The Hidden Fortress is a light-hearted adventure comedy about two losers trying to take the money and run, more or less. Add to it a warrior and a princess, some exciting chase scenes and a couple of fights — under the direction Akira Kurosawa, just about every frame of it is a work of art.
From Berardinelli’s linked review: “Unlike many of the more artistically obscure products of Japanese cinema… Kurosawa’s oeuvre is entirely accessible to a Western audience… [H]is primary inspiration was American films, especially the work of John Ford. Kurosawa and the Western make a beautiful pairing. The director’s movies were influenced by early entries in the genre, then, in turn, became a blue-print for ’60s and ’70s editions. Without Kurosawa, there would have been no A Fistful of Dollars or The Magnificent Seven.”