Akira Kurosawa's 100 Favorite Movies

Before his death in 1998, famed Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa discussed his top 100 films with his daughter, Kazuo. Kurosawa limited himself to one title per director, giving a unique perspective on the best world directors and his personal favorites.

This list and discussion was published in Chapter 3 of A DREAM IS A GENIUS, ISBN 4-16-355570. Edited by Bungeishunju. © 1999 Translated by Noriyo Hoozawa-Arkenau, "Please excuse any errors, English is not Mr Hoozawa-Arkenau's native tongue. [...] I hope that readers will still enjoy Kurosawa's comments."
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  • Broken Blossoms

    Broken Blossoms

    ★★★

    "Lilian Gish. She's very neat and has very good manners, doesn't she? Dorothy Gish is her sister, but she is, eh, a little sexier. Lilian is a cute, innocent girl. It was therefore really painful for me to see her in the movie and I really hated him! In THE WHALES OF AUGUST I saw her again and, I clearly saw that she had not changed at all. I mean: yes, she has become a grandma, but I was pretty surprised how cutely she has got old!"

  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

    ★★★★½

    "It's representative of German Expressionism. But one can enjoy it still nowadays. The scenery constructions are all built in Futuristic style, in a style of art. You know, one still can learn many, many things from such a work of these old times."

  • Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler

    Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler

    "I saw it when I was a child, when Mr. Musei Tokugawa was working as a narrator. As you know, my brother was also a narrator of silent movies, and he brought me with him. It was a very interesting movie. The mysterious Dr. Mabuse, the master of disguise! By the way, it was at that time when I saw LA ROUE by Abel Gance. I still remember very vividly how a train running crazily was portrayed in a flashback. It was a great scene."

  • The Gold Rush

    The Gold Rush

    ★★★★

    "Chaplin was very talented as an actor as well. Do you know, comedies are most difficult to make. It's much easier to jerk tears from the audience. He, of course, was gifted as a director as well, well-versed in music. I think he was so gifted that he himself didn't know what he should do with his own talents. Well, Beat Takeshi reminds me a little of him."

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  • The Fall of the House of Usher

    The Fall of the House of Usher

    ★★★

    "As you know, it's a silent movie, i.e. it consists of pictures alone. But seeing it I felt as if I really heard something. That power of expression. Simply wonderful. And before I start to make a movie, every time I try to imagine how I would have made this picture if it was a silent movie."

  • Un Chien Andalou

    Un Chien Andalou

    ★★★★★

    "The movie starts suddenly with a scene that portrayed how an eyeball was slashed with a razor! An impacting, intense scene. And the light of a lighthouse was glaring and dazzling... In this way they were vividly symbolizing the mental condition when one was diseased with rabies. From such Surrealistic techniques I learned many things when I was making RASHOMON."

  • Morocco

    Morocco

    ★★★½

    "This picture is just 'a movie': it has been produced on a very low budget, but they have shot, for example, the scene where the shadow was flickering very cleverly, changing the camera's position constantly, moving about. Very cleverly shot. I was really impressed."

  • The Congress Dances

    The Congress Dances

    "It's the first movie in that the technique of playback was used. Conversations go, interestingly, in the form of operetta and scenes flow very skillfully. A masterpiece. The movie again and again makes me realize that old movies still offer us many, many things to learn."

  • The 3 Penny Opera

    The 3 Penny Opera

    "DIE DREIGROSCHENOPER I would have loved to make! Indeed, many people have made DIE DREIGROSCHENOPER, haven't they? But Pabst's is definitely the best, I think. A great movie."

  • Lover Divine

    Lover Divine

    "A very sweet movie. I love it! They used Schubert's music very adroitly, and skillfully portrayed in the story why he could not compose from the third movement up. A very good movie."

  • The Thin Man

    The Thin Man

    ★★★★½

    "He's a master of action movies. No wonder that this movie runs with that good tempo. The original is Hammett's novel, you know? The pair and the dog were so popular that a series of sequels to it was made. But this first one is the most interesting."

  • Our Neighbor, Miss Yae

    Our Neighbor, Miss Yae

    "Mr. Shimazu was called "Daddy Shimazu (Shimazu-oyaji)". He has worked his way up from 'practice' in the true sense, he had experiences as an assistant, was very solidly skilled. John Ford and/or Wyler, too, were such directors. Their movies were clearly different - how I should say..., eh..., in them I can 'smell' motion-picture-makers of old times, of good old times when movies were tasty."

  • Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo

    Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo

    "Mr. Yamanaka has been, when he has been working as an assistant, very quiet, he has been always somehow in a reverie, mumbling something to himself... But when he once became a director, he suddenly got eloquent, proved himself to be amazingly talented. It's indeed a great loss for the Japanese movie industry that he died so young! Moreover, he didn't save his films rightly. I am so sorry for it that I feel angry! What the hell did he think?!"

  • Capricious Young Man

    Capricious Young Man

    "This movie of Mr. Itami is very innovative, he did, for example, make various experiments in it. A very, very interesting movie. It was very kind of him that he often approved my movies and/or gave pieces of advice to me. I was very, very glad."

  • Grand Illusion

    Grand Illusion

    ★★★★★

    "In this movie Stroheim, who has directed FOOLISH WIVES, played a role. Of course the movie is great, but, above all, his presence as an actor was impactful in itself. Mr. Renoir, you know, came specially to see me when I have been in Paris, and he, although HE was a master and elder than I, said to me "I am glad to see you"! I was really abashed! Moreover, when I was going to go back home, he stood and followed me all the time till my car turned the corner. I was very very touched."

  • Stella Dallas

    Stella Dallas

    ★★★½

    " 'Women are strong. A mother does do everything for children's sake' - Barbara Stanwyck wonderfully portrayed it in this movie. The last scene almost brought me to tears. Years later I saw a singer named Bette Midler playing such a role. It was also pretty good. Well played!"

  • Composition Class

    Composition Class

    "Mr. Yamakaji (Mr. Kajiro Yamamoto) was a really good teacher. At that time, when we all were terribly busy, Yama-san made me do everything for him. To be honest, I was not very pleased by it. But his wife once said me; Do you know? My husband was very delighted. He said, "Mr. Kurosawa is now competent to do really everything!" Only then I realized that Mr. Yamamoto has been teaching me all things one by one, by making me do everything - to edit, write, costume and make props. THAT MADE ME WHO I AM NOW. I am truly grateful"

  • Earth

    Earth

    "This director had a very interesting career - I've heard that he had been once a bum! An actor he had been as well. An eccentric. Oh, yes, he had been, if I remember rightly, once also an assistant of a director who had been in Hollywood. Of course his 'big' movies are not bad, but I personally like his earlier works more, for example KAGIRI NAKI ZENSHIN. But, very unfortunately, almost none of his films are in existence anymore. I wish that they thought more seriously in Japan how to save films properly."

  • Ninotchka

    Ninotchka

    ★★★★½

    "A very sophisticated movie. Garbo appeared in it, but she, here, unlike her former movies indeed, played comedy very well. I was surprised. Wilder wrote the screenplay, I remember. No wonder the dialogues are so good. Lubitsch has been working since the times of silent movies; he had made movies called 'cinema operettas'. Did you know? He was a very talented man."

  • Ivan the Terrible, Part I

    Ivan the Terrible, Part I

    "An acquaintance of mine, who sent RASHOMON to the Grand Prix in Venice and to whom I feel very obliged, recommended me once to see the celebration's scene in IVAN GRONZY in color. He said to me then that I also should make movies in color. So, I saw it, and, indeed, I was amazed. Well, then, I used colors in DO DESU KA DEN for the first time, and in KAGEMUSHA I treated colors rightly. I wished that the acquaintance, who already had died then, could have seen it. Then Mrs. William Wyler said: "He'll come (from heaven) to Cannes, Mr. Kurosawa. He'll come to see your movie!" Till then I usually avoided 'movie festivals', but since then I attend at least Cannes film Festival."

  • Ivan the Terrible, Part II: The Boyars' Plot

    Ivan the Terrible, Part II: The Boyars' Plot

    "An acquaintance of mine, who sent RASHOMON to the Grand Prix in Venice and to whom I feel very obliged, recommended me once to see the celebration's scene in IVAN GRONZY in color. He said to me then that I also should make movies in color. So, I saw it, and, indeed, I was amazed. Well, then, I used colors in DO DESU KA DEN for the first time, and in KAGEMUSHA I treated colors rightly. I wished that the acquaintance, who already had died then, could have seen it. Then Mrs. William Wyler said: "He'll come (from heaven) to Cannes, Mr. Kurosawa. He'll come to see your movie!" Till then I usually avoided 'movie festivals', but since then I attend at least Cannes film Festival."

  • My Darling Clementine

    My Darling Clementine

    ★★★★★

    "Everyone associates the name of John Ford with westerns, don't they? MY DARLING CLEMENTINE is, say, a paragon of movie: A man, for example, who's riding on horseback and whose looks in itself is a poem, emerges at the just right moment in the movie. Wonderful."

