If one is preparing a list of best films ever made, it is inevitable that a couple of Akira Kurosawa’s works are on that list; if one is listing the best filmmakers that ever lived, it is inevitable that Akira Kurosawa is on that list. Akira Kurosawa is one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of World Cinema who has had a significant impact on film craft and shaped storytelling techniques; he is credited with introducing Japanese cinema to the world. Known for his works like Rashomon, Ikiru, Throne of Blood, Seven Samurai, and Ran, among others, Kurosawa directed 30 films in his career spanning over five decades.

Following his death at the age of 88, the posthumous book A Dream is a Genius (Japanese Original: Yume wa tensai de aru) was published in the year 1999. Kurosawa shared films that have impacted him, films he liked over the year and would recommend. Keeping the list to 100 films, he limited one film per director and those who love cinema and want to watch great films or even those who want a new year goal go for the eclectic list by none other than one of cinema’s greatest filmmakers.

Read more: 100 Films Recommended by Akira Kurosawa: 50 Best Japanese Films of the 21st Century

Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa

The list is diverse, covering over nine decades, hundred directors, various languages, and various film genres and movements. From German Expressionist cinema to Italian Neo-Realism, from French New Wave to classic Japanese cinema, and more recent Iranian Poetic Realism, the list has films from all the most significant movements: it is not a list but a crash course in film history.

If that sounds heavy, there are also classic Hollywood films that would entertain on the dreariest of days, and it is a list for all days recommended by none other than Akira Kurosawa.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté
100 Films Recommended Japanese Master Filmmaker Akira Kurosawa
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) – German Original: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

1. Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl
Director: D. W. Griffith
Release: 1919

2. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (German Original: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari)
Director: Robert Wiene
Release: 1920

3. Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (German Original: Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler)
Director: Fritz Lang
Release: 1922

4. The Gold Rush
Director: Charlie Chaplin
Release: 1925

5. The Fall of the House of Usher
Director: Jean Epstein
Release: 1928

6. An Andalusian Dog (French Original: Un Chien Andalou)
Director: Luis Buñuel
Release: 1928

7. Morocco
Director: Josef von Sternberg
Release: 1930

8. The Congress Dances
Director: Erik Charell
Release: 1931

9. The Threepenny Opera
Director: G. W. Pabst
Release: 1931

10. Gentry My Songs Entreat (German Original: Leise Flehen Meine Lieder)
Director: Willi Forst
Release: 1933

11. The Thin Man
Director: W. S. Van Dyke
Release: 1934

12. My Little Neighbour, Yae
Director – Yasujiro Shimazu
Release: 1934

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

13. The Million Ryo Pot
Director: Sadao Yamanaka
Release: 1935

14. Capricious Young Men (Japanese Original: Akanishi Kakita)
Director: Mansaku Itami
Release: 1936

15. The Grand Illusion (French Original: La Grande Illusion)
Director: Jean Renoir
Release: 1937

16. Stella Dallas
Director: King Vidor
Release: 1937

17. Composition Class
Director: Kajirô Yamamoto
Release: 1938

18. Earth (Japanese Original: Tsuchi)
Director: Tomu Uchida
Release: 1939

19. Ninotchka
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Release: 1939

20. Ivan Groznyy
Director: Sergei Eisenstein
Release: 1944

21. My Darling Clementine
Director: John Ford
Release: 1946

22. It’s a Wonderful Life
Director: Frank Capra
Release: 1946

23. The Big Sleep
Director: Howard Hawks
Release: 1946

24. Bicycle Thieves
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Release: 1948

25. Aoi sanmyaku
Director: Tadashi Imai
Release: 1949

Voyage to Italy
Voyage to Italy (1953)

