Tatsuya Nakadai’s 10 Best Movies Ranked

Nakadai Tatsuya He is undeniably one of the greatest Japanese actors of all time, and arguably the country’s greatest living actor. His first roles date back to the mid-1950s, and by the end of that decade, he had established himself as a capable protagonist. In the decades since, he has worked steadily, including starring in several films by legendary filmmakers such as Akira Kurosawa, Masaki Kobayashi, and Naruse Mikiohis most recent role was in 2022 (the year he turns 90).

With more than 100 Tatsuya Nakadai films released over nearly 70 years, there is so much to choose from, so here is a ranking of some of the best. Anyone looking to explore more of Japanese cinema will benefit from exploring Nakadai’s filmography, as he’s been in a number of interesting films and the actor excels in both lead and supporting roles.

10 Shadow Warrior (1980)
Picture from Dongbao

One of Tatsuya Nakadai’s earliest roles was a brief appearance in the 1954 film. seven samurai, directed by the great Akira Kurosawa, Nakatai appears for a fraction of a second in the film, playing an unnamed samurai running through town. Technically, it’s one of the best movies he’s been in, but just because it’s an uncredited role doesn’t mean it’s an actual performance. Thankfully, he’ll have bigger roles in future Kurosawa films, including shadow warrior.

Honestly, he’s more than just the protagonist here, as he plays two characters: a warlord killed earlier in the story, and a thief who looks exactly like the recently deceased warlord. Much of the film is about having a lowly thief pretend to be a fearsome warlord in order to maintain the strength and morale of his army. It’s visually bold and tells an interesting story, and Nakadai’s dual-character performance is excellent.

9 Hachiko (1987)Image courtesy of Shochiku Fuji Corporation

The same time as the American remake, Hachiko: A Dog’s Story (2009), probably better known among English speakers, originally published in 1987, Hachiko, or even better. Both films tell the notoriously sad story of a man who had a dog who was so loyal that even after his sudden death, the dog continued to visit him every morning for nearly a decade. Went to the train station, constantly wishing that his master would show up again.

Played by Tatsuya Nakadai Richard Gere In 2009 starred in the movie “The Dog’s Master”. The original Japanese version was more brutally sad and not quite as sentimental as the American version, which means there’s nothing here to soften the blow. Nakayo’s performance is a big reason why the film is so emotional after his character exits the narrative.

8 The Face of Another Man (1966)Picture from Dongbao

Sci-fi movies are rarely more disturbing or thought-provoking than sci-fi movies about another person’s face, which looks at identity, humanity, and the ways people can and cannot conform. Nakadai also plays a businessman who acquires a surreal mask to hide his disfigured face, but the new mask slowly changes his personality.

It’s a very psychedelic film that intentionally makes viewers feel dizzy while also making them uneasy. Such a lead role is tough, and the odd filmmaking style here outweighs any of the performances, but Chung Tai still manages to play the difficult role well.

7 “Hard Heart” (1961)
Picture from Dongbao

Heart Workshop may star Mifune Toshiro and is listed as one of his best films, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great Nakadai Tatsuya film, as he plays a brilliant antagonist here. Two of the greatest Japanese actors of all time, they’ve starred in many films together and it turns out to be often mesmerizing.

Among these collaborations, Heart Workshop (Another film directed by Akira Kurosawa) is undoubtedly one of the best. In the story, Mifune’s characters enter a town, only to find it crippled by a war between two gangs. He then pits the two gangs against each other (Nakadai’s character is one of them), hoping to wipe them out all at once. This is a very entertaining and sometimes hilarious samurai drama with a plot that influences Sergio Leone also.

6 Sunflower (1964)
Picture from Dongbao

Voted one of the best horror movies of all time, Kuetan At three hours long, it’s strictly an anthology film of four different stories, all based on an old Japanese folktale. That does mean Nakadaida only appeared in about a quarter of the film as well, but he still leaves a sizable impact.

One of the four stories is called “The Woman in the Snow,” in which his characters encounter a mysterious, possibly ghostly woman in a snowstorm. The overall style of the film is stylish, bold and surprisingly eerie, and the performances are equally bold and dramatic, complementing the visuals and fantastical storytelling.

5 The Sword of Doom (1966)

A violent, bold, and often very harsh samurai movie that isn’t afraid to go to some seriously dark places, doomsday sword Essent

ially asking what would happen if a skilled swordsman had no sense of morality and killed people indiscriminately. The film answers that question in gory detail, with the main character continually becoming more angry and bloodthirsty as events unfold.

Nakadai Tatsu also plays the swordsman Ryunosuke, and his approach to acting is intense and, at times, really uncomfortable. He’s totally into the character, even if the movie isn’t one of the most violent of the 1960s, doomsday sword Nakadai’s ferocious performance alone still packs a massive punch.

4 “The Human Condition” (1959-1961)
Picture from Songzhu

Nakadai Tatsu also starred in three war epics between 1959 and 1961, including human condition In the trilogy, the character of Kaji — who went from pacifist to soldier to survivalist during World War II — was the role that made Nakadai a star. total, human condition At just over nine hours, the film, which has been hailed as one of the best war films ever made, is sometimes shown in one night, in marathon screenings.

Given their length and weight, it’s difficult to watch all three films in one sitting, but all three should be experienced in some way, as they make up an overall very powerful epic. Nakadai’s character has changed a lot over the three films, and there’s good reason to think that Kaji is his most complex role.

3 Chaos (1985)
Picture from Dongbao

However One of the greatest of all Shakespeare film adaptations, it tells King Lear And is set it in Japan in the 16th century. The story follows an aging patriarch who needs to divide his kingdom among his three sons, but fierce family feuds derail his plans and lead to a series of bloody (and tragic) battles.

Perhaps the most epic film in Kurosawa’s sprawling oeuvre, he chose Nakadaida again a few years later to also star. shadow warrior…and in almost all respects, However Improvements to an already impressive film. Beautiful and moving, the film centers on a very dramatic middle-class performance, making it a classic of Japanese cinema.

2 High and Low (1963)
The picture is from the Dongbao Company

high and low Certainly not a lowly-rated Kurosawa film. In fact, it’s his highest-rated and one of the great director’s best crime films (he’s made several) and centers around a rich man after his driver’s son is kidnapped and held for ransom Blackmailed to unfold.

Toshiro Mifune plays the rich man who was blackmailed, and Tatsuya Nakadai plays the lead investigator investigating the case. Performances from these two (and indeed from the rest of the cast) are excellent, and the film is very well-paced, consistently tense, and hasn’t lost any of its strength in its 60 years since its release. As far as old Japanese crime/thrillers go, it’s one of the best.

1 “Seppuku” (1962)

Masaki Kobayashi directed Tatsuya Nakadai in the above film Kuetan and human condition trilogy (and more), but their greatest collaboration has to be seppuku. Representing the samurai genre at its best, the film is a slow-paced but engaging drama that explores revenge and the inherent flaws that exist in the samurai way of life.

Brutal, dark, and close to perfect, it’s currently the most-watched movie on Letterbox. This further solidifies Nakadai’s acting skills given the tragic nature of his character and the range of emotions he has to portray on screen. It’s a solid lead performance surrounded by an otherwise excellent film that ensures seppuku Tatsuya Nakadai’s films are the best of the best.

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