10 Ingenious Shakespeare Adaptations on Film

Ran (1985)

The final epic of the great Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa combined the legend of Japanese lord Mōri Motonari with Shakespeare’s King Lear, though he claimed to have started work on a film explicitly inspired by Motonari before the Lear parallels occurred to him. Both tell the story of an aging patriarch dividing up his kingdom among his three children, though Lear has three daughters, while Ran (like the story of Motonari) concerns a man with three sons. Of Shakespeare, Kurosawa insisted, “I’m not a specialist. I’m just a reader. If you quote me some line, I won’t know it.” But Ran wasn’t his only Shakespeare-inspired film: Throne of Blood was a feudal Japan era take on Macbeth, while The Bad Sleep Well utilized elements of Hamlet.