Yojimbo is from 1961 and is about a masterless samurai (Ronin) who works to rid a village of two corrupt samurai clans. Yojimbo means bodyguard in Japanese. The ronin, played by the great actor Toshiro Mifune, plays the two clans against each other to his own advantage. He does this by displaying is incredible sword skills and then offering to be their bodyguard.
This film was remade in America as A Fistful of Dollars and Last Man Standing. This was a great film and it also had me laughing many times. It is a humorous film but also vey intense and violent. I knew it would be interesting when in one of the early scenes, the ronin enters the village and a stray dog walks by carrying a severed hand.
Sanjuro is a companion film to Yojimbo from 1962. Mifune again plays the ronin and he helps a group of young and idealistic samurai weed out their clans evil influences. Sanjuro is the name of Mifune's character. I liked this film even more than Yojimbo. It was less humorous but more intense. The final sword fight scene was shocking. All I will say about this last scene is that as soon as I saw it I said "holy crap."
I recommend both of these films very highly. If you want to see some incredible and classic Japanese samurai films, watch these two or any of the other Kurosawa films.