20 coolest ninja movies

The elusive black-masked spies and assassins of oriental-flavored action movies sparked an exotic ninja mania among male audiences in the 1980s. Instead of machine guns, throwing stars with spikes and blades, combat claws and fans became favorites, and fisticuffs gave way to graceful duels, similar to dances. Let’s take a look at the best ninja movies recommended for nostalgic viewing by fans of the genre, as well as a few more recent releases.

Ninja Torakage (2014)

The coolest films about ninja are filmed in the Land of the Rising Sun, the homeland of invisible saboteurs. Miyuki Torakage lives with his family in the country as a peasant, although he recently taught martial arts. When Miyuki realized that the students were using their knowledge for criminal purposes, he refused to give lessons. However, former accomplices do not forget about the ninja and demand that he steal the “Golden Scroll”. As an argument, the criminals kidnap Torakage’s son, but the father develops a cunning plan that is unexpected for all the bandits.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title:
Ninja Torakage

Genre:
Action

Actors:
Yuria Haga, Tatsuki Ishikawa, Ryohei Kuroyanagi…

Country:
Japan

Rating:
IMDb – 5.3

Age limit:
16+


Way of the Warrior (2010)

Yang is a living legend and an undefeated killer, able to emerge unscathed from the battle with an entire army. The master is given the task to destroy the enemy clan completely, but the fighter does not complete the mission. A ruthless warrior fails to kill a small child, and Yang becomes an outcast in his own clan. He is sentenced to death, and the mercenary is forced to flee with the baby to America. In a foreign country, the Japanese are waiting for new tests, and the past will not let the fugitives go.

Original title:
The Warrior’s Way

Genre:
Fantasy, Action, Western

Actors:
Chang Dong-gon, Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush …

Country:
USA, South Korea, New Zealand

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.2, IMDb – 6.3

Age Limits :
16+


Goemon (2009)

At the end of the 16th century, the greedy and cruel Toyotomi Hideyoshi seized power in the country. The ruler improves the material well-being of the samurai – his defenders, and does not care about the peasants at all. The noble lonely warrior Goemon becomes the Japanese Robin Hood, using extraordinary methods to restore justice. A folk oriental hero takes away wealth from wealthy people in order to distribute it to the poor, which causes the hatred of the emperor.

Original title:
Goemon

Genre:
Action, drama, history

Actors:
Yosuke Eguchi, Takao Osawa, Ryoko Hirosue …

Country:
Japan

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 6.7

Age restrictions:
18+


Ninja Assassin (2009)

The list of the best ninja movies continues with a bloody tale of personal vendetta. As a child, Reizo fell under the tutelage of the secret Ozunu clan, who keep their activities in complete secrecy. The mentors raised the guy to be a real killer, capable of completing any task. Reizo changes his mind about the clan when his best friend becomes a victim of Ozunu. The pupil leaves the ranks of the organization, but the owners are not ready to let the ward go just like that.

Оригинальное название:
Ninja Assassin

Жанр:
Боевик, триллер

Актеры:
Рэйн, Ли Джун, Джонатан Чан-Пинсли…

Страна:
Германия, США

Рейтинг:
Кинопоиск – 6.6, IMDb – 6.3

Возрастные ограничения:
18+


Ниндзя (дилогия, 2009 и 2013)

Casey Bowman learns the basics of martial arts under the guidance of an experienced mentor, and he entrusts the man with an important mission. Gaijin must go to New York to protect the contents of an ancient chest there. The legendary weapon of the last warrior of the clan cannot be given into the hands of the enemy, and Casey goes on a mission. The man does not suspect that the United States has already declared a hunt for him. Not only his life is at stake, but also the well-being of Namiko’s beloved.

Original title:
Ninja

Genre:
Action, Thriller

Actors:
Scott Adkins, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Mika Hijii…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.7, IMDb – 5.5

Age limit:
18+


Single (2009)

The old ninja movies are in no way inferior to the new films in terms of the sharpness of the plot and the quality of the staged scenes. The brave Kamui decides to start a new life and gain the long-awaited freedom, but leaving the clan is not easy. The secrets of learning cannot be taken outside the organization, and death awaits the recalcitrant. Kamui manages to break away from the persecution, he takes refuge in a remote village, but the past reminds of itself here too.

