As critic Roger Ebert observed in his original review of Ran, this epic tragedy might have been attempted by a younger director, but only the Japanese master Akira Kurosawa, who made the film at age 75, could bring the requisite experience and maturity to this stunning interpretation of Shakespeare's King Lear. It's a film for the ages--one of the few genuine screen masterpieces--and arguably serves as an artistic summation of the great director's career. In this version of the Shakespeare tragedy, the king is a 16th-century warlord (Tatsuya Nakadai as Lord Hidetora) who decides to retire and divide his kingdom evenly among his three sons. When one son defiantly objects out of loyalty to his father and warns of inevitable sibling rivalry, he is banished and the kingdom is awarded to his compliant siblings. The loyal son's fears are valid: a duplicitous power struggle ensues and the aging warlord witnesses a maelstrom of horrifying death and destruction. Although the film is slow to establish its story, it's clear that Kurosawa, who planned and painstakingly designed the production for 10 years before filming began, was charting a meticulous and tightly formalized dramatic strategy. As familial tensions rise and betrayal sends Lord Hidetora into the throes of escalating madness, Ran (the title is the Japanese character for "chaos" or "rebellion") reaches a fever pitch through epic battles and a fortress assault that is simply one of the most amazing sequences on film. Although this awesome epic is best viewed on a big theatrical screen, the DVD presents the widescreen film with a higher quality of image and sound than was ever previously available in any home-video format. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Akira Kurosawa's 1985 masterpiece was remastered for its Masterworks release, a clear improvement over the notoriously disappointing Fox Lorber DVD. The transfer is now vividly colorful and crisply detailed, presented in anamorphic widescreen with optional yellow subtitles that are easier to read (though the earlier release probably wasn't as bad as the "old" image used in the restoration demo). The 5.1-channel sound option allows deeper immersion in Kurosawa's painstakingly crafted soundtrack, and film historian Stephen Price's superlative, feature-length commentary track provides engaging and scholarly perspective on Kurosawa's development of theme through composition, camera placement, editing, and highly stylized direction of actors. Another comparatively sparse commentary track by Japanese cultural expert Peter Grilli is worthwhile for its insider's view of Kurosawa's personality and methods. --Jeff Shannon
Well I have to confess that I have seen many Shakespeare plays but not King Lear; so this is not a comparison review. Read morePublished 22 months ago by B. Chandler
I'm not going to talk about how great the film is - in short, it's one of my all-time favourite movies; movie - 5/5. Read morePublished on April 15 2013 by T. Stamatis
I just wonder if you have DVD's for the movies: 'RAN' and 'KAGEMUSHA' other than Blue Ray. I'm pretty sure these movies are good based on the comments from my friends who watched... Read morePublished on April 27 2012 by Hugh
In my Opinion RAN is Akira Kurosawa's best film, the pomp and majesty of fuedal Japan, the battle scenes and excellant acting make this a spectacular event, well worth watching... Read morePublished on April 22 2012 by tottenham46
I always loved Kurosawa's epic interpretation of King Lear set in Feudal Japan, and now this vivid imagery is more gorgeous than ever on blu-ray. Read morePublished on Aug. 2 2010 by Cheryl
"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. Read morePublished on Aug. 16 2007 by Jenny J.J.I.
The story line is superb ... the scenery is stunning and gorgeous, vast mountains and green valleys, walled castles and fortresses. Read morePublished on June 15 2006 by Erika Borsos
People who care about grandiloquent visuals yet a controlled palette accentuated by the immemorable use of sound -- or, in one major battle scene, the absence of the sounds of the... Read morePublished on July 4 2004 by Nearly Nubile
This movie is terrible. I bought it expecting a good action epic with lots of battles and sword fights. Read morePublished on June 30 2004 by Sean