For a world dominated by Hollywood movies, when a film from any non-Western studio breaks into the international spotlight it's got to be good. And Seven Samurai was just that, and it even inspired 1960 film The Magnificent Seven which was it's sorta-remake with a Western twist.
The movie is about a group of villagers who hear of an attempt by bandits to raid the entire harvest they spend their whole time and energy to create. Feeling helpless, some go seek to hire some samurai to protect the village, but being a poor village they have little to offer.
They eventually find (as you can guess how many samurai) several warriors to protect the village who all join for different reasons (though most are poor and hungry) and all have their own personalities. My favorites were the cool and respectable leader Kambei Shimada, and the goofy (but later admirable) Kikuchiyo.
It's a wonderful, but very long film (about 3.5 hours) though it's worth sitting in the front of the TV for so long. It's an epic tale of survival, class differences, and honor. The only bad thing I can say about it is that it's a shame it was shot by the limited video technology of the 50's. If Akira Kurosawa magically got a HD video camera from Doc Brown through a time machine, this would be one of the few films with almost no imperfections.