7.5/10
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Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)

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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1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Dennis Liu ...
Chinese Restaurant Owner
Frank Minucci ...
Big Angie
...
Handsome Frank
...
...
Gene Ruffini ...
Frank Adonis ...
Valerio's Bodyguard
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...
Young Ghost Dog
Kenny Guay ...
Boy in Window
Vince Viverito ...
Gano Grills ...
Gangsta in Red
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Storyline

A hitman who lives by the code of the samurai, works for the mafia and finds himself in their crosshairs when his recent job doesn't go according to plan. Now he must find a way to defend himself and his honor while retaining the code he lives by. Written by Scott Jarreau

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:

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

24 March 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ghost Dog  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

FRF 5,895,446 (France), 14 October 1999, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$166,344, 5 March 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,308,029

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,072,444
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many consider this to have been a "definitive role" for Whitaker. In a manner similar to his preparation for Bird, he again immersed himself in his character's world; he studied Eastern philosophy and meditated for long hours "to hone his inner spiritual hitman." Jarmusch has told interviewers that he developed the title character with Whitaker in mind; the New York Times review of the film observed that "It's hard to think of another actor who could play a cold-blooded killer with such warmth and humanity. See more »

Goofs

Before killing the hunters, Ghost Dog turns off his car by turning the key in the ignition. When he stole the car, however, he used an electronic device to override the ignition. 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

References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Dangerous Fun
Written and Performed by William Loose
Published by Revision West (BMI), Don Great (BMI), and May Loo Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Marc Ferrari/Don Great Music Library
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Who Would Believe This Is So Good?
4 November 2005 | by 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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