Last Samurai
  • Last Samurai
  • Last Samurai
  • Last Samurai
<Previous >Next

Last Samurai

4.6 52
Director: Edward Zwick

Cast: Edward Zwick, Tom Cruise, Timothy Spall, Ken Watanabe


View All Available Formats & Editions

Edward Zwick returned to the director's chair for the first time since 1998's The Siege with this sweeping period drama set in 19th-century Japan. After centuries of relying on hired samurai for national defense, the Japanese monarchy has decided to do away with the warriors in favor of a more contemporary military. Tom Cruise stars as Nathan Algren, a veteranSee more details below


Edward Zwick returned to the director's chair for the first time since 1998's The Siege with this sweeping period drama set in 19th-century Japan. After centuries of relying on hired samurai for national defense, the Japanese monarchy has decided to do away with the warriors in favor of a more contemporary military. Tom Cruise stars as Nathan Algren, a veteran of the U.S. Civil War who is hired by the Emperor Meiji to train an army capable of wiping out the samurai. But when Algren is captured by the samurai and taught about their history and way of life, he finds himself conflicted over who he should be fighting alongside. Billy Connelly, Tony Goldwyn, and Ken Watanabe co-star.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Chalk up another complex, finely detailed characterization to Tom Cruise, whose portrayal of a dissolute warrior makes this opulently mounted film one of the very best in his increasingly distinguished oeuvre. Cruise plays Nathan Algren, a Civil War hero whose battlefield excesses have driven him into a permanent state of self-loathing. Cynical and opportunistic, he accepts a lucrative commission to go to Japan and train the emperor's army for a lengthy campaign against once-loyal samurai resentful of their monarch's embrace of Western culture. Algren is forced into a premature clash with these disciplined, highly skilled fighters and is captured when his insufficiently trained men beat a desperate retreat. This is where the story actually begins: We see this able but dissipated man grow to admire his captors and embrace their philosophy, gradually regaining his honor and sense of purpose under the watchful eye of his captor, samurai leader Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe). Algren's moral regeneration isn't accomplished overnight, and director Edward Zwick does a fine job of conveying the character's gradual transformation with pithy vignettes and relatively brief snatches of dialogue. He draws a sharp contrast between the principled, traditionalist samurai and the opportunistic Japanese businessmen who have persuaded the emperor to modernize the country and turn against the warrior brotherhood that has served the throne for hundreds of years. These machinations lead inevitably to a climactic battle that is one of the finer depictions of hand-to-hand encounters in recent memory. In fact, The Last Samurai has several such sequences, but it would be a mistake to label it an action film. Zwick and Cruise have made this remarkable story much more: a paean to honor, courage, and devotion to duty. It's a deeply absorbing and sometimes profoundly moving tale of regeneration and redemption, superbly visualized and brilliantly acted.
All Movie Guide
While it certainly is not groundbreaking or original, Edward Zwick's The Last Samurai does succeed in telling a moving story in a well-crafted manner. With similarities to Dances With Wolves and Zwick's own Glory, the film also tries to capture the magic of such classic samurai films as Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai. But the skewing of the story to reflect the experience of a Western intruder/visitor unfortunately places the audience somewhat outside of the full experience of the samurais themselves. Occasional voice-overs with Tom Cruise's Algren reading out diary entries are a much too overt plot device that takes away from the film's more subtle, restrained storytelling elements. The sometimes slow pacing of the film can feel overdone at times, but it is more often very effective in creating the emotional impact of the story. Cruise acquits himself well in his role, portraying his Captain Algren passionately and showing a flare for swordplay and fighting skills in the action scenes. But off of the battlefield, Cruise never really seems to embody a character that has truly experienced what Algren has; one does not get the sense that he is a battle-worn veteran (of the Civil War and the Indian Wars in the West). This is the kind of movie that works best when its actors are able to summon the period authenticity of their characters and to disappear into their roles. Though Cruise gives the part his all and conveys emotions well, he doesn't seem to have the right presence for the part. The real stars of the film are its Japanese actors, even if it does relegate them to "supporting" roles. Ken Watanabe is stoic yet heartbreaking as the samurai leader Katsumoto, truly conjuring the essence of samurai/warrior life. Watanabe should be considered among such greats as Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura. He is incredibly effective as Katsumoto, and his are the best scenes in the film. Also impressive is Hiroyuki Sanada as a fierce and highly skilled samurai and Shin Koyamada as Katsumoto's son, Nobutada, who shows great courage and heart in one of the film's most moving scenes. Koyuki, who has the only real female role in the film, does as much as she can with her part as Taka, the widow of a samurai whom Algren has killed and the sister of Katsumoto. Taka must care for Algren and nurse him back to health after a battle injury, and Koyuki expresses a lot with few words as her character goes from feeling shamed by Algren's presence in her home to harboring a subtle affection for him. Lastly, the young child that plays the older of Taka's two sons delivers a touching performance; he develops a natural rapport with Cruise's Algren, especially in a later scene in the film in which he reveals his emotional attachment to the American captain. The cinematography for The Last Samurai and its production design are excellent, expressing a poetic respect for the Japanese culture, land, and history. Algren's samurai training scenes and many fights are choreographed and shot with great skill and are rousing pieces of action. The battle scenes are also photographed and edited with flair; however, though they are stirring and beautifully shot, most are so heartbreaking that their effect is bittersweet. The battles seem authentic and are often bloody; special effects and stunts are worked in seamlessly, not taking away from the film's elegant style. Attempts at political explanations for the state of affairs are so-so. Masato Harada is adequate as the emperor's greedy advisor Omura, personifying the "selling out" of Japan to the West, but too much is left unsaid about how the country has gotten to this state of, essentially, civil war. It's the meeting between Katsumoto and the young emperor (Shichinosuke Nakamura) that elucidates the two men's plights and gives their standpoints a greater amount of emotional weight. Overall, The Last Samurai tells a fascinating and moving story despite its flaws.

