6. The Last Samurai
There have been very few western Samurai films made and I believe The Last Samurai is one of the best. With the obvious star power Tom Cruise brings to the table and the stoic strength of Ken Watanabe (in his English language debut no less) this film is a natural winner. Brilliantly directed by Edward Zwick with a dynamic score by Hans Zimmer, The Last Samurai paints a picture of the last days of the Samurai class. While many feel this film romanticizes and glosses over the deeper issues of the caste system in feudal Japan and those rebelling against its dissolution, I feel like in an epic film such as this it’s OK to simplify things for the sake of presenting a way of life that can’t be seen anymore. Its a perfect film for those lovers of historical epics and should not be missed.
- Tom Cruise took Japanese lessons and sword play instruction for two years to prepare for this film
- Was a greater box office success in Japan than in the US
- Was based on the real life story of samurai Saigo Takamori