girl (2008)

PG-13 | 102 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

An American woman is stranded in Tokyo after breaking up with her boyfriend. Searching for direction in life, she trains to be a râmen chef under a tyrannical Japanese master.

Director: Robert Allan Ackerman | Stars: Brittany Murphy, Toshiyuki Nishida, Tammy Blanchard, Soji Arai

Votes: 8,579



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