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Ran (Masterworks Edition) (1985)

Tatsuya Nakadai , Akira Terao , Akira Kurosawa  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (338 customer reviews)

Price: $45.29 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryû, Mieko Harada
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni, Masato Ide, William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Hisao Kurosawa, Katsumi Furukawa, Masato Hara
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Fox Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: April 15, 2003
  • Run Time: 162 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (338 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008973Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,202 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ran (Masterworks Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New high-definition transfer, digitally restored
  • Production notes
  • Restoration demo
  • Kurosawa filmography
  • European and home video trailers

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

Akira Kurosawa's 1985 masterpiece was remastered for its Masterworks release, a clear improvement over the notoriously disappointing Fox Lorber DVD. The transfer is now vividly colorful and crisply detailed, presented in anamorphic widescreen with optional yellow subtitles that are easier to read (though the earlier release probably wasn't as bad as the "old" image used in the restoration demo). The 5.1-channel sound option allows deeper immersion in Kurosawa's painstakingly crafted soundtrack, and film historian Stephen Price's superlative, feature-length commentary track provides engaging and scholarly perspective on Kurosawa's development of theme through composition, camera placement, editing, and highly stylized direction of actors. Another comparatively sparse commentary track by Japanese cultural expert Peter Grilli is worthwhile for its insider's view of Kurosawa's personality and methods. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
196 of 210 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Edition is THE one to have December 23, 2005
Format:DVD
Kurosawa's last undisputed masterpiece, "Ran" adapts "King Lear" (Shakespeare was one of Kurosawa's favorite writer) placing it during the 16th century in Japan. Like "Throne of Blood" (another Kurosawa classic that also adapts "Macbeth") "Ran" melds action with drama in a unique way that only Kurosawa was able to do. Sure there have been other directors that have made films about Japanese culture, Feudalism and the Samurai but none with the keen insight and profound glimpse into what makes a culture tick as well as Kurosawa.

Kurosawa had lost most of his collaborators prior to the shooting of "Ran". All of that informs the darkness and his identification for the main character. While Kurosawa freely borrowed from "King Lear", he also informed the film with many issues facing himself; he felt isolated from the Japanese filmmaking community and he was unappreciated in this late phase of his career having to scramble to get financing (frequently going overseas to get it). Kurosawa felt isolated and alone without his collaborators. The loss of his wife just prior to shooting meant that Kurosawa threw his raging emotions into "Ran" using the story of "Lear" as a means to examine his own personal situation.

A beautiful, rich transfer from Criterion. There's few digital artifacts and there's virtually none of the issues that dogged the "Masterworks" edition of this film. The image isn't cropped (the "Masterworks" edition had the edge of the frame cut off) and the high definition transfer looks marvelous with rich colors, remarkable clarity and depth to the image. There is noticeable grain but that's part of the original theatrical presentation of the film and not a surprise given that the film is 20 years old. The Dolby Digital 2.
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137 of 147 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Masterworks Edition" DVD is badly botched October 23, 2003
Format:DVD
The "Ran: Masterworks Edition" DVD could have been much better, but was badly botched by the producer (Wellspring Media).
By far the biggest problem is the so-called "digital restoration," which consists of two things: running the whole movie through a miscalibrated digital denoising filter, and increasing the contrast and color saturation to cartoonish levels. The latter change can at least be undone at the playback end, but the former does irreparable damage to the image. Most of the image problems mentioned here by other reviewers are due to this "restoration," not to defects in the new transfer.
The damage from the digital denoising is severe and present throughout the film. It's easily recognized with experience, or when the denoised image is shown next to the pristine original. But since I don't have that luxury here, I'll just mention some of the more easily seen symptoms. Clouds seem slightly unnatural, as if hand-painted, because their delicate wispiness is interpreted as noise and removed (see for example 0:11:45 and 2:18:00). Thin bright lines against dark backgrounds "sparkle" or "twinkle" like stars; this is caused by cross-frame denoising, which misinterprets movement of sharp edges due to frame jitter or camera movement as transient noise (see for example the sunray pattern in the Ichimonji crest beginning at around 0:04:30). Fast-moving objects shrink or disappear completely for brief intervals, again due to cross-frame denoising (see for example Kyoami's legs as he runs, at around 0:09:15).
The new _Metropolis (1927)_ DVD includes a restoration featurette which explains why computerized denoising was not used in the restoration of that film, and shows examples of some of the problems described above.
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100 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion on the way.... April 9, 2005
Format:DVD
That Ran is a masterpiece is not really up for debate. It's arguably the greatest film by arguably the greatest Japanese filmmaker of all-time (and thus one of the greatest filmmakers of all-time from any nation, period).

