Among the most oft-referenced and influential works in all of world cinema, Akira Kurosawa’s epochal tale of Sengoku-era villagers hiring a band of ronin to protect their harvest from bandits remains a timeless masterpiece of action cinema. Meticulously chronicling the relationship between the peasant farmers and the hired blades in whose hands they’ve placed their fate as they build trust and devise a defense plan, The Seven Samurai is at once a rich historical epic and a visionary variation on the western (a genre it would in turn influence for decades to come).