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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 20 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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This not only marks the first time Ken Watanabe starred in an American-made film, but it is also the first time he spoke English in a film. See more »

Goofs

When Nathan walks into Taka's house after his first round about town since his capture, Taka cleans up after him because he has walked in with muddy shoes. The shot before this showing him walking in the door clearly shows clean shoes. 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

References Rurouni Kenshin: Wandering Samurai (1996) 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

gripping and visually stunning
26 March 2004 | by See all my reviews

Powerful, well-crafted epic set in 19th century Japan about a disillusioned American soldier who's hired to train a group of fledgling soldiers and lead them into battle against a rebellious samurai. Having been defeated and held captive by the enemy, he gradually begins to understand and develop a great respect for the man who should be his adversary. Long, but faultlessly performed and richly detailed with compelling battle scenes and vivid, breathtaking scenery. Cruise—sporting authentic Japanese tongue—is outstanding, but Watanabe steals the film in a moving and forceful performance as the fierce but honorable samurai warrior. Only letdown is the finale, which seems a bit too conventional, but it's still a remarkable tale of life, honor, and courage. ***½


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