7.5/10
75,381
355 user 172 critic

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)

An African American mafia hit man who models himself after the samurai of old finds himself targeted for death by the mob.

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1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Dennis Liu ...
Chinese Restaurant Owner
Frank Minucci ...
Big Angie
...
Handsome Frank
...
...
Gene Ruffini ...
Frank Adonis ...
Valerio's Bodyguard
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...
Young Ghost Dog
Kenny Guay ...
Boy in Window
Vince Viverito ...
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:

All assassins live beyond the law... only one follows the code See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

24 March 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ghost Dog  »

Filming Locations:

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jim Jarmusch stated in an interview that he wrote the role of Ghost Dog specifically for Forest Whitaker, and if Whitaker hadn't taken the role, the film probably would not have been made. See more »

Goofs

Drains have traps, thus making it impossible to shoot someone through them. 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

Not the Executive Producer Bart Walker See more »


Soundtracks

Dangerous Fun
Written and Performed by William Loose
Published by Revision West (BMI), Don Great (BMI), and May Loo Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Marc Ferrari/Don Great Music Library
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User Reviews

I live by a code
19 November 2004 | by See 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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