->''"It is wonderful to create."''
-->-- '''Akira Kurosawa'''

Akira Kurosawa (黒澤 明, March 23, 1910 September 6, 1998) was a famous Japanese director, mainly known in the West for his samurai films, such as ''Film/SevenSamurai,'' ''Film/{{Ran}},'' and ''Film/{{Yojimbo}}.'' Other notable films include: ''Film/{{Rashomon}},'' ''Film/TheHiddenFortress,'' ''Film/ThroneOfBlood,'' ''Film/{{Ikiru}},'' ''Film/DersuUzala,'' and ''Film/{{Sanjuro}}.''

Born on March 23, 1910, Kurosawa is widely considered one of the best and most important directors of the 20th century, Kurosawa made films that were very influential on many American and European film directors. They include Creator/GeorgeLucas (the ''Franchise/StarWars'' series was heavily influenced by ''Film/TheHiddenFortress''), John Sturges (''Film/TheMagnificentSeven'' is a direct remake of ''Seven Samurai'') and Creator/SergioLeone (''Film/AFistfulOfDollars'' is a direct remake of ''Yojimbo''). His "Big Four" films (''Rashomon,'' ''Ikiru,'' ''Seven Samurai,'' and ''Ran'') are often -- if not always -- included in lists of the best films of all time.

Excepting ''Ikiru,'' all of his films from 1948's ''Drunken Angel'' to 1965's ''Film/RedBeard'' featured the actor Creator/ToshiroMifune. In 1965, the two had a falling out during the production of ''Red Beard'' and did not speak or see each other until a brief, tearful reunion in 1993. There were rumors that they [[WhatCouldHaveBeen would have collaborated on Kurosawa's next film]] after his upcoming project ''Film/AfterTheRain,'' but they [[AuthorExistenceFailure both died within a year of each other,]] with Kurosawa dying before ''After the Rain'' began filming. There was another chance in 1975, as the Soviet producers originally wanted Mifune in the title role of ''Film/DersuUzala,'' but it was prevented largely by Mifune's schedule. After 1965, there were only a few times where one spoke ill of the other, but otherwise they thought of each other -- and their films together -- with high regard.

The other actor most identified with Kurosawa is Takashi Shimura. Shimura appeared in Kurosawa's first film, 1943's ''Sanshiro Sugata'' and appeared in every one of Kurosawa's films from ''Sanshiro Sugata'' to 1965's ''Red Beard'' except for ''The Lower Depths.'' Unlike Mifune, however, Kurosawa and Shimura never had a falling out and remained friends until Shimura's death in 1982. Kurosawa wrote a small role for his friend in 1980's ''Film/{{Kagemusha}},'' which was cut from the Western release of the film (but has since been added back on Creator/TheCriterionCollection DVD).

Kurosawa's films are notable for being stunning visually, with beautiful backgrounds, sometimes verging on SceneryPorn. Try watching ''Ran'' and not falling in love with some of the shots, or considering it the most beautiful movie ever made.

He was a notorious PrimaDonnaDirector, to the point where he earned the nickname "The Emperor".

Most of Kurosawa's earlier films subscribed to the Japanese virtues of teamwork and conformism. But many of his later films from the late Forties onwards into his golden age have been about rebels, misfits and nonconformists.

[[WhatCouldHaveBeen One of Kurosawa's disappointments was that he never was able to make a]] ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'' film, as Toho turned down his requests to do it, fearing that Kurosawa's epic style would completely demolish the usual budget of the franchise.

Kurosawa passed away on September 6, 1998 at the age of 88.

!! Filmography:

* ''Uma'' (1941) - Kurosawa's final production as an assistant director, and he also co-wrote and co-edited the film. Sometimes included in Kurosawa's filmography because he took over most of the production from his mentor and friend Kajiro Yamamoto. Often thought by some to be lost, it actually still exists in a presentable form and was shown in UsefulNotes/TheUnitedStates in theaters in the 1980's. It's just awfully difficult to find.
* ''Sanshiro Sugata'' (1943)
* ''The Most Beautiful'' (1944)
* ''Sanshiro Sugata Part II'' (1945)
* ''The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail'' (1945, not released until 1952) - This and the preceding two were propaganda movies that Kurosawa and Shimura were forced to write, direct and star in (respectively) during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII despite the fact that both were pacifists. They didn't get wide release in America until Creator/TheCriterionCollection box set ''[=AK100=]'' in 2009, mostly because after the war, Kurosawa saw them as an OldShame (although they all remained in his filmography unlike ''Those Who Make Tomorrow'').
* ''Film/NoRegretsForOurYouth'' (1946)
* ''Those Who Make Tomorrow'' (1946) - A co-direction with his mentor Kajiro Yamamoto, Kurosawa was essentially forced to co-direct the film and was so disgusted with it that he left it out of his filmography, which most Western film scholars and Wikipedia also do.
* ''One Wonderful Sunday'' (1947)
* ''Drunken Angel'' (1948)
* ''The Quiet Duel'' (1949)
* ''Film/StrayDog'' (1949)
* ''[[Film/{{Scandal1950}} Scandal]]''
* ''Film/{{Rashomon}}'' (1950)
* ''The Idiot'' (1951)
* ''Film/{{Ikiru}}'' (1952)
* ''Film/SevenSamurai'' (1954)
* ''I Live in Fear'' (1955)
* ''Film/ThroneOfBlood'' (1957)
* ''The Lower Depths'' (1957)
* ''Film/TheHiddenFortress'' (1958)
* ''Film/TheBadSleepWell'' (1960)
* ''Film/{{Yojimbo}}'' (1961)
* ''Film/{{Sanjuro}}'' (1962)
* ''Film/HighAndLow'' (1963)
* ''Film/RedBeard'' (1965)
* ''Film/{{Dodeskaden}}'' (1970)
* ''Literature/DersuUzala'' (1975) - Adapted from a Russian novel, this is Kurosawa's only non-Japanese language film.
* ''Film/{{Kagemusha}}'' (1980)
* ''Film/{{Ran}}'' (1985)
* ''Film/AkiraKurosawasDreams'' (1990)
* ''Rhapsody in August'' (1991)
* ''Madadayo'' (1993)
* ''Film/AfterTheRain'' - This film was written by Kurosawa and he planned on directing it, but his 1998 death put a stop to that. It was directed by his friend Takashi Koizumi, and many Kurosawa fans consider ''After the Rain'' to be as much a Kurosawa film as it is Koizumi's... Which may be accurate, considering that Kurosawa's pre-production methods were as meticulous as Hitchcock's or Kubrick's. Another one of his scripts that he planned on eventually directing, ''The Sea is Watching,'' was made by another director in 2002.
* ''Gendai oh Noh'' (planned for 2010, but official date TBA) - A documentary about Noh Theater that Kurosawa started while waiting for ''Ran'' to find funding. ''Gendai'' was promptly abandoned once ''Ran'' found funding, but Kurosawa always intended to finish it. In honor of the centennial of Kurosawa's birth, the film is being completed and will include Kurosawa's hour-plus of original footage.