May 162012


We’ve decided to start a new series of posts called “The Best Films Set In…”. The setting can be a place (like Tokyo), a location (like the beach), or a time (like Winter). In these posts we’re going to pick our 5 favourite films that are set in that particular place/location/time and explain why we like them. We’ll aim to post a new one every week. If there is a time or place you would like to see featured then tweet or email us! Alternatively, if you’re interested in writing one yourself, please let us know!

Check out our first entry – The Best Films Set In…Tokyo after the jump.



1. Tokyo Story/東京物語 (Ozu Yasujirō, 1953)

The film considered by many to be director Ozu Yasujirō’s masterpiece. An ageing couple visit their children in the city, but find their children have little time for them in their lives any more.  Beautifully shot and emotionally hard-hitting – this is a timeless classic.



2. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)

A modern film which depicts Japan in a surprisingly realistic way. Two foreigners who are in the city for different reasons form an unusual friendship when they met at the hotel they are both staying at. Through the pair’s adventures (both together and alone) we get a look at life in the capital. The karaoke night is a great depiction of a typical night in the city which truly never sleeps. Beautifully shot with wonderful use of light. This film makes me feel homesick for my 2nd home.



3. Godzilla/ゴジラ (Honda Ishirō, 1954)

A giant monster who is the by-product of nuclear mutation and exposure ravages the city, not only destroying buildings but also infecting the residents with radiation poisoning. A very early science-fiction film which was brutal and unforgiving – this was a true monster.



4. Drunken Angel/酔いどれ天使 (Kurosawa Akira, 1948)

The first collaboration between possibly the greatest actor/director pairing of all time, Kurosawa Akira and Mifune Toshirō.  A classic Yakuza film with all the essential elements – violence, revenge, deceit, and rage. It also contains several not-so-subtle references to Kurosawa’s opinions of the Allied Occupation who were installed in the city at the time.



5. You Only Live Twice (Lewis Gilbert, 1967)

A very handsome Sean Connery surrounded by beautiful Japanese women! Of course this film had to be here.  Bond must work with the Japanese secret service (which includes ninjas!) to find the culprit of a series of “space-jackings” and prevent a full-scale nuclear war from breaking out. This film is heavy on the stereotypes, but is still a lot of fun to watch.


Honourable Mentions: Enter the Void (Gaspar Noé, 2009), Kill Bill Vol. 1 (Quentin Tarantino, 2003), Akira/アキラ (Ōtomo Katsuhiro, 1988), Grave of the Fireflies/火垂るの墓 (Takahata Isao, 1988).


What do you think of the picks? Are there any really obvious ones that have been missed?

 Posted by at 13:37

  7 Responses to “The Best Films Set In…Tokyo”

  1. I was about to say ‘You missed Akira!’ but then I saw that it got an honourable mention 🙂

  2. Wonderful idea for a list, Sam.

    I’d make a strong argument for Always: Sunset on Third Street

  3. I’m glad Resident Evil didn’t make it in the list 😛

  4. Enter The Void should have been in the Top 1.

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