7.5/10
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352 user 176 critic

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)

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1:29 | Trailer

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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 & 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:

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

Two of the emcees in the park (when the "Ice Cream" beat can be heard) are Timbo King and Dreddy Kruger. They are both members of the 'Wu-Tang Killa Beez'. The RZA, who scored the movie, is the leader of all things related to Wu-Tang Clan and its affiliates. See more »

Goofs

The third mafia man has bloodstains before Ghost Dog shoots him 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

References Do the Right Thing (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Ice-Cream
(instrumental mix)
Written by R. Diggs and C. Woods
Produced, mixed and arranged by RZA for Wu-Tang Productions, Inc.
Published by Careers-BMG Music Publishing, Inc.
On behalf of Ramecca Music and Wu-Tang Publishing (BMI)
Featuring Ghostface Killah, Cappadonna and Raekwon
Raekwon appears courtesy of Loud Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

I live by a code
19 November 2004 | by flingebuntSee all my reviews

The movie is about codes of conduct, with 2 main codes that are dying out or are dead.

One is the code of the Mafia the other is the Samurai.

The basic plot is this. One of the Mafia wiseguys must be killed as he is having an affair with the daughter of the Mafia Don.

The person they get to do it is an African American who lives by the code of the Samurai and goes by the name of Ghost Dog. To be honest, I have met many Japanafiles so this is not so unbelievable.

But the code of the Mafia means that if you kill a wiseguy then you must be killed or the Mafia person who hired him must be killed.

Jim Jarmusch makes movies where the characters close relations based on only very small things. The Mafia wiseguy saved Ghost Dogs life, so now he must be his retainer. He lives off the land (lives on a roof, steals the cars and equipment he needs to do a job). There is also a friendship between 2 people who don't speak the same language. It is the connection between people that is so important here.

If you saw Dead man and like it, then you will love Ghost Dog. It is funny, serious, dark, tragic and beautiful all at the same time. Dead man missed the mark with some similar themes (though the DVD of Dead man has some deleted scenes that would have made the movie much better and reflected better the idea of small connections being strong connections).

I loved this movie, and I don't expect everyone else to. Art house movies have small audiences for this exact reason. I know a lot of people who avoided this movie because they thought it was cheesy. The answer is, yes it is, and most of the bad reviews reflect this same idea.

Also I love the sound track, with lots of Phat beats, and uses Hip Hop (African American culture) to reflect Japanese culture.


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