9. Onimasa (1982)

Director: Hideo Gosha

When it was released in 1982, Hideo Gosha’s Onimasa was a step away from his action films of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Told through the eyes of Matsue (Masako Natsume), the adopted daughter of yakuza boss Onimasa, the film's plot stretches from early 1900s Japan to the beginnings of World War II. Although the story is told from a female protagonist's point-of-view, Tatsuya Nakadai’s character, Onimasa is paid much attention; he's a somewhat delusional boss who wishes to live the life of a samurai.

Onimasa is beautifully orchestrated with both lead actors masterfully handling their crafts. While it doesn’t feature as much violence as Gosha’s previous efforts, it’s a humane drama packed with humor and tragedy.