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The 25 Most Influential Directors of All Time, From Scorsese to Kubrick

The 25 Most Influential Directors of All Time, From Scorsese to Kubrick

Articles - Directing

12. Akira Kurosawa (1910 – 1998)

One need look no further than John Sturges’ The Magnificent Seven (based on The Seven Samurai), Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (a remake of Yojimbo) or George Lucas’s Star Wars (inspired by Hidden Fortress) to give credit where it’s due.

In a Time remembrance at Akira Kurosawa’s death, director Zhang Yimou said that “Other filmmakers have more money, more advanced techniques, more special effects. Yet no one has surpassed him.”

Says Facets’ Ray Privett, “Kurosawa was one of the first ‘foreign’ filmmakers whose work I encountered. His drawing on texts I already knew—Macbeth, King Lear and so forth—provided an entry point into a rich and dynamic body of work. But his situating of these texts in a world I didn’t know—Japan—helped me reach beyond familiar reference points in my cinephilia.”

Such is the mystery of Kurosawa: a man who made films in his native Japan, but was more greatly appreciated in the west. He made movies for the people of his country, but was criticized for alienating Japanese audiences. He was a director revered in America when relatively few of his 30 films ever made it to the continent. Yet he remains one of our greatest storytellers, mastering the art of effecting a cultural tale with worldwide significance.

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  1. Avatar

    R. Taylor

    January 6, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    Where the heck is David Lean?!

  2. Avatar


    February 25, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    david lean? where is andrei tarkovsky?

  3. Avatar


    March 8, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    Where is Satyajit ray, the greatest indian filmmaker?

  4. Avatar

    Violet Ray

    May 5, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Where are the women?

  5. Avatar

    Roger Howerton

    May 9, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Yes, David Lean has should be here, and how ’bout William Wyler?

  6. Avatar


    July 25, 2019 at 1:30 am

    For me, it’s definitely Lars vor Trier with his impecable style and metaphors. His Melancholia drama was just astonishing with its sci-fi influences and Kirsten Dunst starring. I wrote more than 50 movie reviews on all of his films starting with The Orchid Gardener. I wonder how may times Willem Dafoe wanted to leave the projects.

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