Box art for The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai

Set in Japan during the 1870s, THE LAST SAMURAI tells the story of Capt. Nathan Algren (TOM CRUISE), a respected American military officer hired by the Emperor of Japan to train the country's first army in the art of modern warfare.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 15
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Outstanding action and performance; lots of blood.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has extreme and graphic violence with many grisy wounds and a lot of blood. Many characters are killed, including some we have come to care about. Parents should especially be aware of the way that this movie portrays the traditional samurai notion of suicide as an honorable choice in the event of a defeat. The movie also includes some strong language, alcohol abuse, smoking, and sexual references. One of the movie's strengths is its respect for the Japanese culture and its portrayal of strong and respectful relationships between people of different races and cultures.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about what it means to say that "A man does what he can until his destiny is revealed."

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 21
    see all The Last Samurai reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Too much surface and not enough depth.

- Connie Ogle, Miami Herald, Friday, December 5, 2003

Rotten: There are pleasures to be had in the handsome, heroic The Last Samurai. But they're all on the surface.

- David Ansen, Newsweek, Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Rotten: Despite its intelligent agenda, swollen heart and fabulously epic surface, amounts to a didactic banality: a white guy's politically correct lesson abroad.

- Desson Thomson, Washington Post, Friday, December 5, 2003

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Everything you want from a historical epic. It's a long history lesson that remains gripping, with characters defending their honour in big battle scenes. Tom Cruise plays his favourite Maverick role and there's even a bit of Billy Connolly. Very enjoyable.

- RossCollinsUK, Saturday, November 14, 2009

3 stars

Tom Cruise gives one of is best-ever performances in this slow-going, yet beautiful and well-directed action-drama. I've always had an undying fascination for ancient Japan and the samurai culture, so this was definitely my kind of movie. The storyline also reminded me a lot of the mini-series Shogun, which seems to have served as one of its main sources of inspiration. In fact, this is more or less like a full-length film version of said series. Not as great as some make it out to be, but surely a good time at the movies.

- CloudStrife84, Wednesday, April 29, 2009

4 stars

A big production with some amazing views, a great quality film with a western view on the Samurai style films. It also captures the spiritual sense. It is perhaps a little disappointing that people will watch, and have watched this film purely because of Tom Cruise being the lead, when although this is one of Cruise's better roles it certainly isn't the Cruise element that makes the film, but I'm sure he would have raised the box office ratings.

- 76Majikat, Thursday, April 23, 2009