In the 1870s, Captain Nathan Algren, a cynical veteran of the American Civil war who will work for anyone, is hired by Americans who want lucrative contracts with the Emperor of Japan to train the peasant conscripts for the first standing imperial army in modern warfare using firearms. The imperial Omura cabinet's first priority is to repress a rebellion of traditionalist Samurai -hereditary warriors- who remain devoted to the sacred dynasty but reject the Westernizing policy and even refuse firearms. Yet when his ill-prepared superior force sets out too soon, their panic allows the sword-wielding samurai to crush them. Badly wounded Algren's courageous stand makes the samurai leader Katsumoto spare his life; once nursed to health he learns to know and respect the old Japanese way, and participates as advisor in Katsumoto's failed attempt to save the Bushido tradition, but Omura gets repressive laws enacted- he must now choose to honor his loyalty to one of the embittered sides when ... Written by
In the face of an enemy, in the Heart of One Man, Lies the Soul of a Warrior.
5 December 2003 (USA)
See more »
Opening Weekend: $136,898
(30 January 2004)
(2 April 2004)
See more »
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
See full technical specs
Did You Know?
The sword used in the film is the folded steel Orchid katana by Paul Chen. See more
When Algren and Katsumoto are shown in slow motion, during the horseback charge, Algren draws his sword and we hear the sound of the sword ringing as it is drawn. The Saya (scabbard) of the Katana is typically made of wood, and though they sometimes had fittings made of metal around the Koiguchi (mouth of the scabbard) these were usually ornate, and there clearly are none on the sword that Algren has. See more
They say Japan was made by a sword. They say the old gods dipped a coral blade into the ocean, and when they pulled it out four perfect drops fell back into the sea, and those drops became the islands of Japan. I say, Japan was made by a handful of brave men. Warriors, willing to give their lives for what seems to have become a forgotten word: honor.
The opening Warner Bros. logo is light blue on a solid black background. See more
Performed by Tokyo Gakuso
Courtesy of Columbia Music Entertainment, Inc. See more