  • It's a Wonderful Life

    It's a Wonderful Life

    ★★★★★

    "A movie should, I'm convinced, make the audience be happy, feel well. This movie is just such one: it's full of good will, makes us feel warm and think that it's a wonderful thing to live. Typical of Capra."

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  • The Big Sleep

    The Big Sleep

    ★★★★½

    "In my opinion it's the most interesting one among Chandler's. It's difficult to make 'hard-boiled' movies, usually, but he has skillfully done it. No wonder, for he was a true movie-maker who had begun his career as a pop-man and worked his way up from there."

  • Bicycle Thieves

    Bicycle Thieves

    ★★★★★

    "A pitiful story, isn't it? Everything in this movie, its 'colors' as well, again and again makes me feel tormented. This is a true representative of Neo-Realism. A wonderful movie, which established a certain cinematic style."

  • The Blue Mountains: Part I

    The Blue Mountains: Part I

    "One's first movie is often his or her best. So they say that AOI SANMYAKU or IZU NO ODORIKO is Mr. Imai's best, don't they?! Indeed, this movie of him is very fresh and lively, the scene in that Kama-san (Mr. Kamatari Fujiwara) appears is also pretty good. But his Nigorie is also wonderful, I think"

  • The Third Man

    The Third Man

    ★★★★★

    "He respectably well filmed a such complicated story. Its camera works are wonderful - I've learned much about camera works from this movie. A first-class movie which one can enjoy still nowadays. His ODD MAN OUT is also brilliant. This director is a very skillful movie maker with a documentary style."

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  • Late Spring

    Late Spring

    ★★★★

    "His characteristic camera work was imitated by many directors abroad as well, i.e., many people saw and see Mr. Ozu's movies, right? That's good. Indeed, one can learn pretty much from his movies. Young prospective movie makers in Japan should, I hope, see more of Ozu's work. Ah, it was really good times when Mr. Ozu, Mr. Naruse and/or Mr. Mizoguchi were all making movies!"

  • Orpheus

    Orpheus

    ★★★★½

    "Originally Jean Cocteau was a poet, wasn't he? His movie therefore is like a poem. The Grim Reaper, e.g., appears riding on a motorcycle! A very fantastical touch. His peculiar aesthetic is very interesting."

  • Carmen Comes Home

    Carmen Comes Home

    "It's one of the first colored movies in Japan. A very interesting movie. Karumen [Carmen] and her companions all return home, making people fuss over them. The fuss was very well portrayed."

  • A Streetcar Named Desire

    A Streetcar Named Desire

    ★★★★

    "I met this director in Tokyo International Film Festival and thought very frank of him. His immediate colleagues, however, said that he was rather a difficult person. But as soon as I've found both of us hated to put on a tuxedo, it was clear that we were like-minded. We really enjoyed to talk with each other. His movies are called 'social' or 'sociological', aren't they? Well, this movie is a good work that has,say, a solid core."

  • Thérèse Raquin

    Thérèse Raquin

    "Carne is famous, above all, for LES ENFANTS DU PARADIS, isn't he? This movie is a smaller piece, but I love it - it was shot in very cool eyes, and shows how important a solid screenplay for a movie is."

  • The Life of Oharu

    The Life of Oharu

    "We often said in joke "Mr. Mizoguchi must have undergone terribly bitter experiences with women!". I could never portray women in THAT way! Indeed, a cold shiver ran up my spine! The movie is incredible, its art as well, and its long shots as well. From Mizo-san I've learned pretty much."

  • Journey to Italy

    Journey to Italy

    ★★★½

    "He's one of the most important representatives of Italian Realism. But also representatives of Nouvelle Vague, Godard and/or Truffaut, e.g., made a model of him. Did you know it? His way of pursuing bare truth was really fresh. I also was very benefited by his work."

  • Godzilla

    Godzilla

    ★★★★★

    "Mr. Honda is really an ernest, nice fellow. Imagine, e.g., what you would do if a monster like Godzilla emerges! Normally one would forget and abandon his duty and simply flee! You won't? But the personnel in this movie properly and sincerely lead people, don't they? That is typical of Mr. Honda. I love it. Well, he was my best friend. As you know, I am a pretty obstinate and demanding person. Thus, that I had never problems with him was due to HIS good personality."

  • La Strada

    La Strada

    ★★★★½

    "Fellini's cinematographic art is excellent. It's in itself 'fine art'. Nowadays no one has such a peculiar talent more... One feels in his movies, say, an existential power, which has a strong impact. Well, I met him several times, but he was so shy that he didn't talk about his movies to me."

