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Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)

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An African-American Mafia hit man who models himself after the samurai of old finds himself targeted for death by the mob.

Director:

Jim Jarmusch

Writer:

Jim Jarmusch
1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Forest Whitaker ... Ghost Dog
John Tormey ... Louie
Cliff Gorman ... Sonny Valerio
Dennis Liu Dennis Liu ... Chinese Restaurant Owner
Frank Minucci Frank Minucci ... Big Angie
Richard Portnow ... Handsome Frank
Tricia Vessey ... Louise Vargo
Henry Silva ... Ray Vargo
Gene Ruffini Gene Ruffini ... Old Consigliere
Frank Adonis ... Valerio's Bodyguard
Victor Argo ... Vinny
Damon Whitaker ... Young Ghost Dog
Kenny Guay Kenny Guay ... Boy in Window
Vince Viverito Vince Viverito ... Johnny Morini
Gano Grills Gano Grills ... Gangsta in Red
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Storyline

A hitman who lives by the code of the samurai, works for the mafia and finds himself in their crosshairs when his recent job doesn't go according to plan. Now he must find a way to defend himself and his honor while retaining the code he lives by. Written by Scott Jarreau

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All assassins live beyond the law... only one follows the code See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official webpage in Poland

Country:

France | Germany | USA | Japan

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

24 March 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ghost Dog See more »

Filming Locations:

Jersey City, New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

FRF 5,895,446 (France), 14 October 1999, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$166,344, 5 March 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,308,029

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,072,444
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All of the homes owned by the gangsters (Sonny Valerio, Handsome Frank, Ray Vargo) have for sale signs out front of them. See more »

Goofs

Before killing the hunters, Ghost Dog turns off his car by turning the key in the ignition. When he stole the car, however, he used an electronic device to override the ignition. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is found in death. Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one's body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears, and swords. Being carried away by surging waves. Being thrown into the midst of a great fire. Being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake. Falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease, or committing seppuku at the death of one's ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The second to last person thanked at the credits' close is Akira Kurosawa--the Japanese filmmaker who filmed one of the Ghost Dog's central texts, Rashomon. See more »

Connections

Edited into Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Raise Your Sword
(Samurai Showdown)
Written, produced, mixed and arranged by RZA
Featuring RZA
Engineered by Dr. No. Studio 36 Chambers
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Who Would Believe This Is So Good?
4 November 2005 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

This is one of the strangest, and most likable movies I have ever seen....and I have seen a lot, believe me.

Scene after scene was bizarre. I watched an amazement on the first viewing, chuckling here and there. By the third viewing, I just laughing out loud throughout much of it. The dark, subtle humor in here is as good as I've ever seen on film....even though it may be classified more of a gangster film than a comedy.

The humor mainly involved the gangsters, who were a bunch of old Mafia men. A mob never looked this pathetic but they were characters. It was especially fun to see Henry Silva again, a man who used to be an effective villain back on a lot of TV shows in the 1960s. He didn't say much in this movie but the looks on his face were priceless. The funniest guy, at least to me, was the mobster who sang and danced to rap music!

The byplay between "Ghost Dog," the hero of the movie played wonderfully by Forest Whitaker, and the ice cream man, who only spoke French, also was fun and entertaining.

Almost every character in here was a strange, led by Whitaker who plays a modern-day hit-man who lives by the code of the ancient Samurai warriors. He also trains and communicates through carrier pigeons. Hey, I said this was a bizarre movie!

The violence was no-nonsense, however, nothing played for laughs and unlike Rambo-mentality, people who were shot at were hit and usually killed right away.

Along the way on this strange tale was a lesson or two on loyalty, racism, philosophies, kindness, communication, etc. How much of this you take seriously, and how much as a gag, is up to you, I guess. The more I watch this, the more I see it as clever put-on comedy....yet sad. It's not to easy to describe but you wind up getting involved with these odd people.

The movie changes rapidly as Whitaker does in this story. One minute he is a brutally bear-like hit-man and the next minute, the gentlest of souls.

A very unique film. The title looks a bit stupid and one you would easily dismiss as moronic, but it is far from it. Great entertainment.


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