Unless you went to film school, or just obsessively watch movies without any formal degrees on the bedroom wall, the name Akira Kurosawa might not ring any bells. And that’s totally understandable. The most widely recognized filmmakers tend to be ones who’ve consistently worked in the Hollywood system. Ask any casual Joe or Jane on the street to name some movie directors, and they’ll most likely cite giants like Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, and—at least we’d hope—Stanley Kubrick.
But here’s the thing: The majority, if not all, of cinema’s most celebrated moviemakers of our time have been greatly influenced by Kurosawa. One could even say that, without his contributions to the art-form, film as we know it today would be completely different, perhaps much worse. Born on March 23, 1910, in Tokyo, Japan, Kurosawa emerged as a multi-tasking filmmaker (he wrote, edited, produced, and directed) with his 1943 debut, Sanshiro Sugata, the first of his 30 movies spanning a 57-year career.
Today, film historians look upon Kurosawa movies like Rashomon, Seven Samurai, and Ran as highly influential and superlative examples of both world cinema and dude-friendly action flicks—OK, so the latter is more our expert analysis. Fire up that Netflix queue as we break down the 10 Reasons Why You Should Watch Akira Kurosawa Movies.