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Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 59,280 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 337 user | 164 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

An African American mafia hit man who models himself after the samurai of old finds himself targeted for death by the mob.

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Title: Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dennis Liu ...
Frank Minucci ...
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Gene Ruffini ...
Frank Adonis ...
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Kenny Guay ...
Vince Viverito ...
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Storyline

In Jersey City, an African American hit man follows "Hagakure: The Way of the Samurai." He lives alone, in simplicity with homing pigeons for company, calling himself Ghost Dog. His master, who saved his life eight years ago, is part of the local mob. When the boss' daughter witnesses one of Ghost Dog's hits, he becomes expendable. The first victims are his birds, and in response, Ghost Dog goes right at his attackers but does not want to harm his master or the young woman. On occasion, he talks with his best friend, a French-speaking Haitian who sells ice cream in the park, and with a child with whom he discusses books. Can he stay true to his code? And if he does, what is his fate? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All assassins live beyond the law... only one follows the code See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

6 October 1999 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$255,412 (Brazil) (21 February 2003)

Gross:

$255,412 (Brazil) (21 February 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ghost Dog shoots Handsome Frank first in the stomach, then in the chest, then in the head. These shots follow the same pattern as seppuku, Japanese ritual suicide, in which the first cut with a sword or knife is made across the belly, the second cut up toward the sternum, and finally the suicide dips his head and is decapitated by his assistant. See more »

Goofs

In the confrontation between Ghost Dog and Mr. Vargo just before Mr. Vargo is shot, two small irregular patches can be seen on Mr. Vargo's left lapel where the tiny charges are set that will simulate gunshots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is found in death. Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one's body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears, and swords. Being carried away by surging waves. Being thrown into the midst of a great fire. Being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake. Falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease, or committing seppuku at the death of one's ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Not the Executive Producer Bart Walker See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Rotten Tomatoes Show: Watchmen/Shuttle/12 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Nuba One
Performed by Andrew Cyrille and Jimmy Lyons
Music by Andrew Cyrille with lyrics by Jeanne Lee
Published by Major 'A' Music (ASCAP)/Nai-Lyn Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Black Saint Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Who Would Believe This Is So Good?
4 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of the strangest, and most likable movies I have ever seen....and I have seen a lot, believe me.

Scene after scene was bizarre. I watched an amazement on the first viewing, chuckling here and there. By the third viewing, I just laughing out loud throughout much of it. The dark, subtle humor in here is as good as I've ever seen on film....even though it may be classified more of a gangster film than a comedy.

The humor mainly involved the gangsters, who were a bunch of old Mafia men. A mob never looked this pathetic but they were characters. It was especially fun to see Henry Silva again, a man who used to be an effective villain back on a lot of TV shows in the 1960s. He didn't say much in this movie but the looks on his face were priceless. The funniest guy, at least to me, was the mobster who sang and danced to rap music!

The byplay between "Ghost Dog," the hero of the movie played wonderfully by Forest Whitaker, and the ice cream man, who only spoke French, also was fun and entertaining.

Almost every character in here was a strange, led by Whitaker who plays a modern-day hit-man who lives by the code of the ancient Samurai warriors. He also trains and communicates through carrier pigeons. Hey, I said this was a bizarre movie!

The violence was no-nonsense, however, nothing played for laughs and unlike Rambo-mentality, people who were shot at were hit and usually killed right away.

Along the way on this strange tale was a lesson or two on loyalty, racism, philosophies, kindness, communication, etc. How much of this you take seriously, and how much as a gag, is up to you, I guess. The more I watch this, the more I see it as clever put-on comedy....yet sad. It's not to easy to describe but you wind up getting involved with these odd people.

The movie changes rapidly as Whitaker does in this story. One minute he is a brutally bear-like hit-man and the next minute, the gentlest of souls.

A very unique film. The title looks a bit stupid and one you would easily dismiss as moronic, but it is far from it. Great entertainment.


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