In this adaptation of "King Lear" transplanted to sixteenth century Japan, powerful warlord Hidetora (Tatsuya Nakadai) decides to divide his lands and riches among his two seemingly compliant older sons, banishing honest third son Saburo (Daisuke Ryu) after he challenges his proud father's will. With his family soon splintered and set against each other, Hidetora realizes too late his error in judgment, and the injustice he visited on the forthright Saburo.
Kurosawa's late-career triumph is a vibrant, colorful epic; its drama magnified by an awesome visual sweep encompassing both period pageantry and setting. Shakespeare's fundamental themes of loyalty and betrayal play out with full force, thanks to superb performances by both Nakudai (a Kurosawa veteran) and Ryu in the pivotal roles. Another breathtaking achievement from this revered master of cinema.