With its ric fighting history from the ancient samurai to modern-day Yakuza, the 10 best Japanese action movies will definitely have you at the edge of your seat. Japanese action movie directors are artistic and creative in the way they build suspense. When you watch these movies, you’ll know why the Japanese film industry has strongly influenced many Western directors. 

  1. “Seven Samurai.” Considered by many as one of the greatest films ever made, this film continues to be recognized even in the West. Follow the story of a band of samurai who ar taken into service to help protect a farming village from bandits.

  2. “Sanjuro.” For a black and white classic, “Sanjuro” still manages to project itself as a full-blown action movie. The samurai in this tale helps a young man save his uncle who was incarcerated unfairly.

  3. “Tokyo Fist.” In this Japanese boxing movie, the most unexpected and tame salesman becomes a serious boxer. He puts his new skills to use when he catches an old friend getting too close to his wife.

  4. “Branded to Kill.” Now an acknowledged cult classic worldwide, this film has even been an influence to international film directors such as John Woo and Quentin Tarantino. It follows the life of a Japanese hired assassin.

  5. “Yojimbo.” The storyline of this film tells of a samurai who saves a small town by pitting their two battling gangs against each other. The movie was influential to both Japanese and Western film industries alike.

  6. “The Hidden Fortress.” An influence to George Lucas and "Star Wars Episode IV", this action adventure tells of two peasants who help a mysterious man and woman safely into enemy territory. Little did the peasants know, they were actually escorting a famous general and a princess.

  7. “Ran.” Based on a Japanese legend and on Shakespeare’s "King Lear", this film depicts the consequences when an elderly warlord relinquishes his power to his three sons. The action begins when two of the corrupt sons turn against their aging father.

  8. “Death Note.” Watch this two-part live-action series to learn what happens when a university student vows to clean the world of bad guys using a supernatural notebook. These movies became especially popular as they already had a strong following from the manga and anime versions.

  9. “Howl’s Moving Castle.” Making the most money in Japanese film history, this animated action movie is based on a book of the same title, written by British author Diana Wynne Jones. It was even nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards.

  10. “Battle Royale.” This film caused a lot of controversy as it depicted the Japanese government forcing secondary school students to kill each other. See why Quentin Tarantino names this movie as one of his all-time favorites.