Samurai warriors have for many years been the subject of some of cinema’s best films. Stories of bravery, loyalty and revenge have captivated audiences and inspired some of Hollywood’s most loved films. 47 Ronin, a visually spectacular story of revenge, love and honour comes to Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and DVD May 12th and to celebrate we are taking a look at some of the best samurai films.
Perhaps the most well-known of the genre, Seven Samurai was directed by Japanese cinema legend, Akira Kurosawa and has become one of the most iconic films in cinema history. Set in a Japanese village under attack by thieves, the residents hire seven masterless samurai to defend them. Sound familiar? Hollywood adapted the story and the result was… The Magnificent Seven.
Winner of the special jury award at Cannes, Harakiri is set in 17th century Japan, a time where the country’s feudal system had been thrown out. Masterless samurai, known as ronin wander the countryside asking wealthy lords for a place to commit ritual suicide, known as hara-kiri, in line with the samurai code of conduct. Described by critics as both a satire and tragedy, Harakiri is visually stunning with its black and white cinematography.
Nominated for an Oscar and winner of 12 Japanese Academy Awards, The Twilight Samurai sees 47 Ronin’s Hiroyuki Sanada star as a 19th century low level samurai. Nevertheless, this isn’t your typical Samurai film, it follows the story of a widowed father who has to work hard to support his daughters. It doesn’t rely on swashbuckling sword fights but explores the love and honour of an ordinary man.
Released in 1961, Yojimbo, meaning bodyguard, is another film from master Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa. Like many samurai films the protagonist is a ronin and this particular warrior finds himself in a village split between two criminal gangs. The samurai decides to live dangerously, playing them against each other with aim of liberating the village. It has also been suggested that Yojimbo was the inspiration for Sergio Leone’s classic Spaghetti Western, A Fistful of Dollars.
Samurai culture has long fascinated many across the globe and the story of 47 Ronin is often regarded as one of the most revered. Known in Japan as Chusingura, meaning tale of the loyal retainers, the story follows 47 masterless samurai who aim to avenge their master’s death. 47 Ronin stars Keanu Reeves and Hiroyuki Sanada in an epic fantasy tale of revenge, with legendary heroes, shapeshifting witches, mythical beasts, told with incredible special effects.
47 RONIN COMES TO BLU-RAY™ WITH ULTRAVIOLET™ & DVD FROM 12 MAY 2014 LIMITED EDITION 2 DISC LENTICULAR 3D & 2D BLU-RAY™ ALSO AVAILABLE