A freelancing former U.S. Intelligence Agent tries to track down a mysterious package that is wanted by the Irish and the Russians.


John Frankenheimer


J.D. Zeik (story), J.D. Zeik (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2,642 ( 314)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Sam
Jean Reno ... Vincent
Natascha McElhone ... Deirdre
Stellan Skarsgård ... Gregor
Sean Bean ... Spence
Skipp Sudduth ... Larry
Michael Lonsdale ... Jean-Pierre
Jan Tríska ... Dapper Gent
Jonathan Pryce ... Seamus O'Rourke
Ron Perkins ... Man with the Newspaper
Féodor Atkine ... Mikhi
Katarina Witt ... Natacha Kirilova
Bernard Bloch Bernard Bloch ... Sergi
Dominic Gugliametti Dominic Gugliametti ... Clown Ice Skater
Alan Beckworth Alan Beckworth ... Clown Ice Skater


Ronin is the Japanese word used for Samurai without a master. In this case, the Ronin are outcast specialists of every kind, whose services are available to everyone - for money. Dierdre (undoubtedly from Ireland) hires several Ronin to form a team in order to retrieve an important suitcase from a man who is about to sell it to the Russians. After the mission has been completed successfully, the suitcase immediately gets switched by a member of the team who seems to work into his own pocket. The complex net of everyone tricking everyone begins to surface slowly, and deadly... Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Anyone is an enemy for a price. See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Three of the actors in this movie have played the antagonists in three separate James Bond movies. Sean Bean in GoldenEye (1995), Michael Lonsdale in Moonraker (1979) and Jonathan Pryce in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). These three actors do not appear together in any scenes in this film. See more »


When Deidre is in the tunnel going the wrong way during the car chase, the sequence of her passing cars is repeated. Once with the camera on bumper level and once on a stationary high overhead. See more »


Spence: You ever kill anybody?
Sam: I hurt somebody's feelings once.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The print of the opening titles, starting "In Feudal Japan..." before the film title "Ronin" appears on-screen, on all UK DVD releases from the 11th October 2004 release does not have the original large font that exists on the original theatrical print and TV broadcasts. Instead it is much smaller and does not feel correct especially when one knows the movie and is not consistent with the font titles used throughout the film and the end credits. The 2000/2001 UK DVD MGM original 1 disc release, catalogue number 15745DVD (EAN 5050070000207) does oontain the correct font. All subsequent UK media releases do not contain the correct font (including the Definitive Edition in steelbook packaging!) See more »


Referenced in Filming in the Fast Lane (1999) See more »


Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Variation 18
Written by Sergei Rachmaninoff
Performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Courtesy of BMG Classics/RCA Victor
(used during the solo figure-skating sequence)
See more »

User Reviews

Clothed Women in Action Films Are INVISIBLE To Male Viewers!
31 July 2016 | by KissEnglishPastoSee all my reviews

....from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L. A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA...and ORLANDO, FL

"An Anti-Action, anti-formula movie" was my initial choice for a tag line for this review...but I wanted something more enticing! If you've gotten this far, you're probably looking for a little clarification. Here it is: It is indeed rare to encounter a truly original element in any movie. Much rarer still, is to have such originality overlooked completely by the viewing public. When this occurs, it really upsets me.

RONIN offers us just such an unheralded moment of cinematic history! Initially curious to see what percent of reviewers had commented on the totally unique and unprecedented selection of a female driver, in what is, undoubtedly,the most REALISTIC cinema chase sequence of the past 20 years, systematically, I began scouring the reviews. What I discovered has not ceased to amaze me! I would like to share the results with you, and let you measure your own reaction.

Out of the 212 reviews that were posted at the time, I carefully went over 70 of them! Only ONE reviewer used a name clearly belonging to woman. Unfortunately, she restricted herself to only 15 or 20 words, so she really didn't end up saying much of anything! (Of course, there were perhaps 7 or 8 anonymous reviews.) Of the 70 reviews, 50, or more, made reference to the chase scene. (Between 80 and 90 percent of those comments were basically positive.)

Although Robert De Niro and Jean Reno were the only two actors in the film who definitely had more on-screen time than Natascha McElhone, (Dierdre, the chase car driver from HELL!) around 20 reviewers commented on other actors, whose on-screen time wasn't half that of hers. Only 6 or 7 chose to mention her at all! Probably, more reviewers sited Katarina Witt's 3 or 4 minute cameo spot! (Of course, she was much more scantily clad than Ms. McElhone!)

Finally, out of 50, or so, who did talk about the chase scenes, ONLY ONE linked McElhone to them directly! Amazingly, paraphrasing here the reviewer's words, "The car chase scenes are very authentic. (Except that Natascha McElhone looks like she has never driven fast in her life!)" Well, all I can say is, after having screened the scene at least a dozen times, it seems to me that this reviewer was watching a different RONIN!

Some might argue that THELMA & LOUISE had car chases. These were all together different, because the movie revolved entirely around its title characters. In RONIN, nobody seems to make a big deal out of the fact, and it is actually Dierdre's boss who pointedly barks at her, "YOU DRIVE!" Is there a lesson to be learned here? Apparently, all this tends to bear out the title of this review..."Clothed women in Action films are invisible to male viewers!"

Sad, because RONIN has a lot more to offer than just the chase scenes. It pays yet another subtle tribute to the prowess of women, when an ex-East German operative (Stellan Skarsgaerd) says, "I've hired the very best sniper assassin...SHE never misses!" More than anything else, RONIN provides an utterly believable inside- track on the post-Cold War mercenary and the shadowy, detached world he inhabits, reminiscent of the insider's glimpse of real-world spies offered in the classic, The SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD. If it's John Woo style Action films that make your day...You'll probably find RONIN much too realistic, too cerebral, too noir and too explosion-less for your tastes!

On the other hand, if you like your Action movies well grounded in reality, RONIN is a near classic, anti-action, anti-formula film, with a most refreshing European aftertaste, that you will find quite engrossing and enjoyable!


19 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 633 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »



UK | USA | France


English | French | Russian

Release Date:

25 September 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ronin See more »


Box Office


$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,697,641, 27 September 1998

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS-Stereo | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed