Universal acclaim - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Mar 13, 2016
    Ran is a great, glorious achievement.
  2. Charlotte Observer
    Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Mar 13, 2016
    All that matters is that emotions be real, and so they are: wracking grief, harrowing madness, unquenchable hate. Composers have tried and failed to turn "Lear" into a workable opera, but Kurosawa has found the visual equivalent. Yet the last image of a man, solitary and silent, is more haunting than all the destruction. [10 Aug 2001, p.7E]
  3. Reviewed by: Vincent Canby
    Mar 13, 2016
    Though big in physical scope and of a beauty that suggests a kind of drunken, barbaric lyricism, ''Ran'' has the terrible logic and clarity of a morality tale seen in tight close-up, of a myth that, while being utterly specific and particular in its time and place, remains ageless, infinitely adaptable.
  4. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Mar 13, 2016
    The drama itself packs a powerful -- and timeless -- gut punch.
  5. Reviewed by: Gene Siskel
    Mar 13, 2016
    The physical scale of Ran is overwhelming. It's almost as if Kurosawa is saying to all the cassette buyers of America, in a play on Clint Eastwood`s phrase, "Go ahead, ruin your night"--wait to see my film on a small screen and cheat yourself out of what a movie can be.
  6. Reviewed by: Kevin Thomas
    Mar 13, 2016
    Ran, which translates as "chaos" or "turmoil," is at once brisk and vital, elegiac and contemplative, intimate and epic, tragic yet shot through with humor. It combines the energy of youth with the perspective of maturity. It encompasses all of human nature in its folly and grandeur, and it does so in images as beautiful and terrifying as any ever captured on film and in performances that are impeccable.
  7. Reviewed by: Jay Boyar
    Mar 13, 2016
    Quite simply, Ran is a great, nightmarish motion picture.
  8. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Mar 13, 2016
    If Shakespeare's poetry enters the mind through the ear, Kurosawa's enters it through the eye. But the imagery is of comparable quality, at once awesome in its power, delicate in its irony and, finally, for all the violence of the events it recounts, eerily serene in the sureness with which it achieves its effects.
  9. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Mar 13, 2016
    Ran represents the color/widescreen zenith (qualification necessary due to Seven Samurai) of Kurosawa’s genius for spectacle.
  10. The triumphant masterpiece of Akira Kurosawa's fertile twilight.
  11. In Ran, the horrors of life are transformed by art into beauty. It is finally so moving that the only appropriate response is silence.
  12. 100
    One of the 10 best films ever made, period.
  13. San Francisco Examiner
    Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    Kurosawa pulled out all the stops with Ran, his obsession with loyalty and his love of expressionistic film techniques allowed to roam freely.
  14. 100
    Stands separate from the rest, in a pantheon, a true cinematic masterwork of sight, sound, intelligence, and most importantly--passion.
  15. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    In many respects, it's Kurosawa's most sumptuous film, a feast of color, motion and sound: Considering that its brethren include "Kagemusha," "The Seven Samurai" and "Dersu Uzala," the achievement is extraordinary. [01 Dec 2000, p.26]
  16. 100
    It’s a dazzlingly successful addition to [Kurosawa's] distinguished career.
  17. Mr. Showbiz
    Reviewed by: F. X. Feeney
    The Japanese title means chaos, and that is what is let loose when a powerful king foolishly tries to release the reins of power, in the hopes of enjoying a peaceful old age.
  18. A stunning achievement in epic cinema.
  19. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Mar 13, 2016
    In Ran, color plays a role not unlike that of language in "Lear": a kind of ground bass of beauty, a product of pure imagination, that both affirms life and surpasses it. Yet Kurosawa uses that beauty more as negation: a reminder not of what man is capable of but how puny he is in comparison.
  20. 80
    A magisterial film, but not quite a great one.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 66 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Mar 21, 2016
    What makes Ran any different? Is it from how you see it? If it is, you probably have to step up your game (or movie as I say) because Ran isWhat makes Ran any different? Is it from how you see it? If it is, you probably have to step up your game (or movie as I say) because Ran is an amazing movie worth seeing twice. Full Review »
  2. Apr 8, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Akira Kurosawa's final epic, Ran, takes on William Shakespeare's King Lear. To me, from head to toe, this Kurosawa's picture which symbolizes downfall is absolute stunning such gorgeousness in a film is utterly rare, and of course, it is one of the Kurosawa's many best films. Ran is a success having nominated for Academy Awards for best art direction, best cinematography, best costume design and best direction and won one. Ran was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.

    I repeat this Ran, from head to toe, is absolutely stunning, and of course this movie is perfect. The film's cinematography, which is top notch, is a killer. The way Kurosawa captured the images of burning castle, a moving horses, dead soldiers, battle scenes are all undeniably respectable, and sublime too, and one great example would be the scenes where the attack of the third castle was occurring. Very much in evidence that Kurosawa's talent in film-making is transcending. The film's script which was being written by Kurosawa himself, Hideo Oguni and Masato Ide is yet admirable. The exploitation on poetic lines are proved to be effective and fitting for the movie.

    One would see great performances in Ran. Good acting by the players, but to me, the two actors who stood up above the rest are Tatsuya Nakadai and Mieko Harada. Tatsuya Nakadai plays the great lord Tatsuya Nakadai. The great lord is old, fragile and somewhat defenseless and the character is well characterized by him. Mieko Harada plays a female villain Lady Kaede, whose character is hungry for revenge. Her amazing performance which is raw and gripping, plays a very important part for the success of the movie.

    Surely there are several movie elements which are worthy to be carried out for discussions, but to me, the main highlight of Ran is its cinematography, and it is one hell of a show.


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  3. Mr.Hankey
    Mar 22, 2006
    Akira Kurosawa was a visionary his work was the best a japanese director has ever put out. Yes this is based on King Lear and is a genius Akira Kurosawa was a visionary his work was the best a japanese director has ever put out. Yes this is based on King Lear and is a genius copy as well. The sequences of violence show the different customs that japan had and also the conflict between the sons and the father was shown amazingly. The fact is you will never find a better japanese film besides Ran and Seven Samurai in your life and if you do you better post a review because I would like to know. Full Review »