The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai

Edward Zwick (2003)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Hollywood's image of the "noble savage" is applied to the 19th-century Japanese samurai in this sweeping action drama from director Edward Zwick. Reminiscent of Zwick's Glory and Legends of the Fall, it charts a poignant personal odyssey prompted by the clash of old and new cultures. Tom Cruise plays a disillusioned US captain hired by the young Japanese emperor to train the country's first modern conscript army. After leading an inadequate campaign against the samurai warriors, the military man is captured by these alleged national enemies who teach him to reassess his beliefs and values. An epic movie in every way, the beautifully shot tale pours with emotion, from its strong storyline and robust performances to its spine-tingling and bloody battle sequences. Though the film suffers from being overly idealistic and occasionally stereotypical, its heart is in the right place, while the attention to detail and extensive use of subtitled language adds extra authenticity. Cruise handles his role well, but it's Ken Watanabe's dignified turn as samurai leader Katsumoto that captivates.


The emperor of Japan recruits an American Civil War veteran to train his troops in a bid to wipe out a rebel faction of samurai warriors. The soldier is taken captive when the imperial army is defeated, and comes to respect his enemies' traditions and code of honour, finally going over to their side. Historical adventure, starring Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Timothy Spall, Billy Connolly and Shichinosuke Nakamura.

Cast & Crew

Captain Nathan Algren Tom Cruise
Simon Graham Timothy Spall
Sergeant Zebulon Gant Billy Connolly
Colonel Benjamin Bagley Tony Goldwyn
Katsumoto Ken Watanabe
Ujio Hiroyuki Sanada
Taka Koyuki
Emperor Meiji Shichinosuke Nakamura
Nakao Shun Sugata
Silent Samurai Seizo Fukumoto
Omura Masato Harada
Nobutada Shin Koyamada
Winchester Rep William Atherton
General Hasegawa Togo Igawa
Director Edward Zwick
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Other Information

Language: English, Japanese +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: Warner BrosGuidance: Violence. Available on: video, DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 9 Jan 2004