Best Japanese Movies

by whittleboy615 | created - 26 Mar 2015 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

Best Japanese Movies

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1. Hara-Kiri (1962)

Not Rated | 133 min | Action, Drama, Mystery

85 Metascore

When a ronin requesting seppuku at a feudal lord's palace is told of the brutal suicide of another ronin who previously visited, he reveals how their pasts are intertwined - and in doing so challenges the clan's integrity.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Ishihama, Shima Iwashita, Tetsurô Tanba

Votes: 45,614

94 (4) Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 2.35:1, Mono

Blu-ray (Criterion: English Subtitles)

2. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Not Rated | 89 min | Animation, Drama, War

94 Metascore

A young boy and his little sister struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.

Director: Isao Takahata | Stars: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Akemi Yamaguchi, Yoshiko Shinohara

Votes: 244,469

90 (5) 2D Anim (35mm, Technicolor), 1.85:1, 4.0 Stereo (Dolby)

Blu-ray (US: English Subtitles) Blu-ray (JPN: Higher PQ Bitrate)

3. Princess Mononoke (1997)

PG-13 | 134 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

76 Metascore

On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Yôji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yûko Tanaka, Billy Crudup

Votes: 354,214 | Gross: $2.38M

85 (6) Won 2 Japanese Academy Awards, Best Film Winner 2D Anim (35mm, Color), 1.85:1, 4.0 Stereo (Dolby)

Blu-ray (English Subtitles, Dub)

4. Spirited Away (2001)

PG | 125 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

96 Metascore

During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Miyu Irino, Rumi Hiiragi

Votes: 674,346 | Gross: $10.06M

93 (6) Won 1 Oscar Won 2 Japanese Academy Awards, Best Film Winner 2D Anim (Digital), Color, 1.85:1, DTS-ES

Blu-ray (English Subtitles, Dub)

5. Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

PG | 119 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

80 Metascore

When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Chieko Baishô, Takuya Kimura, Tatsuya Gashûin, Akihiro Miwa

Votes: 346,923 | Gross: $4.71M

83 (6) Oscar Nominee 2D Anim (Digital), Color, 1.85:1, DTS-ES

Blu-ray (English Subtitles, Dub)

6. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

PG | 117 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

86 Metascore

Warrior and pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Sumi Shimamoto, Mahito Tsujimura, Hisako Kyôda, Gorô Naya

Votes: 155,642 | Gross: $0.50M

87 (5) 2D Anim (35mm, Color), 1.85:1, Mono

Blu-ray (English Subtitles, Dub)

7. Castle in the Sky (1986)

PG | 125 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

78 Metascore

A young boy and a girl with a magic crystal must race against pirates and foreign agents in a search for a legendary floating castle.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Mayumi Tanaka, Keiko Yokozawa, Kotoe Hatsui, Minori Terada

Votes: 153,850

88 (5) 2D Anim (35mm, Color), 1.85:1, 4.0 Stereo (Dolby)

Blu-ray (English Subtitles, Dub)

8. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

G | 86 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

86 Metascore

When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wondrous forest spirits who live nearby.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Hitoshi Takagi, Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Shigesato Itoi

Votes: 301,973 | Gross: $1.11M

87 (5) 2D Anim (35mm, Color), 1.85:1, 4.0 Stereo (Dolby)

Blu-ray (English Subtitles, Dub)

9. Seven Samurai (1954)

Not Rated | 207 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

98 Metascore

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Yukiko Shimazaki

Votes: 322,356 | Gross: $0.27M

96 (6) Oscar Nominee Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 1.37:1, Mono (Original), Stereo (Re-release)

Blu-ray (Criterion: 1.0 LPCM, 2.0 LPCM, English Subtitles)

10. High and Low (1963)

Not Rated | 143 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yutaka Sada, Tatsuya Nakadai, Kyôko Kagawa

Votes: 36,977

86 (5) Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, Color Inserts (Pink), 2.35:1, 4.0 Stereo

Blu-ray (Criterion: English Subtitles)

11. Wolf Children (2012)

PG | 117 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

71 Metascore

After her werewolf lover unexpectedly dies in an accident while hunting for food for their children, a young woman must find ways to raise the werewolf son and daughter that she had with him while keeping their trait hidden from society.

