7.5/10
83,938
360 user 165 critic

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)

Trailer
1:30 | Trailer
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
Reviews
Popularity
3,029 ( 800)
1 win & 8 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 ... 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:

Live by the code. Die by the code. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Raymond speaks French in the English-language version and Yoruba in the French-language version. See more »

Goofs

The final shoot out is said to take place at "High Noon" and the clock in the background rings 12 times, but the shadows are far too long, indicating early morning or late evening. 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 ...
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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

Referenced in The Venture Bros.: Every Which Way But Zeus (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

From Then Till Now
Written by Walter Reed, Ernest Aye, D. Black, J. Barry, W. Warwick
Performed by Killah Priest
Published by Rudy Zariya/Solomon Publishing ASCAP/IllBase Music BMI/
EMI Unart Catalog, Inc. (BMI)/Regent Music Corp. (BMI)
Courtesy of Universal/MCA Records
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User Reviews

 
Interesting and deep, but not as deep as it tries to be
23 June 2004 | by TBJCSKCNRRQTreviewsSee all my reviews

This is a great film; it has pretty much everything a great film needs: a great score, great actors, great performances, etc. The film revolves around Ghost Dog, perfectly portrayed by Forest Whitaker. He is a assassin who lives by the code of the Samurai. Apart from him, we also follow the fate of several mafia men(though nowhere near as intimately as we follow Ghost Dog). These two very different groups, Samurai and mafia, are both depicted reasonably well, giving us insight to how the groups work, and, more importantly, their code. Both groups live and die by the code, and this is probably the most important thing in the movie, and it's shown with respect with both Samurai and mafia; I'm not entirely sure that it's correct all the way through, but that's not what's most important, anyway. The film has reasonably little action, but it's not supposed to be an action film, by any means. It's fairly slow throughout the film, but it never really bores you to the point of not watching any more; I've seen the film at least five times now, so believe me, I know. The film is very stylized and cool throughout, which definitely has some part in keeping you interested, but the theme and story/plot plays a bigger part, I think. The plot is pretty good, and though it keeps a fairly slow pace throughout the film, it also keeps your interest for the entire duration of the film. The acting is all good, though not everyone pulls off as excellent a performance as Whitaker. Isaach De Bankolé portrays Ghost Dog's best friend, and he does gives a great performance. So does Camille Winbush, who portrays a girl who Ghost Dog befriends and discusses books with. The characters are well-written and(mostly) credible. I'm not entirely sure that the film does provide a totally correct version of the Code of the Samurai. The soundtrack is great; it's made by the hip-hop artist RZA, but most of it will be enjoyable to people who aren't into hip-hop. Also, I guess it's more of a score than a soundtrack; there isn't any time where the music feels out of place in a scene. All in all, a great film, but not for all tastes. Don't go in expecting an action film; don't go in expecting a very deep an entirely intellectual film; don't go in expecting a regular movie; go in expecting to see a decent(if not good) representation of both the mafia code and the Samurai code. I've heard some people describe the ending as an anti-climax; I don't know what they were expecting... I won't say that I saw it coming, but I wasn't disappointed when it happened. It had to end it, and I think the director, Jim Jarmusch made a good decision on that. I recommend this film to people with an interest in Samurai, fans of Jarmusch and people looking for a reasonably deep film. I don't recommend this to fans of action movies, as there's fairly little action in the film. No matter who you are, if you're going to see this film, make sure you have the patience for it; it's worth sitting through the two reasonably slow hours for. 8/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

France | Germany | USA | Japan

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

24 March 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai See more »

Filming Locations:

Jersey City, New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$166,344, 5 March 2000

Gross USA:

$3,308,029

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,380,473
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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