The Last Samurai (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Last Samurai (2003)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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

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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 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. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi
Rating:
R (for strong violence and battle sequences)
Genre:
Action & Adventure , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Box Office:
$111,000,000.00
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

Tom Cruise
as Capt. Nathan Algren
Ken Watanabe
as Katsumoto
Billy Connolly
as Zebulon Gant
Timothy Spall
as Simon Graham
Tony Goldwyn
as Col. Bagley
Shichinosuke Nakamura
as Emperor Meiji
Koyuki
as Taka
Aoi Minato
as Magojiro
Togo Igawa
as Gen. Hasegawa
William Atherton
as Winchester Rep
Masashi Odate
as Omura's Companion
John Koyama
as Omura's Bodyguard
Scott Wilson
as Ambassador Swanbeck
Shin Koyamada
as Nobutada
Shun Sugata
as Nakao
Chad Lindberg
as Winchester Rep Assistant
Ray Godshall Sr.
as Convention Hall Attendee
Shintaro Wada
as Young Recruit
Seizo Fukumoto
as Silent Samurai
Shoji Yoshihara
as Sword Master
Kosaburo Nomura IV
as Kyogen Player No. 1
Takashi Noguchi
as Kyogen Player No. 2
Noguchi Takayuki
as Kyogen Player No. 3
Sven Toorvald
as Omura's Secretary
Yuki Matsuzaki
as Soldier in Street No. 1
Mitsuyuki Oishi
as Soldier in Street No. 2
Jiro Wada
as Soldier in Street No. 3
Yusuke Myochin
as Sword Master's Assistant
Hiroaki Amano
as Samurai
Kenta Daibo
as Samurai
Koji Fujii
as Samurai
Makoto Hashiba
as Samurai
Takashi Kora
as Samurai
Shane Kosugi
as Samurai
Takeshi Maya
as Samurai
Seiji Mori
as Samurai
Lee Murayama
as Samurai
Takeru Shimizu
as Samurai
Shinji Suzuki
as Samurai
Hisao Takeda
as Samurai
Seizo Fukomoto
as Silent Samurai
Eijiro Ozaki
as Battle Corp
Teishu Kohata
as Battle Corp
Masayuki Maekawa
as Battle Corp
Takanobu Kaneko
as Battle Corp
Osamu Takahashi
as Battle Corp
Masato Tabayashi
as Battle Corp
Akihito Mimatsu
as Battle Corp
Takashi Yamaguchi
as Battle Corp
Akihiro Soen
as Battle Corp
Atsushi Ono
as Battle Corp
Genji Nakamura
as Battle Corp
Toshihiko Ito
as Battle Corp
Kosuke Oda
as Battle Corp
Akira Koieyama
as Battle Corp
Takashi Maeyama
as Battle Corp
Teruhito Takita
as Battle Corp
Hideki Yamaguchi
as Battle Corp
Hidetaro Ishibashi
as Battle Corp
Toru Kadowaki
as Battle Corp
Takeyuki Hirai
as Battle Corp
Takashi Taguchi
as Battle Corp
Misao Kurata
as Battle Corp
Ken Takagaki
as Battle Corp
Matt Okui
as Battle Corp
Chris Chin
as Battle Corp
Koichi Funayama
as Battle Corp
Yuya Nakashima
as Battle Corp
Shinji Matsumoto
as Battle Corp
Naruhito Nakada
as Battle Corp
Toshiaki Ogawa
as Battle Corp
Taiga Etoh
as Battle Corp
Akira Kojima
as Battle Corp
Fred Nakanishi
as Battle Corp
Ryoga Kajiwara
as Battle Corp
Hidetomo Nishida
as Battle Corp
Furuo Geiri
as Battle Corp
James Okada
as Battle Corp
Yoshihiko Kawamoto
as Battle Corp
Yukihiro Hokke
as Battle Corp
Kazunori Yajima
as Battle Corp
Kogi Inoue
as Battle Corp
Satoshi Nakamura
as Battle Corp
Yoshitake Kato
as Battle Corp
Takayuki Akaike
as Battle Corp
Shogo Shirasaka
as Battle Corp
Hiroshi Uenoyama
as Battle Corp
Maeda Jiro
as Battle Corp
Akihiko Nishimura
as Battle Corp
Kiyoshi Iwata
as Battle Corp
Giorgio Miyashita
as Battle Corp
Yasuhiro Koshi
as Battle Corp
Daisuke Sasagawa
as Battle Corp
Kazuya Shimizu
as Battle Corp
Brian Ho
as Battle Corp
