Top 100 Movies of All Time Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai
Reader Rating1 Votes

Top 100 Movies of All Time – Seven Samurai. Here at THiNC. we really do one thing, and we do it really well. Modern mindjob movies that make you think. But I wouldn’t say that we really talk much about important films. Actually, I spend a lot of time talking about how Hollywood gets it wrong, with their remakes, and their formulaic and safe approach to movie making. But Hollywood has gotten it right. Once or twice. And I realized this the other day when a couple of us watched Taxi Driver, and my mind literally exploded. And so, with that in mind, I plan to do 100 days in a row of the top 100 Hollywood films of all time. If you’d like to read other top 100 discussions, you can find them all right here.

Now, who gets to say which movies are the top 100? Great question. Well, it isn’t me of course. I don’t know what I’m doing in this space. But thankfully, The Hollywood Reporter took the time out to survey Writers, Directors, Actors, and movie insiders of Hollywood to make a list of the top 100. And if you want a sneak peak of what the next 100 days will look like here at THiNC. you can check it out right here.

I started work on watching and reviewing these movies back in April, and it’s taken me a while to get through them all. But now that I am finally done, I really think it’ll be a pretty fantastic series. I learned a ton about movies I would have never watched if it weren’t for this list. Some I hated, and I was honest about that. Some I was surprised, and loved, and I was honest about that too. It should be a pretty great fun of films. So, join me on this journey and watch along with me as we talk our way through the “Top 100 Hollywood Movies of all time.”

Top 100 Movies of All Time Seven Samurai

I gotta say, the Seven Samurai is mentioned so much, and so often, by amazing directors, that I was extraordinarily daunted that this is where the list was going to start. Here is what the Hollywood reporter had to say about it:

It’s the only Japanese film on the list and later was remade as The Magnificent Seven, a Western with Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson.

The Hollywood Reporter

Movie #1 – Seven Samurai Walkthrough

Right out of the gates, Seven Samurai sets us up for the finale. Bandits, about to attack a village, decide to hold off and wait until after the harvest because they had raided the town too recently to make it worth their while. A villager over hears the bandits, and conveys the horrible news to his family and friends. And the town comes up with a plan… they will hire samurai to help protect the town. Only problem? They have no money. So, instead they will pay with food. (Wait what? Is this a test of the samurai and their honor code? Also, I thought that samurai were duty bound to protect the weak and the innocent? These samurai definitely don’t seem interested in duty. Like at all.) Regardless, after debates about the right number of samurai to hire, the town settles on seven, and begins the arduous task of bringing in the warriors to protect the town.

The first samurai the townspeople convince is Kambei (Takashi Shimura), wherein he cuts off his topknot in order to seem to be a bald monk. (Apparently, a samurai’s topknot is a symbol of his honor?) After convincing Kambei, the town sets out to assemble the next six. And this part of the movie really does feel like a heist movie setup. Or the beginning of an A-team episode! Kambei convinces a young samurai who really just wants to convince others he’s a man. He pulls in a friend of his that fought in the war with him. An amazing archer. A wood chopper. And then there is Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune) who is probably lying about being a samurai. And as the team gets pulled together, one by one, these men decide they’ll a join in on this mission that most likely will be a suicide mission. Seven men fighting against some unknown large throng of bandits? “I love it when a plan comes together.”

And that is when the film begins its Three Amigos’ing of the rest of the film. Now, yes, I understand that The Three Amigos came second. And Seven Samurai came first. I get that. But I just kept laughing and laughing as the village people were trained and as their plan started coming together. “Sew like the wind grandma, sew like the wind!” And as the townspeople are trained, the young samurai falls in love with one of the villager’s daughters who has been hidden from these warriors. And it is Kikuchiyo, the silly buffoon, that actually creates the trust necessary between the villagers and the warriors that will prove seminal in their fighting together effectively.

After more than an hour and a half of setup, the movie’s last hour and a half unfolds with a number of increasingly violent battles. It is the final battle that is filmed in a torrential downpour that is a real feat. I was very impressed with how the film kept the audience from being confused. Sure, there are horses, and mud, and numerous threads happening at once, but I found the action to be extremely followable. I actually laughed when I saw that diagram of the number of bandits that was meticulously updated as each one was killed. It was a basically the deathstar countdown from Star Wars in reverse. It was a fantastic way to keep the audience aware and engaged as the movie continued on its way.

Then What’s Up With that Seven Samurai Ending??

Probably the one monkey wrench that the movie throws at the viewer that makes it truly great is its ending. I knew where the movie was going. I knew the samurai would win (I had seen The Three Amigos hadn’t I?) but I didn’t expect that ending. So, what happens? Well, as the movie comes to a close, the bandits are all killed, and four of the seven samurai are dead. The villagers warmed to the samurai during the battle, and their secret stores of sake and food came out. But once it is over, the villagers don’t even thank their protectors. They just go back to farming their fields just like before. It’s as if the peasants are admitting they just used their protectors, and were now discarding them now that the threat was over.

Worse, I got the feeling that these three survivors were scarred with the guilt of having survived when their comrades hadn’t. We know from earlier in the film that they were also the only survivors during the attack on their lord. Almost like a failed kamikaze pilot who was unable to fulfill his mission. But what really had me completely confused, was Katsuhiro… the young man who was determined to prove he was samurai worthy. He was in love with one of the young women in the village, Shino. And we got the feeling that she too was in love with him. This though isn’t the way of things. A samurai and a villager aren’t allowed to be together because of the different classes. He’s a Jedi… I mean, a Bushido, and is not allowed to defy its ideals. And she cannot defy her father. And as the movie comes to a close, he looks on mournfully as she goes back to work in the rice paddy.

I would say that the movie had a happy ending, right up until the point that it didn’t. The villagers dismissed the warriors. The star-crossed lovers are broken apart. And the samurai are left to the mourning of their dead as they look upon their companion’s graves. We can almost sense their realization that it is their lot to head off, down the road, to the next futile battle, where they will finally die, or will mourn yet another lost brother. It is a realization at the futility of it it all.

What’s funny is that I began discounting the movie as soon as it kicked into The Three Amigos mindset. But it was the ending that I see now makes the movie really great. Yes, it is this movie that set up the heist setup trope. It was this movie that created the defender of the innocent villager idea. But I was laughing that it would be trapped in its own creation. But it ultimately wasn’t. It setup the plot and the direction of the film, and we ultimately got to our destination, but once we arrived, we all were asked to question the morality of the entire endeavor. It was a very interesting right hook. And it really salvaged the movie for me. It was definitely worth the 3+ hours I invested in watching it. Even though I didn’t think it would be worth the experience. See?!? Movie #1 down – and look at all we’ve (I’ve) learned today!

The Impact of Seven Samurai

Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai was actually, largely impacted by Hollywood… not the other way around. And in Japan, Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai did not receive the acclaim it got from America and the rest of the world. The story-line of Seven Samurai has been recycled endlessly. Not just in remakes (1960, and 2016) but also in countless science fiction movies like, Rogue One for one and in animated movies like A Bug’s Life. And as I pointed out throughout, the setup of Seven Samurai was used in numerous television plot formulas… It was obviously an enormously impactful film on Hollywood and other film makers around the world.

Edited by: CY