A Classic From Director Akira Kurosawa Is Getting The Theatrical Re-Release It Deserves

Few feats in filmmaking are rarer that churning out a string of classics within the span of a few years. It's the cineaste equivalent of, I dunno, whatever sports metaphor you deem fit to slot in here. (Apologies, I'm just not a sportsball person!) John McTiernan did it by delivering "Predator," "Die Hard," and "The Hunt for Red October" back-to-back-to-back, while Francis Ford Coppola did him one better by helming "The Godfather," "The Conversation," and "The Godfather Part II" within the span of two years before returning five years later with "Apocalypse Now." But for my money, fews runs can match that of Akira Kurosawa in the '50s, a time in which the Japanese legend gifted us with "Rashōmon," "Ikiru," "Seven Samurai," "Throne of Blood," and "The Hidden Fortress," all before the decade was over.

Now, in the latest bid to boost 2024's sagging box office with an exciting theatrical re-release, Janus Films is celebrating "Seven Samurai" turning 70 this year by bringing the Toho Company's 4K restoration of Kurosawa's epic historical adventure back to the big screen. This particular restoration, having only just barely screened at this year's Cannes Film Festival, will premiere at New York's Film Forum on Friday, July 5 before showing at the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles on the following Sunday. It will kick off a semi-wide rollout the following week at L.A.'s Laemmle Royal, although you can get a sneak peek by checking out the trailer seen above.

Seven Samurai is returning to theaters in glorious 4K

Everyone knows "Seven Samurai." Even if you've never watched "Seven Samurai," you're familiar with its story thanks to its wide-reaching impact on Western pop culture these past 70 years — from inspiring John Sturges' 1960 Western remake "The Magnificent Seven" (as well as Antoine Fuqua's subsequent 2016 re-telling of the same name) to fueling George Lucas' imagination when he was developing "Star Wars" to even providing the template for films as widely varied as Pixar's animated "A Bug's Life," Zack Snyder's multi-part cosmic epic "Rebel Moon," and arguably even the sci-fi comedy cult classic "Galaxy Quest." In case you need a reminder, though, here's the synopsis for the 4K restoration:

One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, SEVEN SAMURAI tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride from Akira Kurosawa — featuring legendary actors Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura — seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action, into a rich, evocative, and unforgettable tale of courage and hope.

If there were ever any doubts "Seven Samurai" was made to be enjoyed on the biggest canvas available, the trailer footage for the 4K restoration should firmly put those to bed. Besides, it's not as though Kurosawa is going to be loosening his grasp on our collective culture anytime soon; even as we speak, no one less than Spike Lee and Denzel Washington are in the process of re-imagining his incredible 1963 thriller "High and Low." So, whether this'll be your first time experiencing "Seven Samurai" or your 100th, best to go ahead and add its return to theaters to your event calendar.