7.5/10
75,414
352 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
...
...
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

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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

As the main character, Forest Whitaker doesn't have an onscreen (non-voiceover) line of dialogue until nearly 37 minutes into the film. See more »

Goofs

When Ghost Dog steals the second car, we see the instruments on the dashboard. As he flicks the ignition switch with his code-breaking gizmo the engine starts; still the needle on the tachometer does not move. 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 »

Connections

References Branded to Kill (1967) 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
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting and deep, but not as deep as it tries to be
23 June 2004 | by See all my reviews

This is a great film; it has pretty much everything a great film needs: a great score, great actors, great performances, etc. The film revolves around Ghost Dog, perfectly portrayed by Forest Whitaker. He is a assassin who lives by the code of the Samurai. Apart from him, we also follow the fate of several mafia men(though nowhere near as intimately as we follow Ghost Dog). These two very different groups, Samurai and mafia, are both depicted reasonably well, giving us insight to how the groups work, and, more importantly, their code. Both groups live and die by the code, and this is probably the most important thing in the movie, and it's shown with respect with both Samurai and mafia; I'm not entirely sure that it's correct all the way through, but that's not what's most important, anyway. The film has reasonably little action, but it's not supposed to be an action film, by any means. It's fairly slow throughout the film, but it never really bores you to the point of not watching any more; I've seen the film at least five times now, so believe me, I know. The film is very stylized and cool throughout, which definitely has some part in keeping you interested, but the theme and story/plot plays a bigger part, I think. The plot is pretty good, and though it keeps a fairly slow pace throughout the film, it also keeps your interest for the entire duration of the film. The acting is all good, though not everyone pulls off as excellent a performance as Whitaker. Isaach De Bankolé portrays Ghost Dog's best friend, and he does gives a great performance. So does Camille Winbush, who portrays a girl who Ghost Dog befriends and discusses books with. The characters are well-written and(mostly) credible. I'm not entirely sure that the film does provide a totally correct version of the Code of the Samurai. The soundtrack is great; it's made by the hip-hop artist RZA, but most of it will be enjoyable to people who aren't into hip-hop. Also, I guess it's more of a score than a soundtrack; there isn't any time where the music feels out of place in a scene. All in all, a great film, but not for all tastes. Don't go in expecting an action film; don't go in expecting a very deep an entirely intellectual film; don't go in expecting a regular movie; go in expecting to see a decent(if not good) representation of both the mafia code and the Samurai code. I've heard some people describe the ending as an anti-climax; I don't know what they were expecting... I won't say that I saw it coming, but I wasn't disappointed when it happened. It had to end it, and I think the director, Jim Jarmusch made a good decision on that. I recommend this film to people with an interest in Samurai, fans of Jarmusch and people looking for a reasonably deep film. I don't recommend this to fans of action movies, as there's fairly little action in the film. No matter who you are, if you're going to see this film, make sure you have the patience for it; it's worth sitting through the two reasonably slow hours for. 8/10


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