To call Akira Kurosawa just an influence on the film world is almost an insult to the prolific Japanese filmmaker.
He was a major force, whose influence is felt on everything from Star Wars to crime shows. In 1950, he made the film that essentially made him — Rashomon. A movie that introduced him to the western audiences and would go on to win the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion award and a special honorary Oscar (this was before the Foreign Film award become permanent).
Kurosawa would continue to affect cinema with magnificent works like Seven Samurai and Yojimbo but Kurosawa’s first film to gain world-wide recognition remains one of his greatest works.
Akira Kurosawa is cool and yes, his works are great