Ryo Tanaka
as Battle Corp
Nagamasa Kato
as Battle Corp
Masaki Nishimura
as Battle Corp
Masayoshi Haneda
as Battle Corp
Masayuki Yamada
as Battle Corp
Koichi Ito
as Battle Corp
Hiromi Takatani
as Battle Corp
Mitsunori Omae
as Battle Corp
Yuichiro Sasaki
as Battle Corp
Daisuke Okano
as Battle Corp
Hiroyuki Muraoka
as Battle Corp
Mitsuki Harada
as Battle Corp
Kota Fukuchi
as Battle Corp
Shusuke Mitsuyoshi
as Battle Corp
Tadashi Oiwa
as Battle Corp
Yuhei Kametani
as Battle Corp
Hajime Unesa
as Battle Corp
Yoshihiro Masujima
as Battle Corp
Kenji Motomiya
as Battle Corp
Tetsuro Yamamoto
as Battle Corp
Tomoya Abe
as Battle Corp
Kiyonori Namikawa
as Battle Corp
Raymond Chan
as Battle Corp
Hisataka Kitaoka
as Battle Corp
Joe Kitamura
as Battle Corp
Tadashi Watanabe
as Battle Corp
Katsutoshi Uchibori
as Battle Corp
Mitsuki Koga
as Battle Corp
Masayuki Deai
as Battle Corp
Fumio Matsuki
as Battle Corp
Yuki Kawanishi
as Battle Corp
Masahiro Ogura
as Battle Corp
Masashi Shirai
as Battle Corp
Shinobu Sakurai
as Battle Corp
Nobuhiro Fujita
as Battle Corp
Kiichiro Ishitmoto
as Battle Corp
Susumu Suou
as Battle Corp
Motokuni Nakagawa
as Battle Corp
Shusei Take
as Battle Corp
Toshinobu Shigemura
as Battle Corp
Kazuma Ohuchi
as Battle Corp
Taku Shinya
as Battle Corp
Keisuke Yamamoto
as Battle Corp
Yasunari Kinbara
as Battle Corp
Naruto Shigemi
as Battle Corp
Hirokazu Miyata
as Battle Corp
Yasuhiro Koshimizu
as Battle Corp
Nobuhiro Oshima
as battle extra platoon leader
Tomohide Tanigawa
as battle extra platoon leader
Yasunari Akita
as battle extra platoon leader
Yoshihisa Asai
as battle extra platoon leader
Toru Ishida
as battle extra platoon leader
Makoto Itô
as battle extra platoon leader
Motohiro Okita
as battle extra platoon leader
Yuki Maekawa
as battle extra platoon leader
Satoru Shibue
as battle extra platoon leader
Ryuji Nakamura
as battle extra platoon leader
Yauo Hiroki
as battle extra platoon leader
Hidemitsu Nakadate
as battle extra platoon leader
Masaki Sono
as battle extra platoon leader
Yuki Tanifuji
as battle extra platoon leader
Hiroki Hoshino
as Battle Corp
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Critic Reviews for The Last Samurai

All Critics (218) | Top Critics (44)

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.

August 7, 2004
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Disappointingly content to recycle familiar attitudes about the nobility of ancient cultures, Western despoilment of them, liberal historical guilt, the unrestrainable greed of capitalists and the irreducible primacy of Hollywood movie stars.

Full Review… | December 23, 2003
Variety
Top Critic

There are pleasures to be had in the handsome, heroic The Last Samurai. But they're all on the surface.

December 16, 2003
Newsweek
Top Critic

The script lays on hokey narration and bombastic dialogue.

December 12, 2003
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Last Samurai

I will never really understand why this powerful epic is so generally overlooked and underrated, when in fact it should be regarded as an extraordinary masterpiece about honor, love, loyalty and redemption, beautifully photographed, greatly acted and with a gorgeous score.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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."

Michael S
Michael S

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.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

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