MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 244 this week

The Last Samurai (2003)

7.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 253,423 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 915 user | 187 critic | 44 from Metacritic.com

An American military advisor embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after he is captured in battle.

Director:

Writers:

(story), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Emmy Awards 2014

We have the winners, photos and more in our 2014 Emmys section.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 35 titles
created 30 Jul 2012
 
a list of 43 titles
created 12 Oct 2012
 
a list of 44 titles
created 22 Dec 2012
 
a list of 42 titles
created 13 Jan 2013
 
a list of 37 titles
created 14 Mar 2013
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Last Samurai (2003)

The Last Samurai (2003) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Last Samurai.

User Polls

Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 48 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Valkyrie (2008)
Drama | History | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A dramatization of the 20 July assassination and political coup plot by desperate renegade German Army officers against Hitler during World War II.

Director: Bryan Singer
Stars: Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Carice van Houten
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The cruel King Louis XIV of France has a secret twin brother who he keeps imprisoned. Can the twin be substituted for the real king?

Director: Randall Wallace
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Liam Neeson
Top Gun (1986)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

As students at the Navy's elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young flyer learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom.

Director: Tony Scott
Stars: Tom Cruise, Tim Robbins, Kelly McGillis
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

During the Napoleonic Wars, a brash British captain pushes his ship and crew to their limits in pursuit of a formidable French war vessel around South America.

Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd
King Arthur (2004)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A demystified take on the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Director: Antoine Fuqua
Stars: Clive Owen, Stephen Dillane, Keira Knightley
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An American agent, under false suspicion of disloyalty, must discover and expose the real spy without the help of his organization.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béart
Action | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton
Adventure | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins
Collateral (2004)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in Los Angeles. He must find a way to save both himself and one last victim.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith
Action | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young woman gets mixed up with a disgraced spy who is trying to clear his name.

Director: James Mangold
Stars: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard
Drama | History | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

123 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Ray Godshall Sr. ...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Shichinosuke Nakamura ...
...
Satoshi Nikaido ...
Shintaro Wada ...
Edit

Storyline

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 KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

samurai | emperor | japan | honor | captain | See more »

Taglines:

In the face of an enemy, in the Heart of One Man, Lies the Soul of a Warrior.

Genres:

Action | Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and battle sequences | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

| |

Language:

|

Release Date:

5 December 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Samurai  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$140,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$136,898 (Finland) (30 January 2004)

Gross:

$111,110,575 (USA) (2 April 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Japan's first Caucasian samurai was actually an Englishman named William Adams, born in 1564 in Gillingham, Kent, UK. He was a sailor and fought the Spanish Armada not long before he left for the far East when he eventually was taken by Samurai and refused to leave Japan because of his ship making qualities. Lord Ieyasu gave him two swords, the trade mark of a samurai because he was of great asset to Ieyasu. Adams' story was more directly adapted/dramatized as the character of John Blackthorne/Anjin-san in James Clavell's Shogun (1980). See more »

Goofs

Nathan Algren's pistol switches at various times from being a Colt 1860 with a Mason-Richards cartridge conversion to a Smith & Wesson Schofield. Since he is a recent veteran of the 7th Cavalry, the Schofield is the more likely weapon for him to possess. See more »

Quotes

Simon Graham: [first lines]
Simon Graham: [narrating] 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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening Warner Bros. logo is light blue on a solid black background. See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood's Top Ten: Battle of the Warriors (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Kagura-No-Netori
Performed by Tokyo Gakuso
Courtesy of Columbia Music Entertainment, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Brilliant!
4 December 2003 | by See all my reviews

I was skeptical about this movie because not every high-budget feature with Tom Cruise is guaranteed depth or serious acclaim, although it may gather at the box office. And Warner Bros put me through TORTURE to see this pic - changes of times AND locations, over and over. I felt like was on an survival test, an unbearably annoying treasure hunt over weeks and was frankly ready to give it a negative review (which I'm writing on behalf of a publication). However, I found the movie truly and unequivocally remarkable and cannot contain my review in 350 words.

