8 Westerns That Were Inspired by Samurai Movies

Samurai films maintain an essential area within the historical past of cinema, being the Japanese equal of what cowboy westerns had been within the west. Many improvements made in samurai movies by the likes of Akira Kurosawa went on to change into an ordinary a part of western filmmakers’ vocabulary. Most notably, the style was additionally accountable for the delivery of the Star Wars franchise.

The affect went each methods, as many prolific filmmakers within the samurai style usually took inspiration from Hollywood motion pictures. In explicit, the samurai style maintained a peculiar relationship with the cowboy western, per Hollywood Insider, with the 2 genres sharing many tropes. This fixed interplay between these two extremely colloquial genres additionally allowed for the creation of among the most iconic Westerns of all time. Let’s try eight Westerns, new and outdated, that had been immediately impressed by Samurai motion pictures.


1/8 A Fistful of Dollars (Yojimbo)

A Fistful of Dollars is probably probably the most well-known occasion of a Western that was impressed by a samurai film, being a direct adaptation of the Akira Kurosawa movie Yojimbo. Director Sergio Leone expertly transposed the story of Yojimbo from its interval Japanese setting to the Wild West. In doing so, the film established the Man with No Name trope in Hollywood cinema, borrowing from its samurai counterpart the place the lead character is proven to make up a faux identify on the very starting. A Fistful of Dollars was adopted by two sequels, collectively dubbed the Dollars trilogy, and was accountable for launching Clint Eastwood into stardom.

Related: 6 Western Movies That Define the Genre

2/8 The Magnificent Seven (Seven Samurai)

United Artists

Kurosawa’s shadow looms massive over the historical past of cinema, as he launched many enduring storytelling tropes to cinema. His film Seven Samurai launched one such plot ingredient, changing into the primary main occasion of a film the place a bunch of warriors bands collectively for a typical trigger. The film was a significant success, changing into the highest-grossing Japanese film of that yr. It was remade for the western viewers in 1960 by John Sturges, referred to as The Magnificent Seven, and the remake shortly turned a traditional of its personal with high stars of the day, like Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson, within the main roles.

3/8 The Outrage (Rashomon)


Rashomon is taken into account a necessary look ahead to any movie aficionado, as it’s the most well-known instance of a film pushed by unreliable narrators. Once once more, Kurosawa established a whole storytelling plot by exploring the facility of unreliable narrators in a film. The authentic film follows the testimonies of an assorted bunch, together with such characters as a bandit, a priest, and a woodcutter, all of whom give their firsthand account of witnessing a homicide. The 1964 film The Outrage tailored this identical idea and changed the characters from the unique film with these becoming the Wild West setting — a preacher, a gold prospector, a conman, and an Indian shaman.

4/8 Requiem for a Gringo (Harakiri)

Variety Distribution

Requiem for a Gringo is likely one of the most uncommon motion pictures on this listing, full of mystical parts that give it a really psychedelic tone. The Italian-Spanish spaghetti western is an adaptation of the film Harakiri by Masaki Kobayashi, probably the most celebrated samurai motion pictures of all time. It is a tense and thrilling story of revenge that asks poignant questions on ethics and morality. The film earned nice reward for its visible composition, which was designed meticulously by Kobayashi. This visible fashion is changed by a really totally different aesthetic in Requiem for a Gringo, the place mystical motifs are aplenty to create a way of otherworldliness for its most important character, the Jaguar Man.

5/8 Django (Yojimbo)

Euro International Films

The 1966 film Django was one other well-known Western from the twentieth Century, an Italian manufacturing that sought to capitalize on the success of A Fistful of Dollars. The film additionally tailored Yojimbo to an extent, introducing a lone stranger who inserts himself between two warring factions. Django was thought-about probably the most violent movies on the time of its launch, and the film additionally featured the breakout function for Italian actor and filmmaker Franco Nero.

Related: Best Westerns Set in the Snow, Ranked

6/8 Blindman (The Zatoichi Franchise)

twentieth Century Studios

Over the years, the samurai film style has developed numerous recurring hero characters who could be in contrast with the superheroes of modern-day cinema. Of these heroes, the blind swordsman Zatoichi might be probably the most well-known. Actor Shintaro Katsu starred in 26 movies and 100 tv episodes that includes the enduring character. Later, the 1971 Western titled Blindman launched a lead character primarily based on Zatoichi, a blind gunman who takes on a job of delivering 50 mail order brides to their husbands. The film can be remembered for together with Ringo Starr of Beatles fame as a solid member.

7/8 Kill Bill (Lady Snowblood)

Uma Thurman in Kill Bill: Volume 1
Miramax Films

Lady Snowblood is likely one of the most unusual Japanese interval motion motion pictures ever, starring a feminine lead who trains as a lethal murderer to take revenge upon her dad and mom’ killer. The premise wasn’t the one factor particular in regards to the film. Lady Snowblood was full of chic motion sequences and had a compelling lead efficiency by Meiko Kaji. The unusually alluring scenes of violence in that film, in addition to its plot, was a significant inspiration for Quentin Tarantino, who went on to write down Kill Bill as a unfastened adaptation of this film.

8/8 The Mandalorian

Din Djarin Grogu Mandalorian Chapter 13 Lucasfilm
Disney Platform Distribution

Star Wars followers are fairly conversant in how Japanese cinematic sensibilities broadly influenced the Star Wars fictional universe, borrowing many issues from narrative parts to the samurai values as seen in samurai motion pictures. As the Star Wars franchise continued to develop, stand-alone tales and spin-offs had been capable of discover this Japanese affect even additional.

The Mandalorian is probably the most effective celebration of the Japanese affect that Star Wars had from the very starting, with a fundamental premise much like the Lone Wolf and Cub franchise. Both of them showcase a grizzled warrior touring with a helpless baby. The Mandalorian has additionally tailored standard samurai motion pictures in particular person episodes. Most notably, episode 4 of season one includes a plot that’s similar to Yojimbo, as Pedro Pascal’s lead character saves a village of helpless farmers from raiders.

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