Original title:
Kamui gaiden

Genre:
Action, drama

Actors:
Kenichi Matsuyama, Koyuki, Kaoru Kobayashi …

Country:
Japan

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.2, IMDb – 5.7

Age restrictions:
16+


Machine Gun Girl (2008)

Schoolgirl Ami’s brother becomes a victim of local bullies who extort money from students. The leader of the young bandits is the son of the head of the yakuza, who is not used to disobedience and punishes the obstinate. The death of her brother pushes the girl to seek justice, but it is impossible to achieve the truth peacefully. Armed to the teeth, Ami takes the path of bloody revenge – and the offenders had better flee.

Original title:
Kataude mashin garu

Genre:
Horror, Action, Thriller, Comedy

Actors:
Minase Yashiro, Asami, Nobuhiro Nishihara …

Country:
Japan, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.1, IMDb – 5.9

Age Limits :
18+


Shinobi (2005)

The list of the best ninja films included a romantic movie about the Middle Ages , when Japan was first united under the rule of the shogun. The Iga clan is waging an uncompromising struggle with the Kogo clan, and none of the opponents is going to give in. Hope for an end to the war of the villages gives a feeling between Oboro and Gennosuke, who are on opposite sides of the barricades. Love is able to unite enemies and put an end to a protracted fight, but peaceful plans are not destined to come true.

Original title:
Shinobi

Genre:
Fantasy, Action, Drama, Romance

Actors:
Yukie Nakama, Jo Odagiri, Tomoka Kurotani …

Country:
Japan

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.9

Age Limits :
16+


Legend of the Ninja Hattori (2004)

The Japanese film was a novelty in the traditional cinema about warriors in black, as it was filmed in the comedy genre. The loner Kanzo Hattori sets out on a journey to pass the final test and complete his training with the sensei. The guy must get to the city and become a faithful servant for the person he meets first on the road. Ironically, Kanzo’s master is a humble teenager with the problems of adolescence.

Original title:
Nin x Nin: Ninja Hattori-kun, the Movie

Genre:
Fantasy, action, drama, comedy, adventure, family

Actors:
Shingo Katori, Rena Tanaka, Gori…

Country:
Japan

Rating:
IMDb – 5.5

Age limit:
12+


Princess of Swords (2001)

The top ninja films continue with a fantastic action movie , which takes place in the near future. Japan is once again ruled by an emperor, but the monarchy has opponents. A group of conspirators turn to hired saboteurs to help bring down the government from the powerful Takemikazuchi clan. The protagonist, Yuki, befriends a rebel, and the pair realize they have a lot in common.

Original title:
Shurayukihime

Genre:
Fiction, action

Actors:
Hideaki Ito, Yumiko Saku, Shiro Sano …

Country:
Japan

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.0, IMDb – 5.7

Age restrictions:
12+


Blind Fury (1989)

The Vietnam War deprived Nick Parker of his sight, but gave him the opportunity to learn an ancient martial art. A local samurai trained a wounded soldier to perceive the world around him with the help of smell and hearing, protecting himself from dangers. Nick goes to his homeland to visit a fellow worker, and becomes a witness to a brutal crime. The man manages to save the child and is preparing to take revenge on the bandits for the death of innocent people.

Original title:
Blind Fury

Genre:
Action, thriller, drama, comedy, crime

Actors:
Rutger Hauer, Terry O’Quinn, Brandon Call …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 6.4

Age restrictions:
16+


Ninja from the Future (1988)

A film about a cyborg ninja in the action genre will take viewers to the distant future, when humanity is threatened with complete extermination by robots. The forces of darkness destroy people with the help of technology, and in order to summon the Great Lord, they kidnap the princess. The girl must be sacrificed, but a small group of warriors led by a samurai wants to interfere with the terrible ceremony. A cyborg joins the volunteers, dreaming of returning his soul and former appearance.

Original title:
Mirai Ninja: Keiun Kinin Gaiden

Genre:
Fiction, fantasy, action

Actors:
Hanbei Kawai, Hiroki Ida, Yeri Morishita…

Country:
Japan

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.4, IMDb – 6.4

Age limit:
16+


Hong Gil Dong (1986)

The historical thriller will tell about the fate of the illegitimate son of a high-ranking Korean official. The lawful wife of a nobleman is not happy with the appearance of a bastard, so she does everything possible to get rid of her husband’s concubine and her child. A woman and her son are sent to a rebellious zone, and along the way they come across a wise old man. The Tao Master protects the exiles on the way from the villains and undertakes to teach the boy martial arts.

Original title:
Hong Gil-dong

Genre:
Fantasy, action, adventure

Actors:
Lee Yong-ho, Chang Ge-sun, Jang Sung-hee …

Country:
North Korea

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 6.8

Age limit:
12+


American Ninja (film series, 1985 – 1993)

Among the best classic ninja movies, this American-made action movie was especially popular during the perestroika era. Before young Joe, a difficult choice is a prison term or military service. The guy chooses to participate in hostilities, and already in the first mission he demonstrates professional mastery of ninjutsu techniques. Unusual skills raise many questions from the management and from Joe himself, who wants to uncover the secret of his past.

Original title:
American Ninja

Genre:
Action, romance, adventure

Actors:
Michael Dudikoff, Steve James, Judy Aronson…

Country:
USA, Philippines

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 5.5

Age restrictions:
16+


Pray for Death (1985)

Akira Saito moves to the United States, where he carefully hides his fighting skills. A man dreams of leading a quiet life with his beloved wife and children, but local gangsters invade the warrior’s house. Akira is forced to transform into a ruthless killer to deal with the enemies. Saito is on the warpath, and even pleas for mercy are not able to stop the angry head of the family.

Original title:
Pray for Death

Genre:
Action, thriller, drama, crime

Actors:
Sho Kosugi, James Booth, Donna Kai Benz…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.9, IMDb – 5.8

Age Limits :
16+


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)

A feature film about ninja at one time earned the love of male viewers and a high rating thanks to the fighting technique unprecedented in Soviet cinema. Master Cho leaves Japan after the tragic death of his family. Assassins dealt with relatives, and Cho managed to save only his son. A man starts a new peaceful life in America, but the betrayal of a business partner makes the Japanese remember his virtuoso combat skills.

Original title:
Revenge of the Ninja

Genre:
Action, thriller, drama, crime

Actors:
Sho Kosugi, Keith Vitali, Virgil Fry …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.4, IMDb – 6.1

Age restrictions:
16+


Shaolin vs Ninja (1983)

Japanese masters challenge Chinese Shaolin monks to determine the winner in a fair competition. The competition is to bring out the advantages of martial arts schools, and the audience is looking forward to a great show. Insidious mercenaries in black intend to quarrel the participants of the competition, and build various intrigues at the stage of preparation of the two teams.

Original title: Shao Lin yu ren zhe Genre: Action Actors: Alexander Lo, William Yen, Alan Chung… Country: Taiwan Rating: IMDb – 5.3 Age limit: 16+


Ninja in the Dragon’s Lair (1982)

Modern films about ninja are distinguished by excellent graphics and impeccable work of actors and stuntmen, so old films look naive against their background. Still, a movie about a kung fu master is worth watching for fans of cool tricks. The Japanese warrior Black Shadow has been looking for his father’s killer for many years. The investigation leads the man to China, but a Chinese boy interferes with the ritual of revenge. The young man is sure of the innocence of Uncle Li, whom the Black Shadow considers a criminal.

Original title:
Long zhi ren zhe

Genre:
Action, comedy

Actors:
Hiroyuki Sanada, Konan Lee, Hwang Jang-Lee …

Country:
Hong Kong, Japan

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.4

Age limit:
12+


Five Elements Ninja (1982)

The leaders of the warring clans arrange a tournament where the best kung fu masters demonstrate their fighting skills. One of the teams of participants suffers a crushing defeat, but the losing side decides to avenge the shame. The defeated clan turns to hired killers for help, and saboteurs in black brutally crack down on the winners. One warrior manages to survive, and he swears to pay for the vile attack.

Original title:
Ren zhe wu di

Genre:
Action, drama

Actors:
Tin-chi Cheng, Lang Tien Hsia, Meng Lo …

Country:
Hong Kong

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Enter the Ninja (1981)

A veteran of the American army, Cole takes martial arts lessons, and upon graduation decides to visit an old friend in the Philippines. Frank owns a small plot of land on which he plans to organize a farm with his wife. A local businessman is trying to get this territory by any means, and Cole has to defend his friend.

Original title:
Enter the Ninja

Genre:
Action, thriller, drama, crime

Actors:
Franco Nero, Susan George, Sho Kosugi …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.3, IMDb – 5.3

Age restrictions:
18+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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