The 25 Best Foreign Movies Streaming on Netflix Right Now

Ran (1985)

Country: Japan
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu

You can't improve on Shakespeare's language, and sticking a character in a Blockbuster to deliver a soliloquy isn't going to cut it. The most successful cinematic adaptions of the Bard's work, then, are the ones that meet the awesome power of his words with the strengths of the medium. Enter: Ran, Akira Kurosawa's take on King Lear.

Kurosawa transplants the basic moving parts of the plot—a kingdom passed down by an aging ruler to his three children—to feudal Japan and captures the magnificence of the most famous writer in all of history by creating some of the most indelible images in cinema.

What's even more impressive? Kurosawa was going blind during the shoot. Yes, this is Ludwig van-levels of achievement in the face of a failing human body. Most breathtaking is the battle sequence where a built-to-scale castle is burned to the ground. At the time, this was the most expensive film made in Japan, and it shows.

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