Director: Akira Kurosawa Cast: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu

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Ran is Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa's reinterpretation of William Shakespeare's King Lear. The Lear counterpart is an elderly 16th-century warlord (Tatsuya Nakadai), who announces that he's about to divide his kingdom equally among his three sons. In his dotage, he falls prey to the false flattery of his treacherous sons (Akira Terao and Jinpachi Nezu), while banishing his youngest son (Daisuke Ryu), the only member of the family who loves him enough to tell him the unvarnished truth. Thanks to his foolish pride, his domain collapses under its own weight as the sons battle each other over total control. Kurosawa's first film in five years, Ran had been in the planning stages for twice that long; Kurosawa had storyboarded the project with a series of vivid color paintings that have since been published in book form in England. The battle scenes are staged with such brutal vigor that it's hard to imagine that the director was 75 years old at the time. This 160-minute historical epic won several international awards, but it was not a hit in Japan, and it would be five more years before Kurosawa would be able to finance another picture.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/22/2005
UPC: 0715515016827
Original Release: 1985
Rating: R
Source: Criterion
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [Wide Screen]
Sound: [Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time: 2:40:00

Special Features

Restored high-definition digital transfer; Audio commentary by Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince; An appreciation of the film by director Sidney Lumet. "A.K.," a 74-minute making-of film by director Chris Marker. "Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create"; A 37-minute documentary "Image: Kurosawa's Continuity," a 35-minute video piece; New video interview with actor Tatsuya Nakadai; Original theatrical trailer. New essay by film critic Michael Wilmington; and a new and improved English subtitle translation.

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tatsuya Nakadai Lord Hidetora Ichimonji
Akira Terao Tarotakatora Ichimonji
Jinpachi Nezu Jiromasatora Ichimonji
Daisuke Ryu Saburonaotora Ichimonji
Mieko Harada Lady Kaede
Yoshiko Miyazaki Lady Sue
Hisashi Igawa Kurogane
Masayuki Yui Tango
Takeshi Nomura Tsurumaru
Daisuke Oka Actor
Jun Tazaki Ayabe
Hitoshi Ueki Fujimaki
Toshiya Ito Naganuma
Kazuo Kato Ikoma
Takeshi Kato Hatakeyama
Kenji Kodama Shirane
Norio Matsui Ogura

Technical Credits
Akira Kurosawa Director,Editor,Screenwriter
Tameyuki Aimi Makeup
Katsumi Furukawa Executive Producer
Masato Hara Producer
Jiro Hirai Set Decoration/Design
Masato Ide Screenwriter
Mitsuyuki Kimura Set Decoration/Design
Shinobu Muraki Production Designer
Yoshiro Muraki Production Designer
Chihako Naito Makeup
Asakazu Nakai Cinematographer
Hideo Oguni Screenwriter
Yasuyoshi Ototake Set Decoration/Design
Ulrich Pickardt Production Manager
Takao Saito Cinematographer
Tsuneo Shimura Set Decoration/Design
Serge Silberman Producer
Noriko Takamizawa Makeup
Toru Takemitsu Score Composer
Yoshiro Tonsho Set Decoration/Design
Masaharu Ueda Cinematographer
Shohichiro Ueda Makeup
Emi Wada Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Ran: The Film
1. Boar Hunt [9:05]
2. A Dream [3:06]
3. Hidetora Steps Aside [9:38]
4. Banished [3:40]
5. Lord Taro [4:57]
6. "A Gourd in the Wind" [8:22]
7. Jiro's Plan [2:43]
8. Betrayed Again [8:22]
9. The Truth [9:32]
10. Lord Jiro [16:11]
11. Tsurumaru [10:02]
12. Lady Kaede [12:51]
13. Saburo Is Needed [5:22]
14. "Bring Back the Head" [9:33]
15. "Don't Crush Me" [4:54]
16. A Message From Saburo [5:47]
17. Lost [3:08]
18. War Awaits [5:21]
19. Found [9:17]
20. Jiro Attacks [6:01]
21. Father and Son [5:04]
22. The House of Ichimonji Falls [5:55]
23. End Credits [3:33]
1. Establishing Hidetora/The Fool [9:05]
2. Noh Style/Kurosawa's Fears [3:06]
3. Historical Sources [9:38]
4. Visual Motifs [3:40]
5. Lady Kaede [4:57]
6. Machinations [8:22]
7. Jiro [2:43]
8. Buddhism/Hidetora's Demise [8:22]
9. Abstracted Action/Class Warfare [9:32]
10. Hell [16:11]
11. Noh and Shakespeare/Shooting Methods [10:02]
12. Performance High Point [12:51]
13. A Distant Point of View [5:22]
14. Kyoami's Role/A Woman's Rage [9:33]
15. An Old Artist/Didacticism [4:54]
16. Technique [5:47]
17. Disintegration of Narrative [3:08]
18. Epic Filmmaking/Pure Pessimism [5:21]
19. Oversize Performances [9:17]
20. Modern-World Parallels/Photographic Realism [6:01]
21. Distance/Didacticism [5:04]
22. Kurogane [5:55]
23. Summary Statement [3:33]
Disc #2 -- Ran: The Supplements
1. Watching Akira Kurosawa [7:11]
2. Preparations [6:20]
3. Scene 52 [5:11]
4. Battle [4:51]
5. Patience [1:15]
6. Faithfulness [6:27]
7. Speed [4:06]
8. Horses [5:59]
9. Lacquer and Gold [5:01]
10. Horror [4:42]
11. Fire [7:05]
12. Fog [5:26]
13. Chaos [10:53]
1. Kurosawa's Passion [6:11]
2. Makeup [2:22]
3. The Burning Scale [9:44]
4. Kaede's Seduction [3:40]
5. Lady Sue's head [2:54]
6. An Inner Storm [2:05]
7. The Summation of a Life's Work [2:55]
1. Boar Hunt [3:25]
2. Hidetora Steps Aside [4:57]
3. Banished [:49]
4. Lord Taro [2:04]
5. "A Gourd in the Wind" [:44]
6. Jiro's Plan [:46]
7. Betrayed Again [3:59]
8. Lord Jiro [5:13]
9. The Storm/Tsurumaru [3:11]
10. Lady Kaede [:39]
11. Saburo Is Needed [1:53]
12. A Message From Saburo [1:19]
13. Lost [:33]
14. War Awaits [4:03]
15. Father and Son [2:22]

