Akira Kurosawa

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Akira Kurosawa (黑澤 明) (1910--1998) was a Japanese director, producer, and screenwriter of films. He is Japan's best-known filmmaker. His films were influential on later filmmakers worldwide. His first film was released in 1941; his last in 1999 (posthumously). Few filmmakers have had a career so long or so acclaimed.

Kurosawa was born 23 March 1910 in Omori, Tokyo. During his lifetime he saw Japan change from an undeveloped country with military ambitions to a peaceful economic power. Although he is most remembered for his films of the 1950s and 1960s, he continued to direct and write films until his death. He died 6 September 1998 in Setagaya, Tokyo.

Kurosawa's best-known films are set in Japan's feudal period (about 13th century--17th century). Many of his plots are adaptations of William Shakespeare's works, for example, Ran (based on King Lear) and Throne of Blood) (based on Macbeth). The Hidden Fortress (1958, Japanese name Kakushi toride no san akunin), the tale of a princess, her general, and two buffoon farmers, is credited by George Lucas as an influence on his Star Wars films. Other films include Rashomon, The Seven Samurai (later remade as the Western The Magnificent Seven) andYojimbo (the basis for the Clint Eastwood western, A Fistful of Dollars). Kurosawa also directed film adaptations of Russian novels: (Dersu Uzala); and United States crime fiction High and Low (based on an Ed McBain novel).