However, this gem's transition to DVD has been cringe-worthy on Region 1. The Fox Lorber edition is noted as being one of the worst transfers in existence, and while many were satisfied with the Masterworks edition, most who were familiar with the film (and many who weren't) recognized that there was an obscene amount of digital manipulation. The result is the film's colors looked utterly artificial and the film has nowhere near the serene look it normally does. The transfer is just deplorable.

But, true to their reputation, Criterion is coming to save the day. They've announced they're working on a release for late this year. Expect a deluxe edition that you WILL want to wait for, guaranteed. Let the current editions rot.
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64 of 70 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Be Very Careful May 25, 2003
Format:DVD
My star rating has nothing to do with the mertis of the film. It has only to do with the total hatchet job Fox Lorber did in their infamous DVD transfer. By no means buy this version of the film, even though you think you're saving a couple bucks. I agree entirely with the reviewer who said the only thing to do with the DVD and it's case is to use it for a coaster.

The images are muddy and dark. The sound is old 78s quality. It really is a shameful, shoddy piece of work. By all means, order the movie. It's Kurosawa's magnum opus, great in every detail. Just make sure you shell out a few bucks more for the Masterworks edition, or splurge and go for the Kurosawa multi DVD collection.
This review is meant solely for the Fox Lorber 1985 DVD release.
BEK
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Suburb Storytelling
Perhaps one of the Best films Kurosawa. This was a great from start to finish. Storytelling by the Master is top rate. Picture quality to Blu-ray is very good. Read more
Published 11 days ago by SSue
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic Film
Ran is one of my favorite films by Kurosawa. It's based on Shakespeare's King Lear and is about a warlord that hands over his power to his oldest son. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Steve R
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great film from Japan's best director
Published 26 days ago by Mark Adler
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I like the movie it is a good one to watch thank you again
Published 27 days ago by Kathy
5.0 out of 5 stars but a fine film.
Not really my cup of tea, but a fine film.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Like "Throne of Blood" and "Rashomon"
A lot of critics would consider Ran Kurosawa's magnus opus; it was certainly the last of his epics. Like "Throne of Blood" and "Rashomon", "Ran" is... Read more
Published 1 month ago by HeavyG
5.0 out of 5 stars Based on Shakespeare's King Lear this this is a stunning ...
Based on Shakespeare's King Lear this this is a stunning visual masterpeice. Kurasawa was slowly going blind and his shots are breathtaking in thier clarity. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Alan E. Pottinger
5.0 out of 5 stars Kurosawa is my favorite director--what else can I say
Kurosawa is my favorite director--what else can I say? He's never made a movie I haven't liked, and hope to own them all eventually.
Published 2 months ago by HR Hibbs
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
one of my all time favorites
Published 2 months ago by Alistair MacKay
5.0 out of 5 stars well made movie
what's not to like about a Shakespeare play told in feudal Japan.
Published 2 months ago by jda
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Blu-Ray release cancelled
Too bad. This was going to be THE ONE to own on blu-ray.
Jun 8, 2009 by Varuzhan Avetyan |  See all 3 posts
Lionsgate Ran Blu-ray
Japanese: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Japanese: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
French: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
German: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Italian: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Spanish: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Danish,... Read More
Jan 30, 2010 by manicsounds |  See all 2 posts
King Lear necessitates it's own genius Be the first to reply
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