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Ran 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
ChArLiEtHeHuNtEd More than 1 year ago
I have multiple copies of this movie. Still have my VHS copy actually. I can't bring myself to part with any of them. This version is hands down the best though...it's awesome. So awesome. If you haven't seen it, I'm jealous because you get to see it new.
Too few flicks like this one.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Words fail describing how good this movie or why it must be viewed. The inner turmoil of a powerful warlord are brought out in the open. At once sad, violent but very beautiful, this film will engage the senses and touch the heart.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Barnes and Noble customer wrote that this film is best viewed on the big screen...to that I would suggest a big home screen! The great plus of seeing this at home is you can rerun the glorious scenes, savoring the magnificent cinematography and the brilliant score by Toro Takemitsu. Although a great theater experience, Ran is a must-have DVD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
“Ran” is the first film I watched by Akira Kurosawa. I am now a huge fan of his work thanks to my Amazonian friends who had already seen it. When a living legend like Kurosawa, does a King Lear adaptation at the tender age of 75, one would expect a small-scale film concentrating on the human elements of the story. That he produced an epic of such proportions makes a further evaluation of the great man's contribution to cinema necessary. ”Ran” is set in medieval Japan and follows the basic King Lear narrative closely. Lord Hidetora is an aging warlord and, wanting a peaceful retirement, decides to divide his kingdom up amongst his three sons. After banishing the youngest, Saburo, for pouring scorn on the idea, Hidetora finds himself an unwanted obstacle to the older two. After repeated humiliations, pride forces Hidetora into vain wanderings on the open plain, his state of mind declining as rapidly as his entourage. The film sets itself the unenviable task of trying to explain the precarious position man holds within the universe. Man is seen to be elevating himself to such a level that he dreams of challenging the very laws of nature. Hidetora has achieved his status through deception, callousness and violence his notion to wash away the blood he has spilt in happy retirement is scornfully thrown back by the elements. The speed and manner in which he is forced to lie in the bed he has made for himself should serve as a warning to all. The films large set pieces, particularly two quite stunning battle sequences, are staged magnificently, but 'Ran' is no empty epic. The characters and their motivations are fully explored and the tension built up by the dialogue fully compliments the action. With an ending which offers no redemption 'Ran' paints a bleak picture - the colors and brushstrokes it employs however, turn it into a dazzling masterpiece. The battle scenes are some of the best I have seen. One point - the second main battle reminds me of 'Zulu' with the soldiers lined up on the skyline shouting down. The makeup used on Hidetora to mimick the Noh theatre makes this film that much more dramatic. Don't expect to be uplifted with a standard samurai flick. This is one of the most visually beautiful films I've ever seen. Before you watch this place it on a big screen with good color registration and good sound because Kurosawa uses as much of the screen as he can.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm guessing that the reviewer that preceeded this one watched one of the older transfers of this movie. The Masterworks Edition of this, that was produced by Wellspring is one of the greatest transfers of a Kurosawa movie I have seen (Kagemusha is probably the best, go Criterion). One simple line would describe this movie in whole: Shakespeare done better than Shakespeare. Keep in mind: Don't get anything but the Wellspring Masterworks Edition. The others are all horribly done transfers that looks worse than most VHS versions of this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love anime. Actually, I love Japanese culture. This movie is emotional and enjoyable. The bloody fight scenes, the performance, even the story, can captivate you. It will tell you the reality of mankind and remind you that every generation has a dark chapter of history, and it can occur anywhere and anytime, to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The small screne doesn't allow this extraordinary film to breathe. In the theatre, the audience held its collective breath many times as an absolutely gorgeous picture would slowly come to life: the first indication it wasn't a still would be the barest flutter of a battle flag,then the other elements would slowly join in a fantastic ballet of motion until the scene erupted. True art. See it on the largest screen possible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Classic film about family struggle , inner turmoil, and greed.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Like the story's plot ,eventhough it starts at a time where charachters have with them unseen histories,that made their confusing role.