Read More

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Commentary by director Edward Zwick; Deleted scenes; Edward Zwick: director's video journal; The History Channel documentary history vs. hollywood; Tom Cruise: a warrior's journey; Making an epic: a conversation with Edward Zwick and Tom Cruise; A world of detail: production design with Lilly Kilvert; Silk and armor: costume design with Ngila Dickson; From soldier to samurai: the weapons; Imperial army basic training; Japan premieres; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tom Cruise Nathan Algren
Timothy Spall Simon Graham
Ken Watanabe Katsumoto
Billy Connolly Zebulon Gant
Tony Goldwyn Colonel Benjamin Bagley
Hiroyuki Sanada Ujio
Koyuki Taka
Shichinosuke Nakamura Emperor Meiji
Shun Sugata Nakao
Seizo Fukomoto Silent Samurai
Masato Harada Omura
Shin Koyamada Nobutada
William Atherton Winchester Rep
Togo Igawa General Hasegawa
Sosuke Ikematsu Higen
John Koyama Omura's Bodyguard
Aoi Minato Magojiro
Scott Wilson Ambassador Swanbeck
Chad Lindberg Winchester Rep Assistant
Ray Godshall Convention Hall Attendee
Masashi Odate Omura's Companion
Satoshi Nikaido N.C.O.
Shintaro Wada Young Recruit
Shoji Yoshihara Sword Master
Kosaburo Nomura Kyogen Player #1
Takashi Noguchi Kyogen Player #2
Noguchi Takayuki Kyogen Player #3
Sven Toorvald Omura's Secretary
Yuki Matsuzaki Soldier in Street #1
Mitsuyuki Oishi Soldier in Street #2
Jiro Wada Soldier in Street #3
Hiroshi Watanabe Guard
Yusuke Myochin Sword Master's Assistant
Hiroaki Amano Samurai Ensemble
Kenta Daibo Samurai Ensemble
Koji Fujii Samurai Ensemble
Makoto Hashiba Samurai Ensemble
Shimpei Horinouchi Samurai Ensemble
Takashi Kora Samurai Ensemble
Takeshi Maya Samurai Ensemble
Shane Kosugi Samurai Ensemble
Seiji Mori Samurai Ensemble
Lee Murayama Samurai Ensemble
Takeru Shimizu Samurai Ensemble
Shinji Suzuki Samurai Ensemble
Hisao Takeda Samurai Ensemble
Ryoichiro Yonekura Samurai Ensemble
Ryoichi Noguchi Samurai Ensemble
Eijiro Ozaki Battle Corp
Teishu Kohata Battle Corp
Masayuki Maekawa Battle Corp
Takanobu Kaneko Battle Corp
Osamu Takahashi Battle Corp
Masato Tabayashi Battle Corp
Akihito Mimatsu Battle Corp
Takashi Yamaguchi Battle Corp
Akihiro Soen Battle Corp
Atsushi Ono Battle Corp
Toshihiko Ito Battle Corp
Genji Nakamura Battle Corp
Kosuke Oda Battle Corp
Akira Koieyama Battle Corp
Takashi Maeyama Battle Corp
Teruhito Takita Battle Corp
Hideki Yamaguchi Battle Corp
Hidetaro Ishibashi Battle Corp
Toru Kadowaki Battle Corp
Takeyuki Hirai Battle Corp
Takashi Taguchi Battle Corp
Misao Kurata Battle Corp
Ken Takagaki Battle Corp
Matt Okui Battle Corp
Chris Chin Battle Corp
Koichi Funayama Battle Corp
Yuya Nakashima Battle Corp
Shinji Matsumoto Battle Corp
Naruhito Nakada Battle Corp
Toshiaki Ogawa Battle Corp
Taiga Etoh Battle Corp
Akira Kojima Battle Corp
Fred Nakanishi Battle Corp
Ryoga Kajiwara Battle Corp
Hidetomo Nishida Battle Corp
Furuo Geiri Battle Corp
James Okada Battle Corp
Yoshihiko Kawamoto Battle Corp
Yukihiro Hokke Battle Corp
Kazunori Yajima Battle Corp
Kogi Inoue Battle Corp
Satoshi Nakamura Battle Corp
Yoshitake Kato Battle Corp
Takayuki Akaike Battle Corp
Shogo Shirasaka Battle Corp
Hiroshi Uenoyama Battle Corp
Maeda Jiro Battle Corp
Akihiko Nishimura Battle Corp
Kiyoshi Iwata Battle Corp
Giorgio Miyashita Battle Corp
Tomoya Abe Battle Corp
Yasunari Akita battle extra platoon leader
Yoshihisa Asai battle extra platoon leader
Raymond Chan Battle Corp
Masayuki Deai Battle Corp
Nobuhiro Fujita Battle Corp
Kota Fukuchi Battle Corp
Masayoshi Haneda Battle Corp
Mitsuki Harada Battle Corp
Yauo Hiroki battle extra platoon leader
Brian Ho Battle Corp
Hiroki Hoshino Battle Corp
Hiroki Hoshino Battle Corp
Toru Ishida battle extra platoon leader
Kiichiro Ishitmoto Battle Corp
Makoto Ito battle extra platoon leader
Koichi Ito Battle Corp
Yuhei Kametani Battle Corp
Nagamasa Kato Battle Corp
Yuki Kawanishi Battle Corp
Yasunari Kinbara Battle Corp
Joe Kitamura Battle Corp
Hisataka Kitaoka Battle Corp
Mitsuki Koga Battle Corp
Yasuhiro Koshi Battle Corp
Yuki Maekawa battle extra platoon leader
Yoshihiro Masujima Battle Corp
Fumio Matsuki Battle Corp
Shusuke Mitsuyoshi Battle Corp
Hirokazu Miyata Battle Corp
Kenji Motomiya Battle Corp
Hiroyuki Muraoka Battle Corp
Hidemitsu Nakadate battle extra platoon leader
Motokuni Nakagawa Battle Corp
Ryuji Nakamura battle extra platoon leader
Kiyonori Namikawa Battle Corp
Masaki Nishimura Battle Corp
Masahiro Ogura Battle Corp
Kazuma Ohuchi Battle Corp
Tadashi Oiwa Battle Corp
Daisuke Okano Battle Corp
Motohiro Okita battle extra platoon leader
Mitsunori Omae Battle Corp
Nobuhiro Oshima battle extra platoon leader
Shinobu Sakurai Battle Corp
Daisuke Sasagawa Battle Corp
Yuichiro Sasaki Battle Corp
Satoru Shibue battle extra platoon leader
Naruto Shigemi Battle Corp
Toshinobu Shigemura Battle Corp
Kazuya Shimizu Battle Corp
Taku Shinya Battle Corp
Masashi Shirai Battle Corp
Masaki Sono battle extra platoon leader
Susumu Suou Battle Corp
Hiromi Takatani Battle Corp
Shusei Take Battle Corp
Ryo Tanaka Battle Corp
Yuki Tanifuji battle extra platoon leader
Tomohide Tanigawa battle extra platoon leader
Katsutoshi Uchibori Battle Corp
Hajime Unesa Battle Corp
Tadashi Watanabe Battle Corp
Masayuki Yamada Battle Corp
Tetsuro Yamamoto Battle Corp
Keisuke Yamamoto Battle Corp
Blake Beely Conductor

Technical Credits
Edward Zwick Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Tsuyoshi Abe Stunts
Daisuke Amano Stunts
Alistair Anderson Special Effects
Hiro Asari Stunts
Christopher Assells Sound Editor
Danny Baldwin Stunts
Roy Barnes Set Decoration/Design
Jennifer Barrons Makeup
James Bayliss Set Decoration/Design
Joel Blanchard Special Effects
Dave Booth Special Effects
Danny Le Boyer Stunts
Thomas H. Brown Special Effects
Dean Bushby Special Effects
Lucinda Campbell Costumes/Costume Designer
Gary Capo Cinematographer
Dean Caulfield Stunts
Brent A. Chan Stunts
Mike Ching Stunts
Karl Chisholm Special Effects
Phil Chong Stunts
Dean Clarke Special Effects
Peter Cleveland Special Effects
Mick Corrigan Stunts
Jonathan Costello Stunts
Jackie Old Coyote Stunts
Thomas "Mike" Craven Special Effects
Tom Cruise Producer
Ricardo Cruz Stunts
Geoff Curtis Special Effects
Lenny Dalrymple Special Effects
Alaynna Davis Stunts
Christine Davis Stunts
Sarah Davis Stunts
Steven Dearth Special Effects
Kim Derry Special Effects
Jean-Jacques Desplanque Stunts
Ngila Dickson Costumes/Costume Designer
Dino Dimruo Sound Editor
Michael Doven Associate Producer
Victor DuBois Editor
Stephen Dunham Stunts
Mathew Dunne Asst. Director
Al Eisenmann Stunts
Zoltan Elek Makeup
Patrick Shining Elk Stunts
Maggie Elliot Makeup
Tom Engelman Producer
Terry Erickson Special Effects
Kendall Errair Costumes/Costume Designer
Sian Evans Costumes/Costume Designer
John Fagan Special Effects
Doug Falconer Special Effects
Guy Feldman Special Effects
Ted Field Executive Producer
Dave Foreman Stunts
Jim Fredburg Special Effects
Pedro Garcia Garcia Stunts
Alejandro Garcia Stunts
Scott Garcia Special Effects
Oliver Gee Special Effects
Perry "Mike" Germain Makeup
Daniel Gilmore Special Effects
John Perry Goldsmith Set Decoration/Design
Jess Gonchor Art Director
Adrian H. Gorton Set Decoration/Design
Al Goto Stunts
Tad Griffith Stunts
Kiwa Halley Stunts
Scott Harens Special Effects
Christina "Tina" Harrelson Makeup
Ann Harris Set Decoration/Design
Ken Hasegawa Stunts
Jeremy Hays Special Effects
Albert Heimuli Stunts
Brent Herrmann Special Effects
Marshall Herskovitz Producer,Screenwriter
Steven Ho Stunts
Iain Hutton Special Effects
Tasho Ihara Stunts
Yoshio Iizuka Stunts
Shogo Ikegami Stunts
Brian Imada Stunts
Steve Ito Stunts
Lani Jackson Stunts
Geraldine Jacobsen Stunts
Akira Kamito Stunts
Michael Kamper Sound/Sound Designer
Motoki Kawana Stunts
Darrin Keough Camera Operator
Lilly Kilvert Art Director
Jon Kishi Stunts
Kraig Kishi Stunts
Tommy Klines Camera Operator
Masato Kobayashi Stunts
Koji Nakamura Stunts
Jonathan Kombrinck Special Effects
Mitsuyuki Kousaka Production Manager
Joel Kramer Stunts
Michael Krehl Makeup
Scott Kroopf Producer
Yoshiyuki Kubo Stunts
Takahiro Kudo Stunts
Larry "Warlock" Lam Stunts
Grace Kelly Lambert Costumes/Costume Designer
Graham J. Larson Associate Producer
Willie Leong Stunts
James Lew Stunts
Michael Li Stunts
Joseph Livolsi Special Effects
John Logan Original Story,Screenwriter
Eduardo Lozano Special Effects
Darian Lumsden Special Effects
Gregory Lundsgaard Camera Operator
Leigh Mackenzie Camera Operator
Ron Matthews Special Effects
Scott Mattson Special Effects
Peter McCaffrey Camera Operator
Mike McDonald Special Effects
Calum McFarlane Camera Operator
Phil McLaren Special Effects
Duncan McNaughton Stunts
Guy Menanno Special Effects
Peter Miles Stunts
Yoshio Miyaki Stunts
Suzette Moriarty Musical Arrangement
Atsushi Morita Stunts
Cynthia Morrill Costumes/Costume Designer
John Mowat Special Effects
Liz Mullane Casting
Charles B. Mulvehill Executive Producer
Ryoichi Murakami Stunts
Tadahiro Nakamura Stunts
Taketo Nakamura Stunts
Greg Nelson Makeup
Lyena Nomura Translator
Casey O'Neill Stunts
Nobuyuki Obikane Stunts
Lin Oeding Stunts
Tadashi Oiwa Stunts
Shawn Orr Stunts
Herman Ortiz Stunts
Nilo Otero Asst. Director
Anthony D. Parillo Set Decoration/Design
Rick Peterson Special Effects
David Peterson Special Effects
Noroa Poa Stunts
Alan Poppleton Stunts
Dean Powell Special Effects
Alan Rankin Sound Editor
Steven Rosenblum Editor
Ken Rudell Special Effects
Duane Russel Special Effects
Shoji Sakai Stunts
Takashi Sakamoto Stunts
Jon Sakata Stunts
Spencer Sano Stunts
Kenji Sato Stunts
Mark Schilling Consultant/advisor
Charles Schmitz Special Effects
Paul Shapcott Stunts
Shigemori Shigeta Special Effects
Yukiyoshi Shimizu Special Effects
Tadahiro Shimizu Stunts
Kim Sinclair Art Director
Michael Smale Set Decoration/Design
Richard Snell Makeup
Ron Snyder Makeup
Richard Solomon Executive Producer
Samuel J. Storey Set Decoration/Design
Ava Strong Stunts
Patte Strong-Lord Set Decoration/Design
Akira Sugihara Stunts
Zokir Sultanov Stunts
Keiya Tabuchi Stunts
Hiroki Takano Stunts
Bruce Tannis Sound Editor
Dominic Taylor Special Effects
Mike Thomas Camera Operator
Philip Thomas Set Decoration/Design
Victoria Thomas Casting
Jon Title Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Todd Special Effects
John Toll Cinematographer
Kenji Tominaga Stunts
Jesus Riaran Torres Stunts
Kazuki Tsujimoto Stunts
Xuyen Sam Vadivia Stunts
Paul Verrall Special Effects
Paula Wagner Producer
William Wallace Special Effects
Natasha Walsh Costumes/Costume Designer
Vincent Ward Executive Producer
Kenneth Wensevic Makeup
Ben Wilkins Sound Editor
Paul Wu Stunts
Kimio Yamada Stunts
Eugenio Yenes Stunts
Warwick Yin Special Effects
Takeyama Yo Consultant/advisor
Yoko Narahashi Associate Producer,Casting
Moritaka Yoshida Stunts
Marcus Young Stunts
Peng Zhang Stunts
Hans Zimmer Score Composer
Peter Zivkovic Special Effects

