Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai (2000) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai2000

Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai (2000)



Critic Consensus: An innovative blend of samurai and gangster lifestyles.

Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai Videos

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Movie Info

A surreal crime drama told as only Jim Jarmusch could, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai stars Forest Whitaker as Ghost Dog, a hit man living in an unidentified but run-down city in what license plates call "The Industrialized State." Known for his gift of being able to come and go without people noticing him, Ghost Dog is a self-taught samurai who is obsessed with order and his strict personal moral code, drawn from the philosophies of the Japanese warriors. As every samurai needs a leader to whom he swears loyalty, Ghost Dog has devoted himself the service of Louie (John Tormey), a low-level crime boss who once saved his life. When Louie's superiors decide he must be executed, Ghost Dog leaps into action, methodically wiping out his many enemies. Along with a dizzying series of stylized shoot-outs, Ghost Dog also features carrier pigeons, characters who read Rashomon, a French-speaking ice cream man, and a score by RZA from the top-selling hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, who have their own well-documented obsession with Asian culture. Ghost Dog was screened in competition at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.

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Forest Whitaker
as Ghost Dog
Gene Ruffini
as Old Consigliere
Frank Minucci
as Big Angie
Richard Portnow
as Handsome Frank
Frank Adonis
as Valerio's Bodyguard
Damon Whitaker
as Young Ghost Dog
Vince Viverito Sr.
as Johnny Morini
Yan Ming Shi
as Chinese Kung-Fu Master
Clebert Ford
as Pigeonkeeper
Angel L. Cabán
as Social Club Landlord
Tracy Howe
as Hunter No. 2
Vinnie Vella
as Sammy the Snake
Joe Rigano
as Joe Rags
Jonathan Cook
as Hunter No. 1
Vanessa Hollingshead
as Female Deputy Sheriff
Sharon Angela
as Blonde Woman
as Samurai in Camouflage
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Critic Reviews for Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai

All Critics (100) | Top Critics (34)

Even when aware of all the strange, disparate elements, it still surprises.

August 25, 2018 | Full Review…

At once a tribute to traditional notions of honour, loyalty, friendship and professionalism, and a stylish, ironic pastiche inspired by the likes of Melville and Suzuki, it's very funny, insightful, and highly original.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

This is a picture by turns amusing and melancholic, sweet-centred and dark-edged.

December 2, 2002 | Full Review…

A handsomely shot, cool-sounding head-scratcher of a film that probably isn't worth the wear on the fingernails.

April 5, 2002 | Rating: 2/4

Less a pastiche than a mastermix from a cinematic DJ at the height of his formalist powers, Ghost Dog is pretty ill -- but it's not evil.

September 10, 2001 | Full Review…

it's original, sharply funny, and rather moving

April 17, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai


Daniel J DeMersseman
Daniel J DeMersseman

Super Reviewer



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


A well-constructed and superb genre piece that has a terrific and poignant mixture of urban attitude, street savvy, stylistic shootings and compelling samurai wisdom along with gangster, western and martial arts genre films. A skillful and darkly engagging character study. A beautifully made and brilliant film. A sharply entertaining and stylish crime-thriller. It`s smart, funny, cool, thrilling and action-packed. An instant classic. A great and genuine surprise to watch. Forest Whitaker gives an extroadinary and compelling performance, one of his best performances ever, it stands wit his work in Bird and The Last King of Scottland. Director, Jim Jarmusch crafts his masterwork. A skillful and enthralling work of art thats handsomely shot, hypnotic and has a seductive rytham all of its own. One of the best hitman films to come along since The Professional.

Al S
Al S

Super Reviewer

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