3 Samurai Films That Inspired George Lucas' Star Wars  

3 Samurai Films That Inspired George Lucas' Star Wars  
Image credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

What are the movies that gave birth to the iconic franchise?

If you are a fan of Star Wars, you may know that George Lucas got major inspiration for his space saga from Japanese movies. In particular, he was inspired by the cinematic genius of Akira Kurosawa and his samurai films.

Let's take a look at three of Kurosawa's movies that left a significant mark on the Star Wars universe.

The Hidden Fortress

The Hidden Fortress was a treasure trove of inspiration for Star Wars. Lucas was deeply influenced by Kurosawa's knack for powerful imagery and his unique camera techniques.

Remember our beloved droids, C-3PO and R2-D2? They were apparently inspired by two peasant characters from The Hidden Fortress.

The plot of Kurosawa's film revolves around two peasants who stumble upon a man and a woman hiding in a fortress. They mistake them for ordinary villagers caught in a tribal war, but the man is actually a famous general (makes you think of Obi-Wan Kenobi, right?), and the woman is a princess in disguise.

Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai is the film that made Lucas fall in love with Kurosawa's cinematic style. The story, which has been retold countless times since its 1954 premiere, centers around a once-famous samurai who is approached by farmers seeking his help to protect their village from invaders.

Unable to do it alone, the samurai recruits six more swordsmen, and together they train the villagers to defend themselves against the bandits. This "few against many" dynamic is a recurring theme in Star Wars.


Rashomon, with its exploration of truth, justice, and human nature, left its fingerprints all over the Skywalker saga. The film presents four different versions of the same story involving a man's murder and his wife's rape, and this narrative technique had a profound impact on George Lucas.

Remember when, in Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wan tells Luke that "many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view"? That's a nod to Rashomon.

If you haven't done this yet, you should definitely see these three movies by Akira Kurosawa. And the next time you watch Star Wars, you'll be able to spot the samurai film influences that helped to shape the iconic franchise.