One has to wonder if Akira Kurosawa had any notion of the impact he would be creating in cinema (as well as other mediums) when he created Seven Samurai. Co-written, edited and directed by Kurosawa, Seven Samurai released in 1954 and it was not long before it found acclaim worldwide. It is now commonly regarded as one of the greatest and influential movies of all time. The film was one of the few Japanese movies commonly known by Western audiences, so it is not surprising that in 1960, John Sturges directed a western remake starring some of the biggest names of that era (Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, and Horst Buchholz).
The Magnificent Seven didn’t launch with the same critical acclaim as did Seven Samurai, to the point of being called a “pallid, pretentious and overlong reflection of the Japanese original” by The New York Times. However since then, the film has grown in popularity, and has made its way onto several lists of its own, most notably the American Film Institute’s list of American cinema’s 100 most thrilling films.
Seven Samurai’s influence did not end there, however. It has continued to guide writers and directors across various genres and medium. Another popular remake of the original was an anime television series which released in 2004. Samurai 7 told a very similar tale as the original, however it is set in an alternate future where giant mechanical robots are powered by the Emperor’s samurai warriors. The series premiered first in Japan, then made its way to other regions, along the way acquiring an absolutely fantastic English dub including, among others, Robert Bruce Elliot and Colleen Clinkenbeard.
It seems fitting that we would cover these three in our first episode of the Popcorn Ronin podcast.
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