Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Ultimately it is this mixture of the grand gesture and the fine touch, the big world and the small people who occupy it, that lingers with us long after Ran is over.
Los Angeles Times:
What's remarkable about Ran is that the drama enhances the spectacle the same way the spectacle bolsters the drama. Few other directors had Kurosawa's ability to convey the intimate as well as the epic, to handle stillness as well as violence.
There's probably more carnage in Ran than there is in Rambo and The Terminator combined, but the new film substitutes intelligence and emotion for mindlessness and emotionalism. You leave the theater awestruck, not dumbstruck.
What could be more exciting than the prospect of one of the giants of world cinema, his career resuscitated, adapting Shakespeare's most modern play?
Akira Kurosawa's 1985 film is slightly marred by some too obvious straining toward masterpiece status, yet it's a stunning achievement in epic cinema.
Less a director's return to form than an essay in solipsism and self-pity run amok.
Those who were suspicious of the filmmaker's unambiguous plotting and Westernized approach had to admit to its daunting grandeur.
New York Times:
A film of the sort of grandeur that brings to mind Griffith's Birth of a Nation, Napoleon Vu par Abel Gance and Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible.
San Francisco Chronicle:
List any element -- from concept through cinematography, battle action, editing, acting, sound, music, costumes or whatever, right down to makeup -- and Kurosawa's commitment is total.
The shift and sway of a nation divided is vast, the chaos terrible, the battle scenes the most ghastly ever filmed, and the outcome is even bleaker than Shakespeare's.
At age 75, the director has made his most costly epic to date, and it's a dazzlingly successful addition to his distinguished career.
For aficionados of the war movie, the western, and the period action epic, Ran is necessary viewing.
By the time Kurosawa's camera comes to rest on the film's final, poignant image, a painting of the Buddha that one character had promised another would protect him from harm, the movie seemingly has accomplished the impossible: one-upping Shakespeare.