Hulu's Free Criterion Kurosawa Weekend

All of Criterion’s Kurosawa films are available for free on Hulu this weekend, in honor of what would have been his 103rd birthday.


Just for the weekend?! There’s like 6 films on there I’ve never seen. I can’t watch all those in a weekend.

Still pretty damn cool though.

Yeah, and I have to go out of town for work. I guess that’s why god made tablets.

Ok, hypothetically, if someone has not seen any Kurosawa films which of these should be prioritized? I’m starting off on Seven Samurai right now but what next?

Yojimbo, man. It’s the original spaghetti western.

Rashomon and Ran.

Yeah, Yojimbo and Seven Samurai are tops.

After that, I’d say Throne of Blood, High and Low, then Rashomon and Hidden Fortress.

Criterion apparently lost the rights to Ran, which is why it’s not on the page. Damn shame, too.

The AVClub also put together a nice primer for an introduction to Kurosawa movies.

Hidden Fortress is the movie that inspired Star Wars. I wouldn’t make it my first pick, but it’s well worth checking out.

Well Seven Samurai is a long film. Definitely operates on multiple levels with complex themes but I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t mention the guy running around wearing armor but no pants.

don’t click here

Kagemusha is also very good as is Sanjuro. Although it doesn’t look like Hulu has Kagemusha available.

Plus if you ever get a chance to see Ran, it’s very good, although I’ve yet to find a really good print of it – I saw it in the theaters and none of the DVD versions of seen of it really do it justice – and some of them are just awful.

And Sanjuro the sequel which is as good and it has one of the best finale’s ever!

The Japanese are the great borrowers, they take elements of another culture and they make them their own. Kurosawa embodied that, his best films are Westerns - or in the case of Ran, Shakespeare.


I was just browsing the Criterion stuff and noticed they have 5 Jim Jarmusch films for free this week too. If you haven’t seen Stranger Than Paradise or Night On Earth, you should make time.

I wish Hulu didn’t have commercials through all their stuff…they’d have a near-permanent subscription from me.

Ha, same here. I have a thing about paying to see advertising. So no cable or satellite TV and no Hulu subscription. Do they get rid of commercials for subscribers?

Thanks to everyone for the recommendations! Launching Yojimbo now!

From what I can find out on the Interweb, the Criterion stuff is exempt from commercials and there really are a shitload of Criterion movies I still wanna see, so I was gonna sign up. But I read that people who already have a Hulu Plus account have a referral code where I get a 2-week free trial and you get 2 weeks free when I sign up. If anyone has an account and wants to send along their code, I’d be happy to participate in giving you free Plus time :-)

I may be an outlier, but I prefer Sanjuro to Yojimbo. Sanjuro has more sly, deadpan humor in it.

To be fair, both Hollywood and Shakespeare are great plagiarizers too. What goes around comes around…

Anyway, my personal favorites among Kurosawa films: Seven Samurai, Sanjuro, High & Low, and Ikiru. Although pretty much all of his samurai and Toshiro Mifune films are winners. And while Madadayo isn’t his best film, it does seem to be a nigh-perfect coda for his career; but don’t watch it until after you’ve seen a bunch of his films already.

Kurosawa’s samurai and shakespeare movies are unquestionably classics, but some of those film noir’s he did are fantastic.

“Stray Dog,” “Drunken Angel,” “The Bad Sleep Well,” to name but a few. And how good are those titles?

“I Live In Fear,” and “Red Beard,” are two other favorites of mine. They don’t quite fit into the regular Kurosawa canon but are great films.

Very cool! And almost missed this!

Quite a few I haven’t seen.

Kagemusha has been on Netflix for a while if you have that. Also, the Criterion collection DVD edition of RAN is supposed to look good - I think I have the Studio-Canal version and though that was supposed to be a restoration (and I guess it does look improved in the comparison segment included in the DVD), the colors are just overly saturated.