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Today in Movie History: November 19

We top the pole position with one of the greatest movies of all time: Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai hit U.S. theaters today in 1956. The unparalleled Eastern-Western mash-up — entailing an impoverished village menaced by bandits who hire seven wandering ronin to save them — influenced everything from The Magnificent Seven to Star Wars to A Bug’s Life, and includes …

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Today in Movie History: September 13

After the immortal Seven Samurai, the Akira Kurosawa movie that most influenced western filmmakers is probably Yojimbo: the story of a scruffy, amoral ronin (Toshiro Mifune, natch) who wanders into a town beset by rival gangs, and solves the problem by methodically pitting them against each other. Kurosawa was inspired by the Dashiell Hammett novel Red Harvest, and his work served as the basis …

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Today in Movie History: January 15

Riddle me this, Caped Crusader: how do you produce the greatest Shakespeare adaptation of all time without using a single line of Shakespeare? You give it to Akira Kurosawa, that’s how. Throne of Blood — his magnificent, peerless, stunningly powerful samurai version of Macbeth — opened in Japan this day in 1957. The great Toshiro Mifune turned in one of numerous …

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Today in Movie History: December 20

It’s the season for Christmas movies and one of the most beloved of all time hit theaters today. It’s a Wonderful Life, Frank Capra’s surprisingly dark story about a town held together by one man, and what happens when that man starts to doubt himself, opened today in 1946: giving returning G.I.s and a nation weary of war a chance …