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  • Floating Clouds

    Floating Clouds

    "He was a truly severe person. When he, e.g., didn't like an actor's performance, he said simply "No" and nothing more, sat silent. It was hard for the actor, of course, because he or she must think all by him-/herself and try various performances by himself. I, compared with him, am not earnest enough - I cannot help giving instructions to actors and can't let them think by themselves... Thus, actors disciplined by Mr. Ozu, Mr. Naruse and/or Mr. Mizoguchi were all really competent and could by themselves play rightly even if I said nothing."

  • Pather Panchali

    Pather Panchali

    ★★★★★

    "I felt I rightly understood his work, when I saw Satyajit Ray: His eyes were like lynx's, ah, he was a majestic gentleman! In Venice Film Festival my KUMONOSU-JO" has lost to his PATHER PANCHALI", hasn't it? But, I guarantee you, that was ABSOLUTELY right!."

  • Daddy Long Legs

    Daddy Long Legs

    "It has missed an Oscar, but I like this movie. Some people may be surprised that I like this picture, but, indeed, it was pretty well shot. I like it, maybe, also because I admire people like Fred Astaire, for I am so clumsy. But, well, it's because, above all, I like the actress Leslie Caron."

  • The Proud Ones

    The Proud Ones

    "The theme song sung by Lionel Newman was a hit at that time. It's brilliant. Robert Ryan has a just fitting role, the camera works are wonderful as well - Lucian Ballard is truly a model camera man, I think."

  • A Sun-Tribe Myth from the Bakumatsu Era

    A Sun-Tribe Myth from the Bakumatsu Era

    "This is an interesting, really enjoyable movie with a very good tempo. A rakugo piece INOKORI SAHEIJI (= Saheiji, who reminded) and another piece were arranged for this movie. Really well done. This director was very good at making comedies. It means his skill stands out from others."

  • The Young Lions

    The Young Lions

    "It's a Cinema Scope. They shot dramatical battle scenes in a sharp, black-white contrast. Beautiful. This director is, I see, a hard professionalism, who has resolutely worked his way up."

  • Les Cousins

    Les Cousins

    "It's a little strange picture shot from a pessimistic view. He's a pretty skillful director - his LES LIENS DE SANG, e.g., is one of the best pictures filmed Ed McBain's novels."

  • The 400 Blows

    The 400 Blows

    ★★★★½

    "This Truffaut's movie is brilliant, don't you think so? He let children very convincingly play. I openly praised it at that time, but it was hardly premiered, before it was withdrawn. I suspect that it was due to its that inept Japanese title OTONA WA WAKATTE KURENAI (The adults don't understand us children)."

  • Breathless

    Breathless

    ★★★★★

    "He's a very productive movie maker. But he shows his talent in the fact that all of his movies keep a steady, high quality. When I saw A BOUT DE SOUFFLE, it looked really fresh - nowadays it may look not so fresh more - for many people meanwhile have imitated its style, e.g., in American New Cinemas. But, I want to emphasize, they should do their own new experiments as well, or the cinema will not develop further more."

  • Ben-Hur

    Ben-Hur

    ★★★½

    BEN-HUR's climax scene, it MUST be shot in a 70mm, or it would never have been that exciting. 6 sound sources recorded with 6 recorders were reproduced in it, and one feel as if one really was involved there in the movie! Brilliantly shot."

  • Her Brother

    Her Brother

    "Its camera work is superb. I remember, it won a prize for picture in Cannes, right? Pretty many takes were shot. Mrs. Natto (The screen play writer Natto Wada, Kon Ichikawa's wife) must have strongly supported him. His TOKYO ORINPIKKU [OLYMPIC GAMES IN TOKYO]" was harshly criticized by some people, but I thought it was a good picture, a typical picture of Kon-chan."

  • The Long Absence

    The Long Absence

    "He's an authority on edit. It is his first movie, I think. A crazy story - a man, who has passed in front of a café, was like the heroine's husband as two eggs. That scene was really impressive. Well, movie editors very well know that a movie exists BETWEEN the sequences. He also does."

  • Stowaway in the Sky

    Stowaway in the Sky

    "Such a picture, a specialist alone could shoot it. The last scene is especially good; the scene in that the child was following it further and further. The director put his own child to be the lead actor and let him do pretty dangerous things... "I only later realized it and thought, "Oh my God, what I have done!", he himself said once."