Director: Mamoru Hosoda | Stars: Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Haru Kuroki, Yukito Nishii

Votes: 40,262

85 (5) Won 1 Japanese Academy Award 2D Anim (Digital), Color, 1.85:1, Dolby Digital

Blu-ray (English Subtitles)

12. Ninja Scroll (1993)

Not Rated | 94 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

A vagabond swordsman is aided by a beautiful ninja girl and a crafty spy in confronting a demonic clan of killers - with a ghost from his past as their leader - who are bent on overthrowing the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri | Stars: Kôichi Yamadera, Emi Shinohara, Takeshi Aono, Osamu Saka

Votes: 35,230

87 (4) 2D Anim (35mm, Color), 1.37:1, Mono

Blu-ray (Sentai Filmworks 2nd Press: Correct gamma, English subs & dub) Blu-ray (Sentai Filmworks 1st Press: Incorrect gamma, English subs & dub)

13. A Silent Voice: The Movie (2016)

Not Rated | 130 min | Animation, Drama, Romance

78 Metascore

A young man is ostracized by his classmates after he bullies a deaf girl to the point where she moves away. Years later, he sets off on a path for redemption.

Director: Naoko Yamada | Stars: Miyu Irino, Saori Hayami, Aoi Yûki, Kenshô Ono

Votes: 55,941

86 (4)

Blu-ray (UK: Upcoming, English Subtitles)

14. 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)

TV-PG | 63 min | Animation, Drama, Family

Told in three interconnected segments, we follow a young man named Takaki through his life as cruel winters, cold technology, and finally, adult obligations and responsibility converge to test the delicate petals of love.

Director: Makoto Shinkai | Stars: Kenji Mizuhashi, Yoshimi Kondou, Satomi Hanamura, Ayaka Onoue

Votes: 52,980

82 (2) 2D Anim (Digital), Color, 1.85:1, 4.0 Stereo (Dolby Digital)

Blu-ray [Discotek: Out of print, 5.0 DTS-HD MA (4.0 stereo), English subs & dub]

15. Galaxy Express 999 (1979)

PG | 129 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

The adventures of a brave young boy who travels from planet to planet in a determined quest to avenge his mother's death.

Director: Rintaro | Stars: Masako Nozawa, Masako Ikeda, Yôko Asagami, Miyoko Asô

Votes: 1,911

2D Anim (35mm), Color, 1.33:1, Mono

Blu-ray (Discotek: 1.78:1 cropped only, English subs & dub)

16. Vampire Hunter D (1985)

Not Rated | 80 min | Animation, Action, Fantasy

A young girl requests the help of a vampire hunter to kill the vampire who has bitten her, and thus prevent her from becoming a vampire herself.

Director: Toyoo Ashida | Stars: Kaneto Shiozawa, Michie Tomizawa, Seizô Katô, Satoko Kifuji

Votes: 13,548

78 (5) Blu-ray (English Subtitles)

17. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)

R | 103 min | Animation, Action, Fantasy

62 Metascore

When a girl is abducted by a vampire, a legendary bounty hunter is hired to bring her back.

Directors: Jack Fletcher, Yoshiaki Kawajiri | Stars: Andrew Philpot, John Rafter Lee, Pamela Adlon, Wendee Lee

Votes: 29,851 | Gross: $0.15M

79 (3) 2D Anim (35mm), Color, 1.85:1, Dolby Digital

Blu-ray (Discotek: Poor contrast, English audio only) Blu-ray (UK: Discotek clone) DVD (JPN, TWN: Better contrast, JPN dub, No English)

18. The Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer (1961)

Not Rated | 190 min | Drama, History, War

His ideals challenged by life as a conscript in war-time Japan's military, a pacifist faces ever greater tests in his fight for survival.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Tamao Nakamura, Yûsuke Kawazu

Votes: 5,373

90 (2) Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 2.35:1, 4.0 Stereo

Blu-ray (UK: English Subtitles, Region B)

19. Your Name. (2016)

PG | 106 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

79 Metascore

Two strangers find themselves linked in a bizarre way. When a connection forms, will distance be the only thing to keep them apart?

