Study Guide

Seven Samurai Fandoms

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Seven Samurai fans tend to be film nuts in general, drawn to the way it shook up the whole medium and how Kurosawa provided inspiration for just about every blockbuster ever made. They don't dress up in costumes or host book readings the way fans of other movies do, but mention this movie to them and you'd better take a seat; they're going to gush about it for a good long time.

And their number doesn't just involve introverted Roger Ebert wannabes either. Some of the biggest and brightest filmmakers in Hollywood today kneel in worship of Kurosawa's masterpiece. Did you know that Steven Spielberg watches it before starting production on every movie he makes? Or that manly-man director Sam Peckinpah said he wanted to make westerns the way Kurosawa did? And Arthur Penn said he was able to shoot the famous death scene in Bonnie and Clyde because "Having seen enough Kurosawa by that point, I knew how to do it" (source).

Their ranks also include the likes of George Miller, Steven Soderbergh and George Lucas, who all showed their love for the movie in one way or another. What about Stephen King, whose book Wolves of the Calla (in the midst of the sprawling mess of his Dark Tower saga) pulls the whole thing pretty much whole cloth from Seven Samurai? These guys shaped pop culture in the latter half of the 20th century, giving way to the Christopher Nolans and Darren Aronofskys of the 21st. And all of them were big old goober fans of what Kurosawa put up on the screen here.

It may not have a lot of tee-shirts or toys based on it, but pound for pound, you can really feel the influence of its biggest admirers. And that's kind of the point. Only the very best movies can have that kind of impact, can lead the best and brightest of an entire medium to stare at it and say "man that's cool!"

Those shelves full of toys start looking really inadequate in the face of something like that.

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