Akira Kurosawa was one of the greatest filmmakers of all time and he influenced many an up and coming director.
One of the director’s that Kurosawa influenced was a young filmmaker named George Lucas. The movie that Lucas used for inspiration for a certain film that Lucas made that kicked off a massive franchise that even this weekend is breaking records with it’s latest installment is Kurosawa’s 1958 movie The Hidden Fortress.
The movie starts after a massive battle between two clans. Two peasants had showed to fight for the winning Yamana clan but are mistaken for the losing Akizuki clan and forced to bury the dead. They later escape during an uprising and end up helping a general from the Akizuki clan played by Toshiro Mifune. They manage to escape with some of the Akizuki clan’s gold and a young mute woman. They then escort the gold and the woman to a secret hidden base while trying to avoid getting recaptured and maybe trying to take some of the gold when the general isn’t looking.
The movie is a lot of fun as is most of Kurosawa’s samurai movies and Mifune is excellent as always. The two peasants provide a point of view to the audience as they witness bigger things happening that have nothing really to do with themselves. They can be a little annoying too like a certain robotic duo in the aforementioned big George Lucas movie. And while Lucas was only inspired by the film for his epic, he even introduces the movie for Criterion, Kurosawa is still the master. Lucas and his buddy Francis Ford Coppola even produced Kagemusha (1980) for Kurosawa. The Hidden Fortress isn’t the best of the many movies that Kurosawa made but it’s pretty damn good.