The Last Samurai

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The Last Samurai is a 2003 alternate history film about an American army captain Nathan Algren who is hired to train Japanese troops during the Meiji Restoration. In his first battle against the oppositional samurai, Algren is taken prisoner by Lord Katsumoto who gradually converts him to his cause. Although not historically accurate, the film covered several major issues of the Japanese history and was received better in Japan than in the US.

Directed by Edward Zwick. Written by John Logan
In the face of an enemy, in the Heart of One Man, Lies the Soul of a Warrior

Nathan Algren

  • There is some comfort in the emptiness of the sea, no past, no future.
  • My thanks, on behalf of those who died in the name of better mechanical amusements and commercial opportunities.
  • [to the Silent Samurai] I know why you don't talk. You're angry. You're angry because they make you wear a dress.
  • [speaking with the Silent Samurai, after being beaten to the ground by Uijo] I just realized, I've been remiss. Forgive me, I forgot to thank you for looking out for me yesterday. That is your job, correct? Protecting me. Well done 'Bob.' You don't mind if I call you Bob, do you? I knew a Bob once; God, he was ugly as a mule. Are you a ladies man, Bob?
  • [kneeling in front of Emperor] If you believe me to be your enemy, command me, and I will gladly take my life.


  • Many of our customs seem strange to you. And the same is true of yours. For example, not to introduce yourself is considered extremely rude, even among enemies.
  • I have introduced myself. You have introduced yourself. This is a very good conversation.
  • The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.
  • [giving Algren his staff before leaving the samurai village] When I took these from you, you were my enemy...
  • [last words, about cherry blossoms] Perfect. They... are all... perfect...


  • We must resist the Western powers by becoming powerful ourselves. Our army and our economy must be strong.
  • If Katsumoto attracts other samurai to his cause, we will have 10 years of rebellion. This is something I will not allow. Either I will stop him at the council today or you will lead my army against him. And with these new weapons, you will crush him.
  • Bring out the new gun!.. Quickly!.. Quickly!.. Fire!.. Idiots, keep on firing! Kill Katsumoto and kill the American!


  • Emperor Meiji: I dreamed of a unified Japan. Of a country strong and independent and modern... Now we have railroads and cannon and Western clothing. But we cannot forget who we are. Or where we come from.
  • Simon Graham [opening narration]: They say Japan was made by a sword. They say the old gods dipped a coral blade into the ocean, and when they pulled it out four perfect drops fell back into the sea, and those drops became the islands of Japan. I say, Japan was made by a handful of brave men. Warriors, willing to give their lives for what seems to have become a forgotten word: honor.
  • Simon Graham [closing narration]: And so the days of the Samurai had ended. Nations, like men, it is sometimes said, have their own destiny. As for the American Captain, no one knows what became of him. Some say that he died of his wounds. Others, that he returned to his own country. But I like to think he may have at last found some small measure of peace, that we all seek, and few of us ever find.


Omura: Katsumoto is an extraordinary man, is he not?
Algren: He is a tribal leader. I've known many of them.
Omura: But none who is samurai. Their ways have great appeal.

Colonel Bagley: Katsumoto has attacked the railroad next to his province.
Omura: We cannot govern the country in which we cannot travel freely. He must be stopped now. My railroad is priority for this country.

Katsumoto: With this sword I guarded the Emperor...
Omura: We are a nation of laws!
Katsumoto: We are a nation of whores selling ourselves.
Omura: If we are whores, the samurai made us this way!

Omura: Commence firing!.. You see, even the mighty samurai cannot stand up to the howitzers! Signal the attack.
Colonel Bagley: I advise sending in skirmishes first.
Omura: Nonsense! Full attack!

Colonel Bagley: The attack has been stopped.
Omura: Send in rest of the regiment.

Omura: What is this? Cannon, prepare to fire. This is madness. He is going to attack?
Colonel Bagley: Yes.
Omura: He is defeated, he must accept his shame. Kill him, all of them, now!

