Was Star Wars Inspired by a Japanese Movie?

Star Wars is one of the most iconic movie franchises in history. From its memorable characters to its epic battles, the series has captured the imagination of millions of fans around the world. But did you know that Star Wars was inspired by a Japanese movie?

That movie is called The Hidden Fortress, directed by Akira Kurosawa and released in 1958. It tells the story of two peasants who help a princess escape from enemy territory during a war. Along the way, they encounter a mysterious samurai who becomes their ally.

Many elements of The Hidden Fortress can be seen in Star Wars. Let’s take a closer look:


In The Hidden Fortress, there are two bickering peasants named Tahei and Matashichi who serve as comic relief. In Star Wars, we have R2-D2 and C-3PO who serve a similar function.

The samurai character in The Hidden Fortress is named General Makabe, while in Star Wars we have Obi-Wan Kenobi and later on, Luke Skywalker.

Finally, both movies feature a strong female character who is a princess: Princess Yuki in The Hidden Fortress and Princess Leia in Star Wars.


As mentioned earlier, both movies tell the story of characters trying to escape from enemy territory during war. They encounter obstacles along the way but ultimately succeed thanks to their bravery and ingenuity.

The structure of both stories is also similar. The Hidden Fortress is divided into two parts: the first part focuses on Tahei and Matashichi while the second part focuses on General Makabe and Princess Yuki. Similarly, Star Wars is divided into three parts: A New Hope focuses on Luke Skywalker’s journey, The Empire Strikes Back focuses on Han Solo’s journey, and Return of the Jedi brings them together for their final battle against the Empire.


The visual similarities between the two movies are striking. Both feature wide shots of landscapes and battles that emphasize the epic scale of the story. Both also feature wipe transitions between scenes, a technique that Kurosawa used in many of his movies.

Finally, both movies have a distinct visual style that sets them apart from other movies in their respective genres. The Hidden Fortress uses low-angle shots to make its characters appear larger than life, while Star Wars uses a combination of practical effects and groundbreaking special effects to create a unique sci-fi world.

In conclusion, it’s clear that Star Wars was inspired by The Hidden Fortress. George Lucas has acknowledged Kurosawa’s influence on his work, and it’s easy to see why. The Hidden Fortress is a masterpiece of Japanese cinema that has had a lasting impact on movie history.