26. The Third Man
Director: Carol Reed
Release: 1949

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

27. Late Spring (Japanese Original: Banshun)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Release: 1949

28. Orpheus
Director: Jean Cocteau
Release: 1950

29. Carmen Comes Home
Director: Keisuke Kinoshita
Release: 1951

30. A Streetcar Named Desire
Director: Elia Kazan
Release: 1951

31. The Adultress (French Original: Thérèse Raquin)
Director: Marcel Carné
Release: 1953

32. The Life of Oharu
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Release: 1952

33. Voyage to Italy
Director: Roberto Rossellini
Release: 1954

34. Godzilla
Director: Ishirô Honda
Release: 1954

35. La Strada
Director: Federico Fellini
Release: 1954

36. Floating Clouds (Japanese Original: Ukigumo)
Director: Mikio Naruse
Release: 1955

37. Pather Panchali
Director: Satyajit Ray
Release: 1955

38. Daddy Long Legs
Director: Jean Negulesco
Release: 1955

39. The Proud Ones
Director: Robert D. Webb
Release: 1956

40. Sun in the Last Days of the Shogunate (Japanese Original: Bakumatsu taiyōden)
Director: Yūzō Kawashima
Release: 1957

41. The Young Lions
Director: Edward Dmytryk
Release: 1958

42. The Cousins (French Original: Les Cousins)
Director: Claude Chabrol
Release: 1959

43. The 400 Blows
Director: François Truffaut
Release: 1959

44. Breathless
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Release: 1960

45. Ben-Hur
Director: William Wyler
Release: 1959

46. Her Brother
Director: Kon Ichikawa
Release: 1960

47. The Long Absence (French Original: Une Aussi Longue Absence )
Director: Henri Colpi
Release: 1961

48. Stowaway in the Sky
Director: Albert Lamorisse
Release: 1960

49. Plein Soleil
Director: René Clément
Release: 1960

50. Zazie on the Subway (French Original: Zazie Dans le Metro)
Director: Louis Malle
Release: 1960

100 Films Recommended Japanese Master Filmmaker Akira Kurosawa
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

51. Last Year in Marienbad
Director: Alain Resnais
Release: 1961

52. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Director: Robert Aldrich
Release: 1962

53. Lawrence of Arabia
Director: David Lean
Release: 1962

54. The Big Snatch
Director: Henri Verneuil
Release: 1963

55. The Birds
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Release: 1963

56. The Red Desert
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Release: 1964

57. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Director: Mike Nichols
Release: 1966

58. Bonnie and Clyde – Penn,
Director: Arthur Penn
Release: 1967

59. In the Heat of the Night
Director: Norman Jewison
Release: 1967

60. The Charge of the Light Brigade
Director: Tony Richardson
Release: 1968

61. Midnight Cowboy
Director: John Schlesinger
Release: 1969

62. MASH
Director: Robert Altman
Release: 1970

63. Johnny Got His Gun
Director: Dalton Trumbo
Release: 1971

64. The French Connection
Director: William Friedkin
Release: 1971

65. Spirit of the Beehive
Director: Víctor Erice
Release: 1973

66. Solaris
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Release: 1972

67. The Day of the Jackal
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Release: 1973

68. Conversation Piece
Director: Luchino Visconti
Release: 1974

69. The Godfather Part II
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Release: 1974

70. Sandakan No. 8
Director: Kei Kumai
Release: 1974

71. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Director: Milos Forman
Release: 1975

72. The Travelling Players
Director: Theodoros Angelopoulos
Release: 1975

73. Barry Lyndon
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Release: 1975

74. Lullaby of the Earth
Director: Yasuzô Masumura
Release: 1976

75. Annie Hall
Director: Woody Allen
Release: 1977

100 Films Recommended Japanese Master Filmmaker Akira Kurosawa
Fanny and Alexander (1982)

76. An Unfinished Piece for Mechanical Piano
Director: Nikita Mikhalkov
Release: 1977

77. Padre Padrone
Director: Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani
Release: 1977

78. Gloria
Director: John Cassavetes
Release: 1980

79. A Distant Cry from Spring
Director: Yôji Yamada
Release: 1980

80. La Traviata
Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Release: 1982

81. Fanny and Alexander
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Release: 1982

82. Fitzcarraldo
Director: Werner Herzog
Release: 1982

83. The King of Comedy
Director: Martin Scorsese
Release: 1982

84. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Release: 1983

85. The Killing Fields
Director: Roland Joffé
Release: 1984

86. Stranger than Paradise
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Release: 1984

87. A Summer at Grandpa’s
Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Release: 1984

88. Paris, Texas
Director: Wim Wenders
Release: 1984

89. Witness
Director: Peter Weir
Release: 1985

90. The Trip to Bountiful
Director: Peter Masterson
Release: 1985

91. When Father was Away on Business
Director: Emir Kusturica
Release: 1985

92. The Dead
Director: John Huston
Release: 1987

93. Where is the Friend’s Home (Persian Original: Khane-ye doust kodjast?)
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Release: 1987

94. Baghdad Cafe
Director: Percy Adlon
Release: 1987

95. The Whales of August
Director: Lindsay Anderson
Release: 1987

96. Running on Empty
Director: Sidney Lumet
Release: 1988

97. My Neighbour Totoro (Japanese Original: Tonari no Totoro)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Release: 1988

98. Yakuza Ladies 3
Director: Yasuo Furuhata
Release: 1989

99. The Beautiful Troublemaker (French Original: La Belle Noiseuse)
Director: Jacques Rivette
Release: 1991

100. Fireworks (Japanese Original: Hana-bi)
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Release: 1997

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