Nathan Algren: You want me to kill Jappos? I'll kill Jappos.
Colonel Bagley: I'm not asking you to kill anybody.
Nathan Algren: You want me to kill the enemies of Jappos, I'll kill the enemies of Jappos... Rebs, Sioux, Cheyenne... For 500 bucks a month, I'll kill whoever you want. But keep one thing in mind: I'd happily kill you for free.

Nathan Algren: Sergeant Gant, did you hear my order?
Zebulon Gant: I did indeed, sir.
Nathan Algren: Good, then you will obey it. Now!
Zebulon Gant: No disrespect intended, sir, but shove it up your ass.

The Silent Samurai: Algren-san! [rushes in front of Algren to protect him from being shot and takes the bullet]
Nathan Algren: Bob!

Emperor Meiji [about Katsumoto]: Tell me how he died.
Nathan Algren: I will tell you how he lived.

Emperor Meiji: Ambassador Swanbeck, I have concluded that your treaty is NOT in the best interests of my people.
Ambassador Swanbeck: Sir, if I may...
Emperor Meiji: So sorry, but you may not.

Zebulon Gant [to Japanese recruits]: Alright, you little bastards! You will stand up straight or I will personally shit kick every Far Eastern buttock that appear before my eyes!
Nathan Algren: Well done, Sergeant!
Zebulon Gant: When you understand the language, sir, everything falls into place.

Nobutada: Please forgive, too many mind.
Nathan Algren: Too many mind?
Nobutada: Hai. Mind the sword, mind the people watch, mind the enemy, too many mind... [pause] No mind.

Katsumoto and Algren

Nathan Algren: What do you want?
Katsumoto: To know my enemy.
Nathan Algren: I've seen what you do to your enemies.
Katsumoto: Warriors in your country do not kill?
Nathan Algren: They don't cut the heads off defeated, kneeling men.
Katsumoto: General Hasegawa asked me to help him end his life. A samurai cannot stand the shame of defeat. I was honored to cut off his head.

Katsumoto: And who was your general?
Nathan Algren: Don't you have a rebellion to lead?
Katsumoto: People in your country do not like conversation?
Nathan Algren: He was a lieutenant colonel. His name was Custer.
Katsumoto: I know this name. He killed many warriors.
Nathan Algren: Oh, yes. Many warriors.
Katsumoto: So he was a good general.
Nathan Algren: No. He wasn't a good general. He was arrogant and foolhardy. And he got massacred because he took a single battalion against two thousand angry Indians.
Katsumoto: Two thousand Indians? How many men for Custer?
Nathan Algren: Two hundred and eleven.
Katsumoto: I like this General Custer.
Nathan Algren: He was a murderer who fell in love with his own legend. And his troopers died for it.
Katsumoto: I think this is a very good death.
Nathan Algren: Well, maybe you can have one just like it someday.

Katsumoto: You have nightmares?
Nathan Algren: Every soldier has nightmares.
Katsumoto: Only one who is ashamed of what he has done.
Nathan Algren: You have no idea what I've done.
Katsumoto: You have seen many things.
Nathan Algren: I have.
Katsumoto: Yet you do not fear death, but sometimes you wish for it. Is this not so?
Nathan Algren: Yes!
Katsumoto: I also. It happens to men who have seen what we have seen. But then I come to this place of my ancestors, and I remember. Like these blossoms, we are all dying. To know life in every breath, every cup of tea, every life we take. The way of the warrior....

Nathan Algren: Who sent those men to kill you? Was it the Emperor? Omura?
Katsumoto: If the Emperor wishes my death, he has but to ask.
Nathan Algren: So it was Omura.

Katsumoto: You believe a man can change his destiny?
Nathan Algren: I think a man does what he can, until his destiny is revealed.

Katsumoto: What happened to the warriors at Thermopylae?
Nathan Algren [smiling]: Dead to the last man.

Katsumoto: The Emperor could not hear my words. His army will come. For nine hundred years, my ancestors have protected our people. Now... I have failed them.
Nathan Algren: So you will take your own life? In shame? Shame for a life of service? Discipline? Compassion?
Katsumoto: The way of the Samurai is not necessary anymore.
Nathan Algren: Necessary? What could be more necessary?
Katsumoto: I will die by the sword. My own, or my enemy's.
Nathan Algren: Then let it be your enemy's.


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