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Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 61,981 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 339 user | 163 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 ...
Gano Grills ...
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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:

Live by the code. Die by 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

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Release Date:

6 October 1999 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Ghost Dog  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Nobody is played by Gary Farmer, who also played a character named Nobody in Dead Man (1995). He has the same line in both movies: "Stupid fuckin' white man!" See more »

Goofs

When Ghostdog was driving his first stolen car, the in-car scenes show the headlight on. But during the outside shots, it shows the headlight off, only the dimmer driving light on. Then later when he parked, it shows the headlight on again. 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 ...
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Crazy Credits

The second to last person thanked at the credits' close is Akira Kurosawa--the Japanese filmmaker who filmed one of the Ghost Dog's central texts, Rashomon. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Raise Your Sword
(Samurai Showdown)
Written, produced, mixed and arranged by RZA
Featuring RZA
Engineered by Dr. No. Studio 36 Chambers
See more »

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User Reviews

I live by a code
19 November 2004 | by (Brisbane, Australia) – See all my reviews

The movie is about codes of conduct, with 2 main codes that are dying out or are dead.

One is the code of the Mafia the other is the Samurai.

The basic plot is this. One of the Mafia wiseguys must be killed as he is having an affair with the daughter of the Mafia Don.

The person they get to do it is an African American who lives by the code of the Samurai and goes by the name of Ghost Dog. To be honest, I have met many Japanafiles so this is not so unbelievable.

But the code of the Mafia means that if you kill a wiseguy then you must be killed or the Mafia person who hired him must be killed.

Jim Jarmusch makes movies where the characters close relations based on only very small things. The Mafia wiseguy saved Ghost Dogs life, so now he must be his retainer. He lives off the land (lives on a roof, steals the cars and equipment he needs to do a job). There is also a friendship between 2 people who don't speak the same language. It is the connection between people that is so important here.

If you saw Dead man and like it, then you will love Ghost Dog. It is funny, serious, dark, tragic and beautiful all at the same time. Dead man missed the mark with some similar themes (though the DVD of Dead man has some deleted scenes that would have made the movie much better and reflected better the idea of small connections being strong connections).

I loved this movie, and I don't expect everyone else to. Art house movies have small audiences for this exact reason. I know a lot of people who avoided this movie because they thought it was cheesy. The answer is, yes it is, and most of the bad reviews reflect this same idea.

Also I love the sound track, with lots of Phat beats, and uses Hip Hop (African American culture) to reflect Japanese culture.


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