I was very impressed with Hideo Gosha's early Showa era yakuza film The Wolves (1971). I think this has more to do with the mise en scene than the story. Because in many ways it is a typical ninkyo eiga, or chivalry film, about restoring honor among criminals. However, what elevates the film is the locations, set designs, costumes, historical background that informs the story, as well as having Tatusya Nakadai in the lead role as Seiji Iwahashi. Iwahashi was released on a general pardon at the occasion of the Showa Emperor Hirohito's ascension to the throne in 1926. Gosha uses classical framing in many of the discussion scenes that drive the plot as well as having the main action take place during a festival in which Nebuta-like floats are being paraded on the grounds. Several of the interiors display traditional art on the walls and screens. There are several scenes shot near the sea that use the fierce forces of nature as a prop to the scenes.