  • Purple Noon

    Purple Noon

    "This picture is very easy to approach, it's a typical 'movie'. One could very well begin watching movies with this one, right? One can very well see what the hero feels, can't one? Its last, which goes on with a pretty clever tempo, is brilliant as well."

  • Zazie dans le Métro

    Zazie dans le Métro

    "I thought it was a very sophisticated picture. Accompanied with a whistled melody, the story is portrayed in the eyes of the heroine's child - this director, indeed, uses children very adroitly, in AU REVOIR, LES ENFANTS, too."

  • Last Year at Marienbad

    Last Year at Marienbad

    ★★★★

    "He's a pioneer of Nouvelle Vague. This picture filmed a novel written by an author, eh, in my memory, named Robbe-Grillet. It caused hot discussions on itself. This movie is not very easy to approach - various oppositional notions, e.g., 'now vs. past' and/or 'reality vs. unreality', are presented in it. But its expressional methods very much stimulated my interest."

  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

    What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

    ★★★★

    "Even when she was young, Bette Davis had a funny face. A very attractive. She was also beautiful in JEZEBEL (1938), and excellent in ALL ABOUT EVE as well. I liked them. In this movie, too, she is fantastic, isn't she? She was not really that old at all, but her performance was terrifically convincing. In THE WHALES OF AUGUST she was really a grandma, but she, of course, was still brilliant, wasn't she?"

  • Lawrence of Arabia

    Lawrence of Arabia

    ★★★★★

    "It's a masterpiece of 70 mms, I think. When the camels suddenly went wild and O'Toole was injured, Lean, I've heard, wanted FIRST to know if he could still play! "How merciless!", O'Tool moaned. But, eh, I can very well see what a director feels and thinks, when he is working in full swing. But wait! Me, I am more tender."

  • Any Number Can Win

    Any Number Can Win

    "This director is a first-class suspense maker. It's thrilling! The use of the music is also nice, modern. And he used Delon and Gabin very cleverly - they well and clearly portrayed their characters. Its monochromic pictures were also very sharply shot. Excellent."

  • The Birds

    The Birds

    ★★★½

    "In Hitchcock's movies, mysteries, one sometimes finds slight inconsequences in the story. But, I think, it would be also a right opinion that movies should only be enjoyable. Well, I, I dread that many birds! Indeed, how did they shoot those scenes?!"

  • Red Desert

    Red Desert

    "Once I've ridden on an elephant with him at an Indian film festival. Journalist fussed over that 'two severe directors were together riding on an elephant', but we are NOT severe at all. Journalists watch us only when we are angry and they amuse themselves with it. "It's unfair", we talked each other. Indeed, how can one ALWAYS be angry, eh!? And now, in this movie, e.g., a scarlet room was very impressively used, and one can see clearly his talent in it."

  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    ★★★★

    "Elizabeth Taylor is terrific, isn't she? This true beauty plays that hideous woman, without regard to her looks, doesn't she? To Japanese actresses, too, it may not be the most important matter that their appearance is simply beautiful. They, even big stars as well, should follow her professionalism, I hope."

  • Bonnie and Clyde

    Bonnie and Clyde

    ★★★★★

    "When I've once visited USA, he welcomed me very kindly. When he was going to make TWO ON A SEESAW, he asked me if I could recommend anyone, and I recommended Kamatari Fujiwara. Unfortunately, this movie was not presented in Japan, but it was a very neat, little piece. When Kama-san [Mr. Kamatari] wanted to know why I recommended him, I said mockingly "because there was no dialogue text for you!". Then we burst into laughter."

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  • In the Heat of the Night

    In the Heat of the Night

    ★★★★

    "The original novel is also brilliant, but the movie has filmed it very skillfully, hasn't it? I love Sidney Poitier. I love his intelligent eyes. In the region where the racism is still deeply rooted, the case is being snappily cleared. The audience feel indeed satisfied."

  • The Charge of the Light Brigade

    The Charge of the Light Brigade

    "This movie did not especially come up. But I thought it was a very nice picture. In it even the finest details were well portrayed - e.g., in the battlefield, where people after people were dying, one heard a fly's buzz."

  • Midnight Cowboy

    Midnight Cowboy

    ★★★★

    "He's from UK, but he nevertheless very well portrayed an atmosphere of disease in New York City, didn't he? The actors, of course, performed brilliantly, and it made me think about what it would bring to live in such a run-down metropolis. Very depressing, isn't it?"

