Here is our list of the best samurai movies ever made. This list is not in rank order. These movies focus on the famous Japanese warriors known as samurai. These samurai movies are seen as highly rated classics and/or were extremely popular box office successes. For other popular martial arts movies, please visit Black Belt Wiki’s Best Martial Arts Movies section.
Best Samurai Movies – In alphabetical order (not rank order)
- Harakiri – A 1963 samurai movie that received a perfect 100 from the movie review site, Rotten Tomatoes.
- Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto – Part one of a trilogy focused on Musashi Miyamoto, Japan’s most famous swordsman. The legendary Toshiro Mifune plays Musashi Miyamoto in these samurai movies.
- Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple – Part two of a trilogy focused on Musashi Miyamoto, Japan’s most famous swordsman. The legendary Toshiro Mifune plays Musashi Miyamoto in these samurai movies.
- Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island – Part three of a trilogy focused on Musashi Miyamoto, Japan’s most famous swordsman. The legendary Toshiro Mifune plays Musashi Miyamoto in these samurai movies.
- Samurai Assassin – A 1965 Japanese movie starring Toshiro Mifune. This plot revolves around an assassination plot against a senior Shogun official.
- Sanjuro – A highly rated 1962 samurai movie starring Toshiro Mifune. This movie is seen as the sequel to Yojimbo.
- Seven Samurai – A 1954 Japanese martial arts movie starring Toshiro Mifune. A poor village hires seven samurai to defend them against hundreds of bandits. Many experts consider Seven Samurai as one of the best samurai movies ever made.
- The Sword of Doom – A 1966 Japanese movie focused on a skilled but amoral swordsman who slowly goes insane.
- The Tale of Zatoichi – This is a classic 1962 martial arts movie focused on a blind former samurai who is a master swordsman. The success of this movie generated numerous sequels.
- 13 Assassins – A 2010 samurai movie. Very bloody ending.
- Twilight Samurai – A 2002 samurai movie focused on a lowly samurai who cares deeply for his young daughters. This is a very tender movie.
- When The Last Sword Is Drawn – A 2003 samurai movie that focuses on a samurai willing to do anything for his family.
- Yojimbo – This 1961 Japanese martial arts movie was the basis for Clint Eastwood’s “A Fistful of Dollars”. The movie starred Toshiro Mifune and was directed by Akira Kurosawa.
Samurai TV Series
- Shintarō – The Samurai – This was a very popular Japanese TV series that ran in Australia in the 1960s.
Other Popular Samurai Movies
- The Last Samurai – This 2003 martial arts film stars Tom Cruise as an American military officer who embraces the life of a samurai.