Director: Akira Kurosawa. Cast: Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ken'ichi Hagiwara. 180 min. Rated PG. Japan/USA. War/Epic.
A revered Japanese warlord appoints a double for his protection, but when he's suddenly killed in battle himself, his clueless "shadow" must take his place to avoid the chance of enemies discovering he's already dead. Similar to Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950), there's a grander concept here: the masses' perception of a leader's power defines how powerful he is, not his physical power per se. And similar to his later Ran (1985), this is a movie of stunning visual brilliance, especially during a hypnotizing dream sequence. Produced by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, this is one of The Emperor's greatest epics.