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Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)

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

Director:

Jim Jarmusch

Writer:

Jim Jarmusch
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Forest Whitaker ... Ghost Dog
John Tormey ... Louie
Cliff Gorman ... Sonny Valerio
Dennis Liu Dennis Liu ... Chinese Restaurant Owner
Frank Minucci Frank Minucci ... Big Angie
Richard Portnow ... Handsome Frank
Tricia Vessey ... Louise Vargo
Henry Silva ... Ray Vargo
Gene Ruffini Gene Ruffini ... Old Consigliere
Frank Adonis ... Valerio's Bodyguard
Victor Argo ... Vinny
Damon Whitaker ... Young Ghost Dog
Kenny Guay Kenny Guay ... Boy in Window
Vince Viverito Vince Viverito ... Johnny Morini
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:

Live by the code. Die by the code. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official webpage in Poland

Country:

France | Germany | USA | Japan

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

24 March 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ghost Dog See more »

Filming Locations:

Jersey City, New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$166,344, 5 March 2000

Gross USA:

$3,308,029

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,380,473
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many consider this to have been a "definitive role" for Whitaker. In a manner similar to his preparation for Bird, he again immersed himself in his character's world; he studied Eastern philosophy and meditated for long hours "to hone his inner spiritual hitman." Jarmusch has told interviewers that he developed the title character with Whitaker in mind; the New York Times review of the film observed that "It's hard to think of another actor who could play a cold-blooded killer with such warmth and humanity. 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 ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The second to last person thanked at the credits' close is Akira Kurosawa--the Japanese filmmaker who filmed one of the Ghost Dog's central texts, Rashomon. See more »


Soundtracks

From Then Till Now
Written by Walter Reed, Ernest Aye, D. Black, J. Barry, W. Warwick
Performed by Killah Priest
Published by Rudy Zariya/Solomon Publishing ASCAP/IllBase Music BMI/
EMI Unart Catalog, Inc. (BMI)/Regent Music Corp. (BMI)
Courtesy of Universal/MCA Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Tour de Force for Whitaker
27 August 2004 | by redheadgrrlSee all my reviews

Men clinging to noble, outdated ideals in a world that no longer cares about such things: that's the concept here. Whitaker shows amazing strength and control in an antihero role that is necessarily secretive and subdued. Silva and Tormey turn in solid performances -- Tormey is especially poignant as the second-fiddle mafioso, torn between his admiration of Ghost Dog and his devotion to his own sempai (Silva).

The excellent soundtrack, courtesy of RZA, adds its own somber-yet-hip mood to the work. Jarmusch frames his characters on rooftops, on 'hood byways, in mansions, in the back rooms of Chinese restaurants, and everywhere there is a feeling of the walls closing in, of things coming to an end, of finality. See it. It's a good movie.


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