Director: Makoto Shinkai | Stars: Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryô Narita, Aoi Yûki

Votes: 211,570 | Gross: $5.02M

87 (4) Won 3 Japanese Academy Awards 2D Anim (Digital), Color, 1.85:1, Dolby Digital

4K UHD (UK Anime Ltd: English subs & dub) Blu-ray (FUNimation: English subs & dub)

20. Mushi-Shi Zoku Shou: Suzu no Shizuku (2015)

47 min | Animation, Fantasy

An adaptation of the last arc in the manga, Mushishi Zoku Shou: Suzu no Shizuku follows Ginko's peculiar journey amidst the occult to unravel the mystery behind the enigmatic girl called Kaya and the mountain that has become her home.

Director: Hiroshi Nagahama | Stars: Yûto Nakano, Tomomi Saito

Votes: 920

21. Rashomon (1950)

Not Rated | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

98 Metascore

The rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband are recalled from the perspectives of a bandit, the bride, the samurai's ghost and a woodcutter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 156,251 | Gross: $0.10M

93 (5) Won 1 Honorary Academy Award Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 1.37:1, Mono

Blu-ray (Criterion: English subs)

22. Ran (1985)

R | 162 min | Action, Drama, War

96 Metascore

In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryû

Votes: 115,875 | Gross: $4.14M

89 (6) Won 1 Oscar Won 3 Japanese Academy Awards 35mm, Color, 1.85:1, 6-Track Stereo (70mm), 4.0 Stereo (Dolby)

Blu-ray (UK: 4K Restoration [Yellow Tint], English Subtitles, Region B)

23. Yojimbo (1961)

Not Rated | 110 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Eijirô Tôno, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa

Votes: 114,027

87 (5) Oscar Nominee Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 2.35:1, 3.0 Stereo (Perspecta)

Blu-ray (Criterion: English Subtitles)

24. Ikiru (1952)

Not Rated | 143 min | Drama

A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Shin'ichi Himori, Haruo Tanaka

Votes: 70,916 | Gross: $0.06M

93 (4) Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 1.37:1, Mono

Blu-ray (Criterion: English Subtitles)

25. Woman in the Dunes (1964)

Not Rated | 147 min | Drama, Thriller

An entomologist on vacation is trapped by local villagers into living with a woman whose life task is shoveling sand for them.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara | Stars: Eiji Okada, Kyôko Kishida, Hiroko Itô, Kôji Mitsui

Votes: 18,012

91 (4) Oscar Nominee Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 1.37:1, Mono

Blu-ray (Criterion: English Subtitles)

26. The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (I) (1959)

Not Rated | 208 min | Drama, History, War

A Japanese pacifist, unable to face the dire consequences of conscientious objection, is transformed by his attempts to compromise with the demands of war-time Japan.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Chikage Awashima, Ineko Arima

Votes: 6,882

87 (3) Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 2.35:1, Mono

Blu-ray (UK: English Subtitles, Region B)

27. The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity (II) (1959)

Not Rated | 181 min | Drama, History, War

As a conscript in war-time Japan's military, a pacifist struggles to maintain his determination to keep his ideals.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Kokinji Katsura, Jun Tatara

Votes: 5,522

86 (2) Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 2.35:1, Mono

Blu-ray (UK: English Subtitles, Region B)

28. Tokyo Story (1953)

Not Rated | 136 min | Drama

An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city, but receive little attention.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama, Sô Yamamura, Setsuko Hara

Votes: 55,277

"Noriko Trilogy", 93 (5) Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 1.37:1, Mono

Blu-ray (Criterion: English Subtitles)

29. Red Beard (1965)

Not Rated | 185 min | Drama

In 19th-century Japan, a rough-tempered yet charitable town doctor trains a young intern.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yûzô Kayama, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Reiko Dan

Votes: 17,315

82 (3) Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 2.35:1, 4.0 Stereo

Blu-ray (JPN: No English)

30. Sansho the Bailiff (1954)

Not Rated | 124 min | Drama

In medieval Japan, a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children grow up amid suffering and oppression.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Yoshiaki Hanayagi, Kyôko Kagawa, Eitarô Shindô

Votes: 14,955

89 (4) Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 1.37:1, Mono

Blu-ray (Criterion: English Subtitles)

31. Samurai Rebellion (1967)

Not Rated | 128 min | Drama

90 Metascore

The mother of a feudal lord's only heir is kidnapped away from her husband by the lord. The husband and his samurai father must decide whether to accept the unjust decision, or risk death to get her back.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yôko Tsukasa, Gô Katô, Tatsuyoshi Ehara

Votes: 11,466

91 (3) Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 2.35:1, Mono

DVD (Criterion: 16:9, Dolby Digital Mono, English Subtitles)

32. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

TV-MA | 83 min | Animation, Action, Crime

76 Metascore

A cyborg policewoman and her partner hunt a mysterious and powerful hacker called the Puppet Master.

