Cast and Crew: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura
What It’s About: Villagers threatened with starvation at the hands of bandits who demand their crop decide to hire samurai to protect them, but the wages they can offer attract only seven. Can this rag-tag group train and lead the villagers to victory against the equally desperate raiders?
Why Watch it Today?: Seven Samurai was released in Japan as Shichinin no samurai today in 1954, influencing countless films and inspiring many variations on the basic theme of a small group the helps defend a village, town, or even planet against invaders. Seven Samurai sets itself apart from almost all the films it has influenced by featuring well-developed characters, commentary on life in a highly structured society (there is no happy ending to its love story, for example) and the nature of each group, great performances, and in the beautiful direction from Akira Kurosowa. You may have seen the plot before, but you’ve never seen it done this well.