Akira Kurosawa & Francis Ford Coppola Star in Japanese Whisky Commercials (1980)

In 1980, the revered Japan­ese direc­tor Aki­ra Kuro­sawa shot Kage­musha, oth­er­wise known as The Shad­ow War­rior. Fran­cis Ford Cop­po­la was the pro­duc­er. Some­where dur­ing the pro­duc­tion, the two film­mak­ers lent their star pow­er to a series of com­mer­cials for Sun­to­ry Whisky. If you’re a reg­u­lar read­er, you know that many cul­tur­al icons have pitched Japan­ese prod­ucts in times past — take for exam­ple Woody Allen, James BrownNico­las Cage, Paul New­man and good ole Den­nis Hop­per. And, if you’re even a casu­al movie­go­er, you know that  Sofia Cop­po­la (daugh­ter of Fran­cis) put an Amer­i­can movie star drink­ing whisky at the cen­ter of her Oscar-nom­i­nat­ed film, Lost in Trans­la­tion (2003). And it was­n’t just any whisky that Bill Mur­ray was sip­ping. It was Sun­to­ry Whisky.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Kurosawa’s Rashomon Free Online, the Film That Intro­duced Japan­ese Cin­e­ma to the West

Fellini’s Fan­tas­tic TV Com­mer­cials

Ing­mar Bergman’s Soap Com­mer­cials Wash Away the Exis­ten­tial Despair

Jean-Luc Godard’s After-Shave Com­mer­cial for Schick

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.