best film:  Seven Samurai but when you’re in 10 Kurosawa films (Rashoman the closest) it’s never easy—Yojimbo and Throne of Blood are right there, too. Outside of the Kurosawa universe Shimura is at least in Kwaidan and in Mizoguchi’s The Life of Oharu as well. Still, Seven Samurai is a landmark film. It is a narrative and visual masterpiece of the highest order.

best performance:  Seven Samurai and this one isn’t a landslide. He’s so good in Ikiru (I might like the performance more than the film (which I have issues with in the last 20 minutes)). Still, he’s the strong center of Seven Samurai. Mifune may capture every scene he’s in but I’d be totally fine if someone thinks Shimura gives the better performance. To me that’s debatable and that debate puts Shimura’s work up there with the best performances of the 1950’s.

stylistic innovations/traits: Takashi Shimura worked. Haha. He has 285 IMDB credits. Still, it’s the 10 archiveable films with Kurosawa that lands him on this list (his overall 12 archiveable films isn’t a massive percentage on those 285 but still). Shimura was a great interior actor—showing a relatively straight face. I actually think there are several scenes where he outacts Mifune (the two were paired up together often). Shimura was 15 years the senior of Mifune so often played wiser, older men who dispenses patience, gave advice, and were the voice of reason (while Mifune played those with high emotion—especially earlier in his career). For Shimura to have a 1-2 punch like Seven Samurai and Ikiru as his 1-2 performances is an undeniable strength. His weakness is everything beyond that.

directors worked with:   Kurosawa (10) and then Mizoguchi once

Top 5 Performances:

  1. Seven Samurai
  2. Ikiru
  3. Stray Dog
  4. Throne of Blood
  5. The Hidden Fortress

Archiveable films

1949- Stray Dog
1950- Rashoman
1952- Ikiru
1952- The Life of Oharu
1954- The Seven Samurai
1957- Throne of Blood
1958- The Hidden Fortress
1961- Yojimbo
1963- High and Low
1964- Kwaidan
1965- Red Beard
1980- Kagemusha