Dojo Training Table: Intermediate Recommendations

Yojimbo and SanjuroAkira Kurosawa (1961, 1962)
The movie that defined 1960s chambara and its excellent sequel are available in a convenient double-pack from Criterion. Get it now, thank me later.

Rebel Samurai: Sixties Swordplay Classics Criterion Box Set
Become an instant chambara expert with this magnificent four-film box set that provides a tasty sampler of four great directors.

Thirteen AssassinsEiichi Kudo (1963)
The original classic action-fest that inspired the popular 2010 Takashi Miike remake. Any budding samurai film buff needs to see both.

RanAkira Kurosawa (1985)
This was my first jidai-geki movie, though maybe it's not the best entry point for everybody. Now that you've had some experience, you're ready to tackle this monument.

Shadow Warriors (Kage No Gundan) – starring Sonny Chiba (TV series, 1980-1985)
Big-time ninja thrills with this classic TV show that introduced Hattori Hanzo, whose descendant made swords in Kill Bill. Skip it if you have no taste for campy fun.

The Musashi Miyamoto Series (Zen and Sword)Tomu Uchida (1961-1965)
This 5-film adaptation of the Musashi saga is lesser known than the Samurai trilogy, but for my money it's far superior.

Sansho the Bailiff – Kenji Mizoguchi (1954)
And finally, something serious. Not a samurai movie, no swordplay action, but a devastatingly beautiful story of loss and the frailty of happiness.

The Jidai-Geki Knights