The Hidden Fortress (1958)

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A pair of bickering escaped slaves stumble upon the mountain hideout of a defeated general and his princess, who are being hunted by the occupying army. They decide to join forces – with the added incentive of a hoard of royal gold – to reach friendly territory.

The Hidden Fortress was probably the closest Kurosawa came to making a pure adventure film but he still had time to comment on the rigid class system by cleverly telling the story from the perspective of the lowliest characters. Widely acknowledged as the inspiration for Star Wars, it has also influenced a huge number of other stories including TV show Monkey, Hero and everything in between. The imagery is as gorgeous as you’d expect from Akira Kurosawa, the characters brilliantly written and the performances all perfect, from Toshiro Mifune’s commanding general to the striking Misa Uehara as the noble but fiery princess. The two greedy and bad-tempered slaves provide the comic relief and it has everything you could possibly want from an adventure; laughs, action, excitement and heroism.

Yet another timeless story from a true genius.

9/10

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