In his native country he is famous as a comedian and talk show host, but has achieved international success with Takeshi's Castle, which was given a Gag Dub as MXC in the US, as well as forays into more serious film work, such as Sonatine and Ghost in the Shell. Nowadays he is most famous for portraying the titular blind samurai in Zatoichi.
Also the creator of a video game, Takeshi's Challenge.
As an actor, he is usually credited "Beat" Takeshi.
Partial Filmography:Directed (Acting roles marked with an *):
- Violent Cop* (1989)
- Boiling Point* (1990)
- A Scene at the Sea (1991)
- Sonatine* (1993)
- Getting Any ?* (1995)
- Hana-bi*, aka Fireworks (1997)
- Kikujiro* (1999)
- Brother* (2000)
- Zatoichi* (2003)
- Outrage* (2010)
- Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983)
- Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
- Battle Royale (2000)
- Ghost in the Shell (2017)
- Yakuza 6 (2016)
Tropes associated with Kitano's filmography:
- Chronically Killed Actor: Kitano gets killed in many movies he directs, especially the ones involving yakuzas.
- Directed by Cast Member: With some exceptions, Kitano usually acts in movies he directs.
- Genre Adultery: Back in the late 80s, nobody in Japan would have expected the creator of Takeshi's Castle to direct a police drama and a variety of films with serious tones afterwards. Due to the comedic roots of his career, Kitano's skills as a director took some time to get recognized in his country.
- Renaissance Man: Wether it's about playing in a movie, writing/editing/directing a movie, creating a TV show, writing books, or even making a video game, Takeshi is quite the versatile artist.
- Yakuza: A theme explored in movies such as Sonatine and Outrage.