The Hidden Fortress
Not Rated | 2h 6min
Director: Akira Kurosawa
by Jason Koenigsberg
Lured by gold, two greedy peasants escort a man and woman across enemy lines. However, they do not realize that their companions are actually a princess and her general. That is the premise of Akira Kurosawa’s classic film The Hidden Fortress. It is not Kurosawa’s best adventure film that takes place in feudal Japan, but this is undeniably one of the most influential movies ever made. I realize that is a bold statement, but if we did not have The Hidden Fortress, George Lucas would not have gotten the idea for Star Wars (1977). So indirectly, this is in many ways the most influential movie of all time. Star Wars inspired an entire world-wide phenomenon that has spanned decades. Nearly forty years and still going strong, Star Wars shows no signs of slowing down as last years newest installment The Force Awakens became the highest grossing movie of all time. It owes a lot to The Hidden Fortress. Lucas has even admitted to this himself and discusses his admiration for Kurosawa’s work, especially The Hidden Fortress, in a special feature on the Criterion DVD and Bluray. I could go on and on listing the similarities between the two films, instead check out the video embedded below that illustrates specific scenes and elements that highlight how it influenced Lucas. Since you have all seen Star Wars and its sequels and prequels multiple times, why not check out the movie that planted the seed in George Lucas’ head to create Luke, Leia, Darth Vader and his ever expanding universe which has become an empire and vital part of global pop culture.
The Hidden Fortress is currently available to stream as part of the Criterion Collection on Hulu Plus.