The Hidden Fortress (1958)
Akira Kurosawa’s classic action adventure movie tells the story of a battle-hardened general escorting a feisty young princess across enemy lines in search of a secret base. Sounds familiar? George Lucas lifted the story and much of the film’s style wholesale, first for Star Wars in 1977, and then for The Phantom Menace in 1999. This is a wonderful film in its own right, but it’s even more interesting for fans of the swash-buckling sci-fi franchise.