Akira Kurosawa’s adaptation of King Lear — made three decades after the great director’s harrowing take on Macbeth in 1957’s Throne of Blood — is an overwhelming movie experience. What sets Ran apart from all the other cinematic Lears (and weirdly, there aren’t that many good ones) is the audacious scale of Kurosawa’s vision, and the masterful, sorcerer-like control he wields over monumental battles scenes and penetrating moments of intense personal grief, alike. If you’ve seen Ran before, see it again. If you’ve never seen it, see it now. See it on the big screen, if at all possible. But see it.
See also: Richard Eyre’s searing 1998 Lear, an excellent BBC-WGHBH production that aired on Masterpiece Theater in the States, starring Ian Holm.
Next Julius Caesar (1953)