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


Jim Jarmusch stated in an interview that he wrote the role of Ghost Dog specifically for Forest Whitaker, and if Whitaker hadn't taken the role, the film probably would not have been made.
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!"
Every time Ghost Dog is in a car and puts the music on, he turns the volume up to level 21.
Raymond speaks French in the English-language version and Yoruba in the French-language version.
Ghost Dog and Louie have differing recollections of their first meeting. This is a reference to the story in Rashômon (1950) where people give varying accounts of the same event.
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.
All of the homes owned by the gangsters (Sonny Valerio, Handsome Frank, Ray Vargo) have for sale signs out front of them.
The character Sonny Valerio is a big fan of Public Enemy. Jim Jarmusch was inspired to write this after reading that incarcerated Mafiosos loved listening to hardcore hip-hop.
In several scenes in the movie the main character can be seen wearing a shirt that has Chinese writing on it. The text is from the Qing dynasty and means "All things are impermanent, this is the rule of creation and destruction, once created already extinguished, silently ending is the path to happiness." (Pin yin: zhu xing wu chang, shi sheng mie fa, sheng mie mie yi, ji mie wei yue)
The man in camouflage whom Ghost Dog meets on his way to the park toward the end of the movie is The RZA, who composed the original score for the movie.
The inter-chapter quotations come from the book "Hagakure: The Way of the Samurai" by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, published by Kodansha International.
The scene in which Ghost Dog shoots the mobster through the sink drain was taken from Seijun Suzuki's Branded to Kill (1967).
As the main character, Forest Whitaker doesn't have an onscreen (non-voiceover) line of dialogue until nearly 37 minutes into the film.
Some of the cartoons the characters watch in the movie correspond to events that occur. For example, Betty Boop calling in pigeons on a rooftop in the first cartoon. Later on in another scene, Ghost dog sees a woodpecker. The next scene shows Vargo watching Woody Woodpecker.
The name of the pet store Ghost Dog visits is Birdland, which was the club named after Charlie Parker, whom Forest Whitaker played in Bird (1988).
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.
When Ghost Dog introduces himself to the gangsters at the secluded hideaway, he says his name is Bob Solo, a combination of two Harrison Ford characters, Bob Falfa (from American Graffiti (1973)) and Han Solo (from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)).
The club that Ghost Dog drives by before he steals his new clothes is called Liquid Sword. "Liquid Swords" is the name of The GZA's second album, which was produced by The RZA, who also provided the original score for the film.
When Ghost Dog is in the park, just before Raymond, the Haitian ice cream man, is introduced, the Crips in the park are rhyming to the beat of Raekwon's 1995 song "Ice Cream," which was produced by The RZA, who also composed the film's score
The original US prints of the film had a printing error. In a scene where Ghost Dog and Raymond have a conversation in different languages, Raymond's dialogue initially not subtitled. When director Jim Jarmusch and the distributor caught wind of this, the original prints were pulled and re-struck versions with subtitles were released less than two weeks after opening. New York and Los Angeles audiences also got the opportunity to see the correct version for free if they had seen the original print without the subtitles.
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RZA's acting debut.
Two of the emcees in the park (when the "Ice Cream" beat can be heard) are Timbo King and Dreddy Kruger. They are both members of the 'Wu-Tang Killa Beez'. The RZA, who scored the movie, is the leader of all things related to Wu-Tang Clan and its affiliates.
The film was shot mostly in Jersey City, New Jersey, but the movie never mentions where the story is set.
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Most of the license plates visible on cars in the film read "Industrial State." (A New York inspection sticker is visible in the windshield of a car that Ghost Dog drives, however.) When Ghost Dog swaps his plates with those of another car at a rest stop, the new, differently colored plates read "Highway State." Both are fictional nicknames.
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The gadget Ghost Dog used to break into prospective cars, was most likely a homemade Radio Frequency Cloning device. It fools the car's receiver by transmitting all possible codes in rapid succession. Once the code is accepted, it disengages the engine immobilizer and can activate the ignition system.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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