First, the experience was powerful. Edward Zwick was a masterful director. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. The action, sets, scenery and story - even the dialogue - were riveting. Clearly, a ton of historical and cultural research and care went into the script, sets, costumes, casting. They didn't just Hollywoodize Kurosowa's "Seven Samurai" as a Tom Cruise vehicle. Nor was it Dances with Wolves or Seven Years in Tibet, two PC-preaching pics of yesteryear. It was a lot more like Braveheart meets Seven Samurai with elements of inculturation a bit reminiscent of Wolves and Seven Years.

Rarely does a movie have excellent acting across the board, but all the Japanese actors were outstanding, and the Americans and Europeans were excellent ... Tom Cruise was at the top of his game. His Independence Day angst combined with his moral nobility in A Few Good Men and The Firm. Ken Watanabe as co-star exemplifying bravery, wisdom and nobility was outstanding.

In spite of this historical epic being "in vogue" at present, there were surprisingly few cliché story elements. Even the requisite (American-made movie) romance with Take (Koyuki in this role was wonderful) furthered the cross-cultural elements of the plot in such a way that neither culture was violated - and above all the `chemistry' was discreet in Japanese fashion, taking a necessary backseat without overshadowing the main story line, actually adding richness to the process of "going native" for Captain Algren (Cruise). The subplot went far beyond an added market draw. Very tasteful and artful scriptwriting, with many colorful, developing characters.

The thrust of the film was the Western-Japanese cultural divide, differing concepts of value and valor and the political issues surrounding Japan's efforts to "Westernize." [cross-cultural studies have become a cinematic trend: Lost in Translation, Beyond Borders, The Missing, Japanese Story, etc.] Where most of the other films fell short (and The Statement was an abomination], this film succeeded brilliantly. The differences between the two cultures were considered and portrayed without completely bashing one (except in the political arena, but even there, the Japanese seemed to be inviting their own downfall, in many ways). There was no simple scapegoat or cultural domination message. The American Civil War captain, Nathan Algren (Cruise) goes abroad as not only a war hero but also a cross-cultural and linguistic expert. Being in Japan, (at first as a mercenary hired to train Japanese in Western ways of war), he takes on the study of the people and their language. Although Algren's sometimes superhero abilities are a bit of a stretch at times, taking the native language seriously is unique in American filmmaking (and American culture, hence our lowly reputation when traveling). Usually the American walks into the foreign scene and the pic automatically shifts to all-English. I was truly grateful to find the dialog half in subtitles because half the characters were Japanese - and Algren was speaking with them. Secondly, this movie honors both cultures for their recognized strengths, even in their distinctiveness. For example, when the woman who is hosting Algren (in captivity) makes dinner, he helps her. "Japanese men don't do these things," she tells him. "But I'm not Japanese," he says (in Japanese). Algren is not ashamed to uphold his homeland customs (although this was 1876... pre-sensitive 90s man era, long before women's lib let alone men entering kitchens) when his own cultural customs or inclinations are ways of caring rather than domination. Another and more important example: Algren demonstrates American resilience and perseverance when he rises again repeatedly after defeat. This baffles the Japanese who are accustomed to falling on their swords in shame after defeat, for them a noble death. In these and many other ways, the Japanese Samurai (especially Katsumoto, Watanabe's character) and Algren learn to appreciate each other's ways. In many respects, the film moves past the usual PC party line [of Dances with Wolves, Seven Years in Tibet and most others of similar ilk out of Hollywood] and reflects on the beauty and dignity in the midst of difference between the two worlds, and how much they need to learn from one another without money or domination as a motive. The dignity of the young Emperor Meiji finding his own cultural center, at the end, was especially moving. Overall, the film had depth and substance with brilliant work in almost every area of production and performance. The editing was marvelous - although it's long, there's no unnecessary material remaining. Not a moment of boredom. Props all around!


283 of 354 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
White people immune to gatling guns? dannyallova
What next? Glorifying the SS + the Nazis? SedateProf
Ruined finale anneandwalt-1
why were the samurai rebelling ciancanellirich
Does Tom Cruise get unfairly criticised? cool316
Why is Nathan Algren Captured and not killed? welltheman
Discuss The Last Samurai (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page