Director: Mamoru Oshii | Stars: Atsuko Tanaka, Iemasa Kayumi, Akio Ôtsuka, Kôichi Yamadera

Votes: 132,579 | Gross: $0.52M

84 (5) 2D Anim (35mm, Technicolor), 1.85:1, 4.0 Stereo (Original), Dolby Digital (Remastered)

Blu-ray (LPCM 2.0 Stereo, English Subtitles)

33. Akira (1988)

R | 124 min | Animation, Action, Sci-Fi

A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psychic psychopath who can only be stopped by two teenagers and a group of psychics.

Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo | Stars: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Tesshô Genda

Votes: 169,292 | Gross: $0.55M

85 (5) 2D Anim (35mm, Color), 1.85:1, 6-Track Stereo (70mm), 4.0 Stereo (Dolby), Dolby Digital (Re-release)

Blu-ray (English Subtitles)

34. Ugetsu (1953)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Fantasy, War

A tale of ambition, family, love, and war set in the midst of the Japanese Civil Wars of the sixteenth century.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyô, Kinuyo Tanaka, Mitsuko Mito

Votes: 21,569 | Gross: $0.01M

91 (4) Oscar Nominee Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 1.37:1, Mono

Blu-ray (Criterion: English Subtitles)

35. Late Spring (1949)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama

Noriko is twenty-seven years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her father.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Setsuko Hara, Yumeji Tsukioka, Haruko Sugimura

Votes: 15,140

Late Spring, "Noriko Trilogy", 90 (4) Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 1.37:1, Mono

Blu-ray (Criterion: English Subtitles)

36. Gintama the Movie: The Final Chapter - Be Forever Yorozuya (2013)

110 min | Animation, Action, Comedy

Gintoki travels into the future and discovers it to be a wasteland with his friends fallen apart. He reunites them to find out what went wrong and how to fix things.

Director: Yôichi Fujita | Stars: Tomokazu Sugita, Daisuke Sakaguchi, Rie Kugimiya, Tsutomu Isobe

Votes: 2,138

37. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

R | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

89 Metascore

The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryô Kase

Votes: 155,788 | Gross: $13.76M

84 (6) Won 1 Oscar, Best Picture Nominee Won 1 Japanese Academy Award 35mm, Video, Color, 2.39:1, DTS

Blu-ray (English Subtitles)

38. Shoplifters (2018)

R | 121 min | Crime, Drama

93 Metascore

A family of small-time crooks take in a child they find outside in the cold.

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda | Stars: Lily Franky, Sakura Andô, Kirin Kiki, Mayu Matsuoka

Votes: 66,906 | Gross: $3.31M

39. Perfect Blue (1997)

R | 81 min | Animation, Crime, Mystery

A pop singer gives up her career to become an actress, but she slowly goes insane when she starts being stalked by an obsessed fan and what seems to be a ghost of her past.

Director: Satoshi Kon | Stars: Junko Iwao, Rica Matsumoto, Shinpachi Tsuji, Masaaki Ôkura

Votes: 62,078 | Gross: $0.78M

75 (4) Blu-ray (UK: English Subtitles, Region B)

40. Departures (2008)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama, Music

68 Metascore

A newly unemployed cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals.

Director: Yôjirô Takita | Stars: Masahiro Motoki, Ryôko Hirosue, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Kazuko Yoshiyuki

Votes: 49,411 | Gross: $1.50M

80 (6) Won 1 Oscar Won 10 Japanese Academy Awards, Best Film Winner Blu-ray (UK: English Subtitles, Region B)

41. Throne of Blood (1957)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, History

A war-hardened general, egged on by his ambitious wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become lord of Spider's Web Castle.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, Isuzu Yamada, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 48,016

89 (5) Criterion Collection 35mm, B&W, 1.37:1, Mono

Blu-ray (Criterion: English Subtitles)

42. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion (1997)

R | 87 min | Animation, Action, Drama