If it were not for Yojimbo, you would not have Fistful of Dollars, and without Hidden Fortress, you would not have Star Wars, which is why you should seek out Director Akira Kurosawa’s film legacy.
Whether it is Sergio Leone, George Lucas, or regardless of who you are, I hope watching Akira Kurosawa’s extensive film legacy will inspire you and the story tellers and future filmmakers for decades and centuries to come (I can’t wait for the holodeck version).
The best places to stream Akira Kurosawa is on Criterion.com $10.99 a month and HBO Max at $9.99. Although, the best FREE streaming service only requires a library card on Kanopy.com (I got one online in 15-20m).This is the TLDR (“too long did not read” aka summary).
My First Thought, is Watching These Movies on YouTube for Free, Legal?
The nerd I am, I had to find out if it was legal, and I am not talking about the movies that YouTube has quietly started to provide for free as long as you are willing to watch them with ads. What I am talking about are the movies uploaded by YouTube users.
From what I can tell, the movies that are uploaded are under the pretense of:
The Wild Wild West of the Internet, YouTube
Many of these movies are not available on any service although if you do not want to put up with the patchiness of what is available and what is not, head on over to the Criterion Channel. If not, these are the Akira Kurosawa movies on YouTube.
- Sanshiro Sugata/姿三四郎, 1943
- The Most Beautiful/一番美しく, 1944
- Sanshiro Sugata Part II/續姿三四郎, 1945
- The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail/虎の尾を踏む男達, 1945
- No Regrets for Our Youth/わが青春に悔なし, 1946
- One Wonderful Sunday/素晴らしき日曜日, 1947
- Drunken Angel/酔いどれ天使, 1948
- The Quiet Duel/静かなる決闘, 1949
- Stray Dog/野良犬, 1949
- Scandal/醜聞, 1950
- Rashomon/羅生門, 1950
- The Idiot/白痴, 1951
- Ikiru (to Live)/生きる, 1952
- Seven Samurai/七人の侍, 1954
- I Live in Fear/生きものの記録, 1955
- Throne of Blood/蜘蛛巣城, 1957
- The Lower Depths/どん底, 1957
- The Hidden Fortress/隠し砦の三悪人, 1958
- The Bad Sleep Well/悪い奴ほどよく眠る
- Yojimbo (the Bodyguard)/用心棒, 1961
- Sanjuro/椿三十郎, 1962
- High and Low (Heaven and Hell)/天国と地獄, 1963
- Red Beard/赤ひげ, 1965
- Dodesukaden/どですかでん, 1970
- Dersu Uzala/デルス・ウザーラ, 1975
- Kagemusha/影武者, 1980
- Ran/乱, 1985
- Dreams/夢, 1990
- Rhapsody in August/八月の狂詩曲, 1991
- Madadayo (Not Yet)/まあだだよ, 1993
Forget My Post, Use Reelgood.com If You Want an Organized Way to Scour the Internet For All of Akira Kurosawas’s Movies on Streaming Platforms, to Buying and Renting
If you agree, you will want to utilize the website Reelgood.com (I am not getting paid to say this), which is a more in-depth step up from Google’s “All Watch Options.” Also, if you love movies, I highly recommend that you use this site:
What a cool site because it has a user interface (UI) that is easy to pick up on, and it is not a challenge to navigate or use their platform which allows you to find out which services you can watch any particular movie on.
One example is Seven Samurai which they not only have a short synopsis on, but they also include the IMDB rating, along with every conceivable watching option:
- HBO Max – subscription ($14.99/month).
- Kanopy – subscription (FREE with a public library card or university ID).
- Buy – starting at $9.99
- The Criterion Channel – subscription ($10.99/month)
- Rent – starting at $2.99
“I don’t remember the first Kurosawa movie I watched, but I do know that I watched Ran countless times on BetaMax (VHS, lol).”My 90’s self
Like Many Things in This World, Some Things Are Worth Paying For (Deservedly So):
I had an HBO Max account for WestWorld and Raised by Wolves, but after those two series season endings, I canceled my subscription. So where I go from here on out to watch Akira Kurosawa movies will most likely be on either:
- Criterion Collection, Annual $99.99, Monthly $10.99.
- Kanopy, FREE with a library card (I did not have one, but I got one online in minutes). The only restriction is that you are only allowed to watch 8 movies a month.
RENT AND BUY
- Google Play, Rent $2.99/Buy $12.99
- iTunes, Rent $3.99/Buy $14.99
- Prime Video, Rent $2.99/Buy $9.99
- Vudu, Rent $2.99/Buy $14.99
- YouTube, Rent $2.99/Buy $12.99
I have the bulk of my movies on Google Play with a few on Amazon Prime, but looking over the pricing for Seven Samurai, you can’t beat $9.99 (as long as the subtitles and resolution is acceptable/comparable).
Although if you want to binge watch, and you want the best possible quality, I would say you have to go with the Criterion Channel since they also offer a 14-day trial for free (keep in mind, I get absolutely nothing for referring you). Oh, and if you do not know who the Criterion is or does:
A Library Card to a University ID Has Some Pull
Kanopy “thoughtful entertainment” allows for up to 8 movies a month for free if you have a Public Library card or University ID.
Kanopy is the best FREE place to stream Akira Kurosawa movies, and I signed up for a FREE library card in a matter of minutes.I think every state has public libraries.
Who Would Have Ever Thought a Japanese and an Italian Would Be So Influential in Film and American Westerns
If you do not know what I mean by that, these YouTubers have done some content that have helped me understand and respect the contributions of not only Akira Kurosawa but I also threw in a little Sergio Leone.
- Every Frame a Painting, Akira Kurosawa – composing movement.
- WatchMojo.com, The Top 10 Akira Kurosawa movies.
- CriterionCollection, George Lucas on Akira Kurosawa.
- Matt Draper, Yojimbo & Fistful of Dollars – how the Western was changed forever.
- Quizno, Yojimbo re-dubbed with a Fistful of Dollars score.
In Conclusion, Time to Bust Out the Credit Card or Library Card
The Criterion Channel and surprisingly a library card or University ID on Kanopy.com are the best ways to watch Akira Kurosawa movies.