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Grip the gi and hit the mat with Judo flicks that toss you right into the action.

These cinematic throws deliver more than just a fight; they serve up tradition, spirit, and the thrill of the mat.

Think you can handle the judo journey? Check out our top Judo movies, shows, and documentaries that pin down the essence of the sport!

Best Judo Movies, Shows, and Documentaries:

  1. Sanshiro Sugata (1943)
  2. Fighting Black Kings (1976) – Documentary
  3. Akira Kurosawa’s Judo Saga (1943)

#1 Sanshiro Sugata (1943)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Akira Kurosawa
  • 🌟 Starring: Susumu Fujita, Denjirō Ōkōchi, RyΕ«nosuke Tsukigata

Sanshiro Sugata is a classic Japanese martial arts film directed by legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.

The story centers on a young man named Sanshiro Sugata, who masters the art of judo while navigating through the challenges and rivalries that come with being a martial artist in the late 19th century. This film is known for its dramatic storytelling and for providing a compelling look at the philosophy behind judo.

Where to watch: The Criterion Channel, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video

#2 Fighting Black Kings (1976) – Documentary

Fighting Black Kings is a documentary film that showcases the journey of several African American competitors who participate in the All-Japan Karate Championships.

Although focusing primarily on karate, this documentary also holds interest for martial arts enthusiasts including judo followers, as it delves into the world of competitive martial arts and the cross-cultural exchanges happening within it.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

#3 Akira Kurosawa’s Judo Saga (1943)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Akira Kurosawa
  • 🌟 Starring: Denjirō Ōkōchi, Susumu Fujita, Takashi Shimura

Judo Saga, also known as “Sanshiro Sugata Part II” and “Judo Saga II,” is the sequel to the film Sanshiro Sugata, and it is also directed by Akira Kurosawa. The film continues the story of the judo martial artist Sanshiro Sugata as he faces new challenges and opponents.

The sequel further displays Kurosawa’s knack for storytelling as well as his ability to capture the essence of judo and its significance in the protagonist’s life.

Where to watch: The Criterion Channel, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video

To deepen your understanding of judo’s principles and strategies, consider reading some of the recommended by experts at best Judo books.


What is the best Judo movie of all time?

“Sanshiro Sugata” (1943) is the best Judo movie of all time, directed by Akira Kurosawa, showcasing the journey of a young and ambitious judoka.

What are some good Judo movies?

“Fighting Black Kings” (1976), “Judo Saga” (aka “Sanshiro Sugata Part II,” 1945), and “Throw Down” (2004) are good Judo movies, each depicting aspects of the martial art and its impact on the characters’ lives.

What Judo movies, shows, and documentaries are on Netflix?

The best Judo movies, shows, and documentaries on Netflix currently are limited, as the platform’s catalog changes frequently; viewers should search the latest offerings for Judo-related content.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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