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Successful Western Adaptations of Eastern Films

Eastern cinema has long been an influence on Western cinema, often to the extent where many films from the west are direct remakes or “reworks” of Eastern films. This is especially true of films from Japanese cinema. As Asia establishes itself as one of the most creative and innovative film producers in the world, this trend of adapting Asian made films is becoming more and more popular.


One of the earliest Asian films to be adapted for western cinema was the Magnificent Seven, which is a direct adaptation of the Japanese film Seventh Samurai. Changing the characters in the film from Samurais to Cowboys, The Magnificent Seven is literally a Western adaptation in every sense of the word. Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars is another film to be adapted in such a way, taking its inspiration from Yojimbo.


Japan has always been a leading producer of horror films, and this was emphasized with the recent American remakes of such films as The Ring (originally RIngu) and The Grudge (originally Ju-on). Both versions of these two films enjoyed much success in both the east and the west and even lead to sequels.

Such is Japan’s reputation for creating such horror films, critics have coined the phrase “J-horror” to describe the genre. Another such example of this genre is the film Dark Water which was originally was developed from a short story entitled Floating Water, by Koji Suzuki and made into a film in Japan. Not long after, the American version was released.


Martin Scorsese won an Oscar for his film The Departed, but what many people didn’t realize at the time was that this thriller was adapted from the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. This film, perhaps more than any adapted j-horror flick demonstrated the story telling skill and variety of films coming from the east nowadays and has further raised the west’s interest in eastern cinema.

Photography: Fer Gregory