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Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

  • Directed by Jim Jarmusch
  • United States, 1999, 116 mins., English

A highly idiosyncratic take on the samurai film, Jarmusch’s tale of a lone, pigeon-keeping hit man (Forest Whitaker) removes the warrior from feudal Japan and places him in modern-day Jersey City. Ghost Dog, as he is known, is a strict follower of Hagakure (the way of the samurai). He spends his days at the park with his only friends, Haitian ice cream salesman Raymond (Issach De Bankolé) and adolescent Pearline (Camille Winbush), and his nights wandering the streets stealing cars and making hits for the Italian Mafia, but when a hit goes wrong, he is targeted by his former employers. GHOST DOG displays Jarmusch’s style in full flower while tackling issues of loyalty and the warrior code, with very modern repercussions.

Appears in: Samurai Cinema

Genres: Crime, Drama

Other Films by Jim Jarmusch

Dead Man

Few cinematic collaborations have been more perfectly cast than Dead Man, Jarmusch’s legendary, incendiary “psychedelic Western.” The film follows William Blake (Johnny Depp), a downcast Cleveland accountant heading West to a new job. Rebuffed immediately, Blake quickly becomes embroiled in domestic scandal and is forced to flee, taking up with Nobody (Gary Farmer), a Native