The Hidden Fortress

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Year Released: 1958
Rating: 3.5

Starts off slowly, but by the time I got used to the pacing and the characters, I found it to be top-notch Kurosawa. Two cowardly peasants assist a samurai general (Toshiro Mifune) in protecting a Princess' life and sneaking gold through enemy lines - but their greed keeps getting everyone in trouble. There's a strong feminist stance taken (the Princess is no wilting flower), and it's refreshing to see the antagonist change sides at the end to fight along side his former friend. The camerawork during the fight scenes (and, in particular, the sequence where Mifune chases down some soldiers on horseback) is almost peerless.