  • M*A*S*H

    M*A*S*H

    ★★★★½

    "Interesting. It looks 'messy', but, I saw, the screenplay is very solid. A black-comedy nicely made. Later I've heard that the author of the original was a surgeon. No wonder that the matters were concretely, objectively and therefore interestingly portrayed. This is also a kind of anti-war-movie, isn't it?"

  • Johnny Got His Gun

    Johnny Got His Gun

    "There are many anti-war-movies. But it is very difficult to shoot battle scenes, for if one simply shot, as many people actually do, scenes in that soldiers are firing, they would look brave and thus the war could be glorified. In this sense, this picture is a true ant-war movie."

  • The French Connection

    The French Connection

    ★★★★

    "I remember that it was, so to speak, a pioneer of 'car-chase-movies', and that cars were chasing cars at breakneck speed in it. Action scenes were terrific. Enjoyable it was! In any case, most of American movies at that time consisted in pretty good part of car scenes, in great detail portrayed - how one opens the door, get in and drive out of the parking lot and so on... If one cut away those car scenes the movies would shrink to about two thirds, I always say."

  • The Spirit of the Beehive

    The Spirit of the Beehive

    "At first glance it's a sweet piece, but really it is a wondrous, very horrific story - the cruelty children have was skillfully portrayed. And the children were well performing. The lighting and camera work had a very fine touch. A nice movie."

  • Solaris

    Solaris

    ★★★★★

    "We were very good friends. He was like a little brother for me. We once, drunk in Dom Kino, sang together SHICHININ NO SAMURAI's theme music. His expression of 'water', the way in that water is depicted, is really peculiar to him. This picture indeed makes me feel myself yearning to return to the earth."

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  • The Day of the Jackal

    The Day of the Jackal

    "The method with that the movie follows in very composed eyes how the hero is carrying out every preparation for an assassination one by one is, so to speak, without fat, I mean, brief and clear. A very thrilling touch."

  • Conversation Piece

    Conversation Piece

    "Visconti is a true blue blood. Whether because he was raised in such an environment or simply because of his blue-blood birth, he had a touch that none but he can have. I met him several times, but he was a hardly approachable person. If someone, e.g., during the shooting came in, he, I've heard, shouts at him in an aristocratic posture "leave from here!". He is a very severe person, I've heard."

  • The Godfather: Part II

    The Godfather: Part II

    ★★★★★

    "Among the GODFATHER trilogy I like PART II the best. The cold-hearted atmosphere, the terrible atmosphere in the family was very well depicted. It, accompanied with THAT music, really horrified my heart."

  • Sandakan No. 8

    Sandakan No. 8

    "We dined together, I remember, immediately before or after this movie. He was a very quiet, earnest person and liked to make movies that treated social issues. I therefore was surprised to see in this film that he was really competent also in portraying women. Kinuyo Tanaka was excellent. His UMI TO DOKUYAKU is also brilliantly made. I am 'afraid of' such a story, but he, he could depict it! He must have a very strong personality, doesn't he?"

  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    ★★★★★

    "Ah, so many actors perform 'too' brilliantly! How painful experiences everyone has in his life - so painful that they have got mentally that diseased... The actors portrayed it so skillfully, I simply admired it. That nurse is also teeeerrific!"

  • The Travelling Players

    The Travelling Players

    "He's a wonderful person. What he says makes one feel as if one's deepest soul is looked into by him. A true mature adult one could call him. Especially this picture was nothing less than 'mature eyes', wasn't it?"

  • Barry Lyndon

    Barry Lyndon

    ★★★★★

    "He made many masterpieces. I've heard that this picture was shot in the light of candles with highly sensitive films and special lenses. And he had got wonderful, very beautiful pictures.

  • Lullaby of the Earth

    Lullaby of the Earth

    "This movie is pretty well made. Above all, Mieko Harada was brilliant. I was convinced that the actress was going to better her skill further. It was why I used her in RAN, and, look, her Lady Kaede earned a big reputation abroad.

  • Annie Hall

    Annie Hall

    ★★★★★

    "Watching Woody Allen's pictures one clearly see that he's terrifically intellectual. Eh, I was afraid that he did not like my movies, for my movies are simple and are not such ones. But then Richard Gere told me Allen was my fan. I was very pleased!"

  • An Unfinished Piece for Player Piano

    An Unfinished Piece for Player Piano

    "Nikita is a very eloquent, lively man like a white bear, but shoots really, truly delicate pictures. Watch, e.g., his OCI CIORNIE and then the director himself! One could not believe THAT man really made THAT movie. In any case, he's full of power and talent."

