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The Last Samurai (2003)

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

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 19 wins & 62 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

5 December 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Samurai  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$140,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$2,630,243 (Japan) (5 December 2003)

Gross:

$111,110,575 (USA) (2 April 2004)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filming took place in New Zealand, mostly in the Taranaki region, with Japanese cast members and an American production crew. This location was chosen due to the fact that Egmont/Mt. Taranaki resembles Mt. Fuji, and also because there is a lot of forest and farmland in the Taranaki region. This acted as a backdrop for many scenes, as opposed to the built-up cities of Japan. Several of the village scenes were shot on the Warner Brothers back lot in Burbank, California. Some scenes were shot in Kyoto and Himeji, Japan. There were thirteen locations altogether. See more »

Goofs

Colonel Bagley mentions that the new Gatling guns possessed by the Japanese Imperial Army are capable of firing 200 rounds per minute. Unless the "new" guns are very early versions of the Gatling Gun (this is not what is shown), his statement is incorrect. By the 1870s Gatling Guns had a rate of fire of at least 800 rounds per minute and, depending on the specific model, significantly higher rates. 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.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Hot Set: Crash Landed Astronaut (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Kagura-No-Netori
Performed by Tokyo Gakuso
Courtesy of Columbia Music Entertainment, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the most beautifully crafted films ever made.
15 January 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

If you have NOT seen the film then stop reading this review and go rent, buy or borrow it right now! What are you waiting for? This is a 10 out of 10 must see.

The casting, location, storyline and direction of this film is simply excellent. I say this is Tom Cruise's finest acting hour. A story of honour, integrity, tradition, courage and love entwined with great battle scenes, beautiful scenery and superb acting, especially in the lead roles of Cruise and Ken Watanabe.

For me personally I have no faults with this film. I do not possess a vast knowledge of Samurai history other than what we see on TV and read in magazines so cannot comment on it's depiction of true Samurai legend. A real gem.


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