Hollywood movies

Star Wars and 9 other Hollywood films inspired by Japanese cinema

The last star wars miniseries, Obi Wan Kenobi, draws parallels between the weary Jedi master and the lonely samurai archetype in Akira Kurosawa’s films. This comparison would not be surprising given that George Lucas himself was inspired by Kurosawa. hidden fortress while developing star wars. Japanese inspiration in Hollywood is clearly not a new phenomenon.

Japanese authors have been revolutionizing cinema for a long time, so much so that they have inspired several Hollywood blockbusters. Kurosawa is a recurring name with several of his samurai classics serving as the basis for sci-fi and action films. Later, even animated films found their way overseas.

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Star Wars inspired by the Hidden Fortress

According to the 2007 book The Secret History of Star Wars by Michael Kaminski, George Lucas attributed hidden fortress as a direct source of inspiration for star wars. Considered one of Akira Kurosawa’s best films, it deals with the adventure of two peasants escorting a man and a woman (who turn out to be a general and a princess respectively) has clear character parallels with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Leia Organa who are the “general” and the “princess”. As for the peasants, they are replaced by R2-D2 and C-3PO. The villain is also comparable to Darth Vader.

Lucas’ first draft looked even more like the movie because it didn’t include Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, who were both original characters. Otherwise, even Kenobi’s code of conduct and rules of the Jedi Order seem to have been inspired by the samurai code of honor.

A Fistful of Dollars inspired by Yojimbo

The first chapter of Sergio Leone’s “Dollars” trilogy may have revolutionized the world of spaghetti westerns, but its uncanny resemblances to Yojimbo Cannot be ignored. Both films deal with a lone hero who shows up in a sleepy town riddled with rival crime lords. Due to similarities with the plot and characterization of the hero, YojimboToho’s production studio sued the creators of a handful of dollars for copyright infringement.

According to Flavorwire, film historian Stephen Prince (who also wrote the book The warrior camera: the cinema of Akira Kurosawa) said that Leone was a big fan of Yojimbo and following the Toho lawsuit, Leone even received a letter from Kurosawa in which the Japanese director said “I saw your film. It’s a very good film. Unfortunately, it’s my movie.

Avatar is inspired by Princess Mononoke

James Cameron’s mega hit Avatar is a sci-fi action film on the surface, but it also deals with introspective themes of environmentalism and humanity’s destructive impact on nature. For this basic philosophy, Cameron admitted the film Studio Ghibli Princess Mononoke as a direct source of inspiration.

Directed by Ghibli founder and legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki, Princess Mononoke similarly treated with the gods of the forest (reminiscent of the Na’avi people in Avatar) and their clashes with humans. According to an interview granted to the Japanese newspaper Saneki Shimbun, not only Cameron admits being inspired by Princess Mononoke but he adds that the floating islands of Pandora are also inspired by Miyazaki. Castle in THE sky.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 is inspired by Lady Snowblood

Quentin Tarantino’s films are praised but also criticized for their various foreign influences. Given the samurai and kung fu connotations of the Kill Bill duology, certain Japanese inspirations will not fail to make their place. Although Tarantino has never openly admitted to being influenced by Lady Snowbloodmoviegoers and film journalists have drawn multiple parallels over the years.

In a detailed analysis for The Guardian, Steve Rose broke the general premise of Lady Snowblood which dealt with a woman seeking violent revenge on the gang members who had wronged her. Additionally, the Japanese thriller also incorporates artwork for scenes that were too expensive to film. Kill Bill Vol. 1 also used anime sequences as transitions between the narrative.

The chronicle is inspired by Akira

Akira is a cyberpunk sci-fi masterpiece with influential themes of violent loss of innocence and dystopian cities. As a reckless member of a motorcycle gang becomes involved in an unauthorized military experiment, he channels powers beyond his control.

Dane DeHaan’s antihero in the Chronicle can be seen as the Hollywood version of Tetsuo Shima as he is unable to control the superpowers bestowed upon him. Using his abilities to wreak havoc and channel his pent up frustration, both films end with a similar character transformation, both in the physical and mental sense. Chronicle director Josh Trank cited Akira as an active influence on its lead character. As he told Gizmodo, both stories tend to capture teenage angst and the feeling of “talking back.”

Django is inspired by Yojimbo

Following the success of a handful of dollarsmany of the best sustained low-budget spaghetti westerns leading to cult hits like Django. While the film garnered its own share of controversy due to violence considered extreme at the time, the Franco Nero star also shared plot similarities. a handful of dollars which itself looked like a frame-by-frame remake of Yojimbo.


Today it is widely accepted among moviegoers that Django is just one of many unofficial remakes of Yojimbo. According to The Spaghetti Western Database, Django deviates more from Akira Kurosawa’s script than A fistful of dollars, but the character of Django himself is closer to Yojimbo’s masterless samurai.

Dark City is inspired by Akira

Whether it’s the iconic “bike slide” or its neon visual aesthetic, several aspects of Akira went on to inspire box office hits as well as underrated cult favorites like Dark city. In this latest Australian sci-fi film, an amnesiac murder suspect encounters a mysterious cult organization while exploring a dystopian urban jungle.

The dystopian mayhem in both films involves a “man on the run” premise and a climactic battle that’s closely similar to the anime classic. dark city Writer and director Alex Proyas went on to say in a 2006 internet forum that he was indeed inspired by Akira for the end.

Requiem For A Dream is inspired by Perfect Blue

The famous animated film by Satoshi Kon perfect blue is a psychological thriller that explores the breakdown of an actress pushed to her limits by a stalker and her own inner demons. One visually arresting moment, in particular, is the bathtub scene which finds her submerged underwater and unleashes her frustration.


A frame-by-frame tribute can be seen in Darren Aronofsky Requiem for a Dream. As Jennifer Connelly’s character deals with her own addiction issues and toxic relationship, she too needs a moment to relax in the tub. However, while some might see this as a tribute, Kon was critical. As Far Out details a series of lectures by Kon in 2007, the Japanese director believes that Aronofsky’s film “copy” perfect bluescenes and themes.

Valerie is inspired by Rashomon

With a story told from the perspective of multiple characters, Akira Kurosawa’s classic Yojimbo revolutionized the way scripts could be written. In fact, the “Rashomon style” of storytelling is now found in several films that attempt to tell multiple points of view.

Valerie is such a case which is believed to be inspired by Rashomon in terms of its storyline. The Western describes a man killing his wife and parents and several accounts attempt to piece together what happened. According to renowned media historian Hal Erickson (in AllMovie), “Clearly inspired by Rashomonthe film offers conflicting flashbacks over the course of a lengthy trial.”

The matrix is ​​inspired by Ghost In The Shell

The sci-fi anime classic ghost in the shell addresses several concerns within a futuristic society steeped in cybernetic surveillance and control. As for the years 1999 The matrix. writer-director duo The Wachowskis have never shied away from their Japanese influences citing films like Princess Mononoke and Ghost in the shell.

Aside from the narrative, even the visual elements like the digital code designs on the screen and the characters plugging devices into the back of their necks are also surprisingly similar. Vox underscores these commonalities by claiming that The Wachowskis even showed the anime to producer Joel Silver during filming.

NEXT: 10 Must-See Japanese Movies Not Directed By Kurosawa, According To Reddit