10 Most Famous Japanese Movies

Monday, January 24 by Mishka Bulldozer

If you need to brush up on your foreign cinema, consider catching the 10 most famous Japanese movies ever. Since there are so many movies to come out of this country, counting down the most famous Japanese movies is tough. One has to consider which of the following have had the longest-lasting impact on people as a whole and which has garnered the biggest critical response. With that in mind, here are the most famous Japanese movies ever.

  1. "Akira." A story about post-apocalyptic Tokyo being torn apart by biker punks and psychic terrorists? Sign us up! This is one of the most famous Japanese movies ever because it definitely legitimized anime as a viable art form to Western audiences.
  2. "Grave of the Fireflies." This is one of the most famous Japanese movies because it confronted the atrocities of World War II from a purely Japanese perspective. Two siblings battle starvation and the elements in this heart-wrenching tale of love and loss that is sure to bring at least a few tears to your eyes.
  3. "Battle Royale." One of the more controversial films on this list, it was an entrant to the "gore porn" genre and a criticism on the Japanese education system. A group of high schoolers are whisked away to an island where they are forced to take part in a deadly game of survival, pitting friends against friends and containing some truly gruesome executions.
  4. "The Seven Samurai." The most well-known film by Akira Kurosawa, this served as the inspiration for "The Magnificent Seven," quite arguably the most famous Western movie that doesn't star Clint Eastwood. With a reputation like that, you have to believe that it's one of the most famous Japanese movies ever.
  5. "Ichi The Killer." One of the most disturbing movies on this list, it tells the tale of a group of people who happen to kill people for the simple reason of killing. By delving into almost every sexual deviance that can be thought of, this movie garnered a lot of international fame, making it one of the most famous Japanese films ever.
  6. "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children." Say what you will about movies based on video games, "Final Fantasy VII" was definitely studio Square-Enix's main cash cow. In that vein, it makes sense that when they released CG trip-tik "Advent Children," chronicling another story set in the game's despotic setting, the entire gaming world tuned in.
  7. "Zatoichi." This is one of the most famous Japanese films ever made because, in an age where everything was about pushing technology forward, this film was created to embrace the late Akira Kurosawa's style. As such, auteur Takeshi Kitano did his best to emulate and eventually surpass the samurai films of old, garnering a lot of the world's attention in the process.
  8. "Spirited Away." Hayao Miyazaki tells the tale of a young girl who is forced into servitude in the spirit world in order to save her parents. This is one of the most famous Japanese movies ever because, besides being an amazing story, it was the first and only anime thus far to ever win an Academy Award for "Best Animated Feature."
  9. "Ran." In his last film., Akira Kurosawa had to go out with a bang. Go out he did with this monumental undertaking, with an avant garde use of color and costumes which gained costume designer Emi Wada an Academy Award for her work on the film.
  10. "The Audition." The tale of a girl who is clingy in the worst ways possible also happens to be one of the most famous Japanese movies ever made. It gained notoriety in film festivals and was almost balked by some connoisseurs of slasher genre. For its unabashed use of torture and the red stuff we all love, it has earned a spot on this list.