  • Padre Padrone

    Padre Padrone

    "Those two brother-directors' movie is not only a wonderful picture in itself, but also based on a very difficult original. That intellectuality is, of course, wonderful, but moreover - uh, I cannot find the word for it - one feels oneself shaken from the deepest bottom of the earth. Terrific, isn't it? Indeed, a movie earns wideness and depth in various sense if brothers cooperated in directing, right? I envy them."

  • Gloria

    Gloria

    ★★★★

    "When I saw SHADOWS, because it was a very nice picture, I wanted to praise it. But he was so shy that he was somehow embarrassed and fled. His movies were not presented in Japan for long time, and I all the time concerned about him. But now, look, I was right, he showed himself to be very talented! This picture is one of my favorite Cassavetes'. Gena Rowlands' performance is also great. I was really sad to lose such a big talent. He was still so young!"

  • A Distant Cry from Spring

    A Distant Cry from Spring

    "I said to Mr. Yamada himself that one cannot praise enough that he succeeded in continuing to make the Torajiro-series throughout. It would be possible only if every characters in it was perfectly established and described. Well, this picture is, so to speak, SHANE [The theme music of SHANE (composed by Victor Young), which is very popular in Japan, is named "Haruka naru yama no yobigoe" (Call of Mountains From Far Away) in Japan. I cannot imagine that the movie's title has nothing to do with the theme music.] á la Japanese, isn't it?. Very well made."

  • La traviata

    La traviata

    "It filmed an opera. Do you know how difficult it is? I was also asked once by Seiji Ozawa if I could direct an opera. 'But I am a movie director, I cannot do it', I declined. Zeffirelli, on the other hand, has been working on the stage. No wonder that art, lighting, and costuming are all brilliant. Very beautiful picture."

  • Fanny and Alexander

    Fanny and Alexander

    ★★★★½

    "It's a long movie, follows a night throughout. Of course the camera and art succeeded in presenting an excellent color. But, above all, the small episodes, which let me imagine in what environment he had been raised, are interesting. I love his SMULTRONSTÄLLET and/or JUNGFRUKÄLLAN as well."

  • Fitzcarraldo

    Fitzcarraldo

    ★★★★

    "I am sorry that not many people have seen this movie yet. In it they go on a steamboat in the Amazon River upwards, pull the boat up on a hill and then lower it. What a hard work! The energy with that they really did it is well visible in the picture. By the way, it was before I saw the movie when I've met him. He, a very conscientious person, said that he wanted to give me a book but he unfortunately was going to depart that day. But he came to me the next day again! He said that he has canceled the air plane to find and hand me the book. "Here you are, I've found it!", he said. 'Such an earnest person well could make such a movie', I thought when I later saw his movie."

  • The King of Comedy

    The King of Comedy

    ★★★★½

    "Scorsese is, of course, a very good director and actor, but he is above all a wonderful person. He's energetically wrestling with various matters, e.g., how films, especially color films could be kept undamaged, he also looks after retired movie makers. He is, so to speak, a bundle of energy. The Japanese movie industry also would need such a person, I think."

  • Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

    Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

    "With Mr. Oshima I discussed many issues, e.g., the issue of film directors' associations. Many people say that he is impatient or so, but he really is a very consistent, earnest person. 'I rely on you to develop Japanese movies', I said him several times when we dined together. This picture must have been a very hard work, for he's a person who cannot save work at all. The cast is also pretty interesting. A really skilled film maker he is!"

  • The Killing Fields

    The Killing Fields

    "It's a story about the civil war in Cambodia. They brainwash even that little children. Can human being get so insane that they themselves don't see at all what they are doing? Isn't it horrific!? And wars justify such an insanity. Horrific. Well, the Cambodian guide was very natural, nicely performed, and brilliant."

  • Stranger Than Paradise

    Stranger Than Paradise

    "I did not meet him yet, but I was very very pleased to see such an interesting talent. I watched his movies all on rental videos. This movie is made according to the principle 'one-scene-one-shot'. The spaces between the sequences are brilliant: They are connected with darks, and there, BETWEEN the sequences, one really feels oneself seeing a movie! I'm looking forward to seeing his future. And this movie, in which some old films are also used, tells us that it is a talent to be able to shoot a good movie even on a not very high budget."

  • A Summer at Grandpa's

    A Summer at Grandpa's

    "He made also big pictures, e.g., BEIQING CHENGSHI (A CITY OF SADNESS). In the movie there are some points that one could not easily understand without thorough historical knowledge, but he has very sincere eyes. A wonderful movie maker. He reminds me of the times when Japanese movie industry was still seriously shooting pictures. I really love this movie. A very pleasant piece. I'm looking forwards to see his future."

