The Legacy of ‘Seven Samurai’

A look at a host of other films influenced by Kurosawa’s classic.
Seven Samurai

If you don’t think Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is the greatest action film ever made, then I humbly suggest you leave here now and go watch it again, because it is. It combines cinematic artistry with narrative proficiency, rich characters with graceful technique, and drama with adrenaline. It is a template not only for quality action films but quality films in general, and in the 63 years since its release its esteem has only amplified.

This is partly because so many directors make reference to Seven Samurai. John Sturges (and last year, by proxy, Dominic Sena) outright remade the film as The Magnificent Seven, but dozens of other films have given nods to Kurosawa’s, both obviously and subtly. Films like Three Amigos, A Bug’s Life, Django Unchained, The Matrix Revolutions, Mad Max: Fury Road, and – duh – Star Wars have all borrowed elements from Seven Samurai, be it plot, dialogue, visuals, character, or what have you.

In the following comparative montage from Bill Rwehera for Fandor, the cinematic offspring of Seven Samurai have been collected and arranged via the elements they borrow to show just how lasting the influence of Kurosawa is, and also just how well-deserved is its designation as the greatest action film ever.


H. Perry Horton: Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist