Throne of Blood

One of the most enduring cinematic “twists on Shakespeare” is Akira Kurosawa’s take on Macbeth, which relocates the play to 15th century feudal Japan. Two warriors returning from battle encounter an eerie spirit in the forest who promises them great fortune upon their return. Spurred on by the spirit’s prophecy—and the power-hungry manipulations of his conniving wife—one of the warriors, Washizu (Kurosawa favorite Toshiro Mifune), decides to betray and murder his warlord to fulfill his foretold destiny as the Lord of Spider Web Castle. Kurosawa’s brilliantly staged set pieces—the chilling encounter with the forest spirit, the fog-suffused battle sequences, the tangle of arrows at the devastating finale—elevate the film far beyond the realm of mere adaptation. Shot on the slopes of Mt. Fuji and filled with moody, atmospheric cinematography, Throne of Blood “remains a landmark of visual strength, permeated by a particularly Japanese sensibility, and is possibly the finest Shakespearean adaptation ever committed to the screen.”—The  Guardian. In Japanese with English subtitles.

Genres: Action, Drama

Other Films by Akira Kurosawa

Yojimbo

Set at the end of the Tokugawa era, YOJIMBO follows the rōnin Sanjuro (Toshirô Mifune) who, while wandering the countryside, happens upon a village over which two clans wage war. Sensing an opportunity, the rōnin wiles his way into the conflict with the goal of killing both sides and extorting what he can from the

Seven Samurai

Kurosawa’s humanistic masterpiece of honor and courage takes place in a small 18th-century village in the Japanese countryside, where peasants eke out a meager existence from their crops. Threatened by a rogue band of thieves intent on pillaging their food supply, the villagers are forced to hire protection: seven lone samurai, led by Kurosawa regulars

Stray Dog

Kurosawa’s neorealist, post-war tale of urban malaise follows homicide detective Murakami (Kurosawa regular Toshiro Mifune) during a sweltering heat wave in which he has his gun stolen on a crowded bus. Riddled with shame and guilt, Murakami sets out on an odyssey to recover the weapon, encountering a wide array of unique individuals as he

Ran

One of the late masterpieces of Japanese master Kurosawa’s long and distinguished career, Ran was inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear and the legend of daimyo (lord) Mori Motonari. Tatsuya Nakadai plays Hidetora Ichimonji, an aging warrior-lord who decides to abdicate in favor of his three sons, Taro, Jiro, and Saburo. His youngest son Saburo declares