  • Paris, Texas

    Paris, Texas

    ★★★

    "When HACHI-GATSU NO KYOSHIKYOKU premiered in Japan, I had a talk with him. There he forgot that it was an interview for a magazine, and asked me about practical, technical matters only, e.g., "Mr. Kurosawa, you let it rain really beautifully. How do you shoot it?" or so... To be honest, for me also such topics are more welcome, and we discussed it further. But the editors were pretty embarrassed."

  • Witness

    Witness

    "His PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK also presents a wonderful color and very interested me. This movie's story is described in a particular world, but the story, presenting the particular life so well that we outsiders can comprehend it, goes very tidily. Yes, it's a very tidy movie, so to speak, built on a solid foundation."

  • The Trip to Bountiful

    The Trip to Bountiful

    "Even a movie whose motif is a pretty small matter can be such a tidy picture. This movie is a very good example of that one can make a quality film without spending big money. I hope for many young people to see it."

  • When Father Was Away on Business

    When Father Was Away on Business

    ★★★

    "I was astonished when I saw his work for the first time. He's from Yugoslavia, is still very young. He nevertheless shoots wonderful pictures all with composure. Very skilled. His pictures came up also in Cannes. "We must not be lazy, for so many great talents appear one after another from various countries.", we talked."

  • The Dead

    The Dead

    ★★★½

    "A black coach and black horses emerge. That is the shadow of death. He shot this movie being supplied with oxygen, in such a condition he made it. No wonder that the picture is somehow demonic and horrific. When he, who was cross with the tops of the film production, was going to die, he shouted "Do you have a gun?! OK, let's kill them!", and then he died, I heard."

  • Where Is My Friend's House?

    Where Is My Friend's House?

    "I met him, and, as every good director is, he was a really nice person. I wondered how he could shoot such a movie, for all characters were so ordinary, natural, and convincing. I asked him. He said, he makes the people, because they are all laymen, REALLY think that they should finish the wash and/or do homework, and then he let them perform it."

  • Bagdad Cafe

    Bagdad Cafe

    "My Children recommended that I should see this movie, for it, they said, really interesting. Indeed, I really enjoyed it!! The use of color is brilliant, from it one can learn something. The actors are also very natural. And it somehow reminded me of DONZOKO... In any case, I say, that is 'a movie'! It was so interesting that I saw it two times successively."

  • The Whales of August

    The Whales of August

    "When I won a prize in U.K., I met him as a critic. He also shoots nonfictions - he has insightful, reliable eyes, right? I did not expect that he would begin shooting films, but I was not surprised when I saw that his IF... was a good movie. And THE WHALES OF AUGUST definitely convinced me of his talent."

  • Running on Empty

    Running on Empty

    "That scene! The scene that portrayed how the car's door suddenly opened and he, who was going to leave the town, left the dog there is wonderful. Lumet is one of my best friends, a friendly 'uncle' who is always smiling. But his pictures on NY's detectives, in a hard-boiled touch, are horrifically serious. By the way, the NY's block is very wide, isn't it? So he runs round on roller-skates. His assistant director could not follow him, ran into a toy shop to buy roller-skates, and thus could catch up with him. The second assistant, however, could not buy anything because roller-skates were sold out. The poor man must run after him on his own legs. He cheerfully told it himself to me."

  • My Neighbor Totoro

    My Neighbor Totoro

    ★★★★★

    "It's an animation, but I was deeply moved. I really liked that 'cat bus', for no one else would think up such a thing! His MAJO NO TAKKYUUBIN actually made me weep. Indeed, many talents nowadays whom I would have loved to kept for movies have gone to the animation industry... We, the movie industry, must not be lazy - we must make pictures that stimulate young talents' interest in movies."

  • Buddies

    Buddies

    "We know Shinobu Hashimoto (art) really for a long time, don't we? She and Yoshiro Muraki (art) have fallen in love and used to sit closely side by side in an open set. I know them ever since... Her art is really good, isn't it? That old good time when we were all so is unforgettable. Kuniko Mukoda wrote really solid scenarios... I am so sorry about her... By the way, the Mrs. in A-UN is a little similar to my Kiyoko, isn't she?"

  • La Belle Noiseuse

    La Belle Noiseuse

    "I actually would have liked to make the movie. Its original is Balzac's novel. A first-rate artist can see what we cannot see. I, e.g., paint quickly and carelessly, but an artist doesn't do it. He can hardly satisfy himself because he sees far more various things. That difficult theme was very nicely filmed."