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Hulu Celebrates Akira Kurosawa’s Birthday With Free Movies

Decades before Peter Jackson came along and forced mainstreamers to complain about long movies and rich stories, legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa was churning out masterful, lengthy epics like Seven Samurai, and he did so at a rate of nearly one movie every year throughout the ’50s and ’60s. He is regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema. And since tomorrow is his birthday, you can celebrate by watching 24 of his Criterion films for free on Hulu. Happy Birthday, Kurosawa!

Not just movies. If you pop on over to Hulu, you’ll see a ton of instantly playable films, but also clips of other famous directors, screenwriters, and actors talking about why he rocked so much. The guy was a pioneer of the industry, creator of the samurai movie genre before that was a thing, and was given a Lifetime Achievement award at the 1990 Oscars.

Don't let the Gilligan hat fool you. Kurosawa was descended from real samurai.

Seven Samurai, perhaps Kurosawa’s most famous film, is about a group of ronin (samurai who serve no lords) who band together to defend poor farmers from marauding bandits. It clocked in at three and a half hours long — no joke for 1954! By way of comparison, that same year, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye had their White Christmas in a mere two hours.

If he were still around — he died in 1998 — Kurosawa would probably still be making better movies than any of us could, even at the ripe old age of 103.

(via Hulu, images courtesy of Amazon, Wikipedia, and andy z on Flickr)

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