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.