Whether via Netflix or your local indie video store, these films—some of which provided inspiration to Western directors including Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Stephen Spielberg—are worth your time.
1. Seven Samurai
One of the all-time best movies—of any genre. Far more than a samurai film (if you think samurai films are about swordplay or Japanese culture), Seven Samurai is an epic tale of human suffering, cooperation, nobility, class, triumph and tragedy.
2. Hidden Fortress
My personal favorite, all about honor, nobility and journey. It was a close source in plot and characters for Star Wars. Watch the movie, the parallels are endless. George Lucas wanted Mifune to play Obi wan, apparently:
…upon which Clint Eastwood’s famous Fistful of Dollars “Spaghetti Western” was based. I think another one was based on Sanjuro, right?
5. The Samurai Trilogy
This scene is one of the great face-off battle scenes in literature, and in cinema: