The Last Samurai (2003)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: With high production values and thrilling battle scenes, The Last Samurai is a satisfying epic.


Movie Info

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 … More

Rating: R (for strong violence and battle sequences)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Edward Zwick, John Logan, Marshall Herskovitz
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 4, 2004
Box Office: $111.1M
Runtime:
Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site

Cast


as Capt. Nathan Algren

as Katsumoto

as Zebulon Gant

as Simon Graham

as Col. Bagley

as Emperor Meiji

as Taka

as Magojiro

as Gen. Hasegawa

as Winchester Rep

as Omura's Companion

as Omura's Bodyguard

as Ambassador Swanbeck

as Nobutada

as Nakao

as Winchester Rep Assis...

as Convention Hall Atte...

as Young Recruit

as Silent Samurai

as Sword Master

as Kyogen Player No. 1

as Kyogen Player No. 2

as Kyogen Player No. 3

as Omura's Secretary

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as Samurai

as Samurai

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as Silent Samurai

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Critic Reviews for The Last Samurai

All Critics (221) | Top Critics (45)

It's easy to stand back and wax ironic about The Last Samurai. But it's not all that difficult to succumb to its full-spirited romanticism either.

Full Review… | August 25, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Competently mounted in its studiedly immersive, elongated way, Zwick's earnest costume epic dresses a knee-jerk, reactionary sensibility in exotic garb.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The Last Samurai is an idyll in which the savageries of existence are transcended by spiritual devotion. That's a beautiful dream, and it gives the film a deep pleasingness, but the fullness of life and its blackest ambiguities are sacrificed.

Full Review… | August 7, 2004
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

does honor traditional Japanese culture and ideals and make them accessible to a wider audience

Full Review… | May 14, 2012
Old School Reviews

Outstanding action and performance; lots of blood.

Full Review… | December 28, 2010
Common Sense Media

One of the best films of 2003.

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

Audience Reviews for The Last Samurai

½

Sweeping and emotional. This is truly a bold, near masterpiece that just gets better with each subsequent viewing. I don't know why it's so underrated or why many dismiss it, but Edward Zwick created one of the finest modern epics with "The Last Samurai."

YLOWBSTARDreturns
Michael S

Super Reviewer

I really cannot understand how overlooked and underrated this film is. This is nothing less than an extraordinary masterpiece in its own ways; a fascinating and powerful epic about honor, loyalty, redemption and love, beautifully photographed, greatly acted and so wonderfully scripted.

blacksheepboy
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Almost 10 years passed between my first attempt at watching this movie and my second, and while I had rated it a 2.5 the first time around (after passing out, late at night, unwilling to invest in it), the problem wasn't the movie - it was me. I think I, like a lot of viewers, was ready to hate this film simply because Tom Cruise isn't Japanese; call it the "But I don't get it, how in the heck could HE be a Samurai!?" effect. What it is, though, is a historical epic about an American who gets a glimpse into a changing Japan. It's well shot, decently paced, and superbly choreographed - with the exception of one WWE-style body slam in the battle scene - and in the end, the only knock against it is that the premise seems rather flimsy. There's this thing called "the willing suspension of disbelief" that all art requires, though; it's not a documentary, nor was it meant to be, and if you're still hung up on factual accuracy, just watch it for Ken Watanabe's Oscar-nominated (Oscar-worthy!) supporting performance. It's basically just "Dances With Wolves: Japan," but some of us call this sort of movie "entertaining popular film." I think it's been horribly misjudged... I kind of loved it.

danperry17
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

The Last Samurai Quotes

– Submitted by Xuan D (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Xuan D (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Xuan D (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Nandu J (2 years ago)

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