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Ran [DVD]

Price: £7.70 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryû, Mieko Harada
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni, Masato Ide, William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Hisao Kurosawa, Katsumi Furukawa, Masato Hara
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 20 Nov 2006
  • Run Time: 155 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I5XNJC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,364 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Akira Kurosawa’s final masterpiece, Ran is a reworking of Shakespeare’s King Lear, set in feudal Japan.

Ran tells the story of Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsya Nakadai – Yojimbo, Kagemusha) an aging warlord who, after spending his life consolidating his empire, decides to abdicate and divide his Kingdom amoungst his three sons Taro (Akira Terao - Letter from the Mountain, Dreams), Jiro (Jinpachi Nezu – The Man in White, Red Shadow: Akakage) and Saburo (Daisuke Ryu - Tono monogatari, Gojo reisenki: Gojoe).

When Saburo voices concerns about the wisdom of his father’s plan, claiming that treachery within the family will be inevitable, Hidetora mistakes these comments for a threat and when his servant Tango comes to Saburo's defense, he banishes both of them. This allows Taro and Jiro to take the reigns of power unopposed, leading to a brutal and bloody struggle for the absolute power of the warlord.

Majestic in scope, Ran is a profound examination of the folly of war and the crumbling of one family under the weight of betrayal, greed, and the insatiable thirst for power.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 67 people found the following review helpful By A LISTER on 3 Nov 2004
Format: DVD
The recent UK 2 disc edition (which isn't listed here yet despite the fact I've seen it in the shops) is an insult to our inteligence by being the dubbed version.
This US version in Japanesse with subs is a far superior edition and I'd urge all fans of the film in the UK to go for this instead.
Theres no region listed on the box and I've tried it in 3 players and it worked in all of them. I'm therefore pretty certain that this is an ALL REGION disc.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Rwj Nixon on 21 Dec 2007
Format: DVD
There are few films that deserve the label "visual poetry" (only Don't Look Now, Walkabout and perhaps Bladerunner spring instantly to my mind), a film where the visual imagery is almost more important than the dialogue or even in some cases the plot (think Walkabout). Well, Ran is just such a film.
For his 27th film, the lord of Japanese cinema Akira Kurosawa decided to adapt Shakespeare's King Lear and then transports it to feudal Japan. The result is an epic tale of breathtaking scale, quality and beauty. The story is very simple; the ageing lord Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsuya Nakadei), after a lifetime of conquest that has seen his empire expand, decides to abdicate his power to his three sons, Saburo (Daisuke Ryu), Jiro (Jinpachi Nezu) and the eldest Taro (Akiro Terao) who gets the first castle and all the real power. Only his youngest son Saburo cautions his father about the hastiness of his decision, and his proud stubborn father banishes him from the kingdom. Unfortunately for clan Ichimonji, all of Saburos darkest fears come to pass as the two eldest sons vie for control of the kingdom and Hidetora finds himself banished from his own lands, only his fool and a handful of his soldiers staying loyal to the ageing and now rapidly deteriorating emperor. From here things go from bad to worse as outright war breaks out and the real power behind the throne is revealed.
From this plot Kurosawa has fashioned a film that is both beautiful and tragic at the same time, a epic poem about love, loss, friendship, loyalty, mortality and the fact that in some cases it is easier to fight a war than not to fight a war.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By JDB11 on 2 Jun 2007
Format: DVD
Akira Kurasawa is a monolithic figure in world cinema and this film is in my view his very best work. The story, as is well known, is simply a reworking of Shakespeare's King Lear. The Great Lord decides to abdicate and divide his empire between his three sons, one of whom says this is madness as greed will destroy the family and is promptly exiled. Kurasawa brilliantly captures the melodrama at the centre of Shakespeare's play and lays it on thick. There is no subtly to the acting or the plot, as this is not faithful to the material, but the spirit is well realised.

It is the quite simply breathtaking cinematography that really makes this stand out. From shots of mounted samurai on the green and otherworldly slopes of mount Fuji to the beautiful castle interiors Kurasawa paints a wonderful picture. The colours are vibrant and the shot composition is extremely clever. I am personally most impressed by the first lavish battle scene which conveys the horror of war and its brutality so vividly with blood running from the castle walls and storms of arrows. This however, is no simple battle as you would find in a hollywood film. Eerie music plays over the top and troops are portrayed running backwards and forwards in such a way as to give the impression of the noise and activity of the battle without actually showing it.

Ran is also a wonderful advert for the extreme folly of war. King Lear is quite bleak, but Kurasawa's imagining of this element is heart wrenching. The way that the film reaches its conclusion and each character is killed off is deeply moving, and perhaps the final shot of the one character who survives is the worst of all.

If you are looking for a clever innovative plot then this is not the sort of film to look out for.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jenny J.J.I. on 16 Aug 2007
Format: DVD
"Ran" is the first film I've watched by Akira Kurosawa. Now I'm a huge fan of his work thanks to my Amazonian friends who had already seen it. When a legend like Kurosawa, does a King Lear adaptation at the tender age of 75, one would expect a small-scale film concentrating on the human elements of the story. That he produced an epic of such proportions makes a further evaluation of the great man's contribution to cinema necessary.

"Ran" is set in medieval Japan and follows the basic King Lear narrative closely. Lord Hidetora is an aging warlord and, wanting a peaceful retirement, decides to divide his kingdom up amongst his three sons. After banishing the youngest, Saburo, for pouring scorn on the idea, Hidetora finds himself an unwanted obstacle to the older two. After repeated humiliations, pride forces Hidetora into vain wanderings on the open plain, his state of mind declining as rapidly as his entourage.

The film sets itself the unenviable task of trying to explain the precarious position man holds within the universe. Man is seen to be elevating himself to such a level that he dreams of challenging the very laws of nature. Hidetora has achieved his status through deception, callousness and violence; his notion to wash away the blood he has spilt in happy retirement is scornfully thrown back by the elements. The speed and manner in which he is forced to lie in the bed he has made for himself should serve as a warning to all.

The films large set pieces, particularly two quite stunning battle sequences, are staged magnificently, but 'Ran' is no empty epic. The characters and their motivations are fully explored and the tension built up by the dialogue fully compliments the action.
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