Read More

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Last Samurai
1. Eyes Of The Tiger. [1:51]
2. The Trade Show. [3:46]
3. Captain For Hire. [4:19]
4. Arrival In Tokyo. [3:15]
5. Audience With Emperor Meiji. [2:11]
6. Scalping. [4:41]
7. "They Are Not Ready." [2:48]
8. Deployed To Yoshino. [2:44]
9. The Fog Battle. [5:33]
10. "You Cannot Escape." [5:47]
11. Village Life. [4:00]
12. "What Is Your Name?" [3:10]
13. Fight In The Rain. [5:24]
14. "What Do You Want From Me?" [3:04]
15. New Attire. [4:07]
16. "It Was Karma." [3:15]
17. "I Accept Your Apology." [3:20]
18. Fight To A Draw. [3:33]
19. The Ninja Attack. [4:43]
20. "The Way Of The Warrior." [2:57]
21. "I Must Go Away." [4:14]
22. The Emperor's Teacher. [1:05]
23. A New Contract. [1:21]
24. Nobutada's Shame. [2:58]
25. Emperor's Council. [2:18]
26. The Ronin Fight. [3:48]
27. Katsumoto's Escape. [3:33]
28. A Son's Death. [3:14]
29. "What I Have Come To Love." [4:29]
30. A Man's Destiny. [3:09]
31. "You Will Need This." [3:10]
32. "I'll Look For You On The Field." [4:19]
33. Fighting With Fire. [2:57]
34. The Battlefield. [4:39]
35. "It's Not Over." [5:21]
36. The Final Charge. [2:55]
37. The Gatling Guns. [2:25]
38. "They Are All Perfect." [2:19]
39. "I Will Tell You How He Lived." [3:30]
40. Algren's Return. [6:20]
41. End Credits. [1:33]
42. Chapter 42 [9:38]

Read More


Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >