The first Chambara film titled “The Fight at Honno Temple” was released in 1908 and its director, Makino Shozo, became known as the father of Japanese cinema. Because of the films popularity, many renowned sword masters became the primary source of inspiration for developing the techniques that would be used many decades later to create the Samurai and Ninja epics of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s.
Having the wisdom and skill of classically trained swordsmen brought a new sense of “Realism” to these films because the characters actually used historically proven fighting techniques that had been adapted to film. The significance of the Chambara film genre in world cinema is enormous. Stoic heroes fighting against unbeatable odds, honor and loyalty tested, and betrayal at every turn.
Director Akira Kurosawa made many powerful Chambara films that inspired the Westerns of Hollywood. Kurosawa's film “Seven Samurai” (1954) was later remade in America and titled “The Magnificent Seven.” The Hidden Fortress (1957) is acknowledged as an inspiration for “Star Wars,” and “Yojimbo” (1961) was remade as “Fistful Of Dollars.”
Chambara was also popular in a variety of film series including; “Zatoichi”(1962-72), “Shinobi No Mono”(1962-66), “Hanzo The Blade” (1972-74), “Lady Snowblood” (1973-74), and based on the epic Manga comics by Kazuo Koike and Goseke Kojima the amazing “Lone Wolf And Cub” series (1972-74).
Fistful of Dollars (Western film) and Yojimbo (Chambara film) side by side comparison to show the similarities in story-telling.
Samurai 7 tells the story of a village named Kanna that seeks to hire Samurai to fight futuristic bandits.
BRAVE 10 follows an Iga Ninja in search of his life's path who comes across a maiden hunted by assassins.
Sekiro follows a Ninja equipped with a mechanical arm as he attempts to take revenge on a Samurai clan who kidnapped his lord.
Shogun 2 is set in 16th-century feudal Japan in the aftermath of the Onin war during the Ashikaga Shogunate.
Ghost of Tsushima is set in 13th century Japan during a Mongolian invasion where a lone Samurai defends his home.