The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai (2003)

30 corrected entries

Corrected entry: When all the "ninjas" are attacking the village after the big entertainment show, you see Algren sticking his sword through a ninja, so the end of it comes out on the other side of the ninja's bag. Then you see Algren drawing the sword back again, but the part on the other side doesn't move an inch.

don_corleone

Correction: Algren never pulls the sword out. The Ninja drops down dead with the sword still in his back.

Corrected entry: The sword that Algren gives to the Emperor is fake. Notice the handle during the Emperor's little speech- it's plastic. During the battle you can see that its a real black fabric around the sword's handle.

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BillyBlake

Correction: Looking at the sword hilt as shown in that scene, it appears to be tightly wrapped fabric, just as seen earlier. Appearances can change considerably based on light conditions in a scene - this looks to me like the same sword, simply under more subdued lighting. Certainly the sword is exactly as before when Algren is holding it a few seconds earlier and very little appears to change.

Tailkinker

Corrected entry: In the final battle scene when Katsumoto and Algren have just spoken to the enemy commanders and are returning to the Japanese army, there is a shot of Algren getting off his horse. To his left you can see a soldier stumble backwards clutching his leg. If you look closely (slow motion helps), you can see Algren's horse kick him. The horse's leg is only visible for a frame or so.

Correction: This isn't a movie mistake. Horses do this in real life, therefore it can hardly be considered an error if one does it in a film.

Tailkinker

Corrected entry: When Katsumoto tells Aldrin that they have clear passage to Tokyo, he pronounces Tokyo with three syllables (Toe-kee-o) as would an American, whilst the proper pronunciation has two syllables (Toe-kyo). Despite the fact that they are speaking English, this mistake wouldn't have been made by a native Japanese speaker.

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zephalis

Correction: This is disproven by itself; Ken Watanabe, the actor playing Katsumoto, IS a native of Japan, and as we can clearly hear he pronounces "Tokyo" with three syllables.

Twotall

Corrected entry: When Algren is talking to Katsumoto about General Custer's defeat at the Little Big Horn, he states that Custer leads a single battalion against 2000 Indians. Katsumoto asks, "How many men for Custer?" Algren replies, "211." A battalion is actually made up of 5 companies of approximately 200 men each. Therefore, if Custer would have taken a battalion to Little Big Horn, his accompaniment would have been closer to 1000.

Correction: Incorrect. At the time of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the entire 7th Cavalry regiment, Custer's unit, consisted of just 45 officers and 718 troopers, 166 of whom were not present on the battlefield, having been detached for other duties. Prior to the assault, Custer divided his troops into three battalions of varying size, taking the largest group, consisting of just over 200 men with him, a group that would subsequently be completely wiped out in the famous Last Stand. It may not match what you think should be the right numbers, but Algren's statement is historically accurate.

Tailkinker

Corrected entry: Some of the Japanese phrases were either mistakenly or deliberately (probably for effect) mistranslated in the subtitles. For instance, when Katsumoto has his audience with the Emperor, the latter requests his teacher's advice. When the subtitle says: "... my teacher", he is saying "oshiete", which actually means "tell me" or "teach me". Likewise, when Taka offers Algren her late husband's armor, she says "ureshii". In the subtitle, it is translated: "I would be honored", whereas it really means (in this context): "I would be happy". (Of course, it would take some basic knowledge in Japanese to spot these mistakes)

Correction: Absolute literal translations from Japanese to English frequently yield unexpected (sometimes humorous) results. The point of the subtitles is to correctly relay the substance of the conversation, not a word-for-word translation.

Jason Hoffman

Corrected entry: In the scene when the Imperial Japanese Army is fighting the Samurai for the first time in the forest, Algren is knocked from his horse. He is then fighting several Samurai foot soldiers. During the fight he is stabbed in the right shoulder with a spear. Later in the village Taka is sewing up a wound in his left shoulder.

Correction: He was stabbed several times and in several different locations.

Jason Hoffman

Corrected entry: In the final battle where the samurai first assemble behind barricades, before making their strategic retreat behind the hill, the Japanese army kills a number of them with cannon fire. Yet, when the Japanese army pursues them, the bodies have disappeared.

Correction: I count at least 2 dead bodies, and there is a lot of smoke and many wooden barricades where more samurai could lie and we don't see.

Ronnie Bischof

Corrected entry: During the final battle, there is a close-up of a samurai's foot stepping on the back of a dead soldier. You can tell that there is thick padding inside the soldiers jacket in the upper shoulder area.

Correction: The soldiers are going up against guys with big swords, if it were me I'd stuff my jacket with anything I could get my hands on in an attempt to lessen/deflect a sword blow. Clearly this is futile as the swords can cut through muskets, but you can't blame a guy for trying . . .

Corrected entry: When Algren wears Taka's dead husband's armour, it is in pristine condition. At the beginning of the film Algren killed Taka's husband by stabbing him - surely the armour should have a hole in it?

Correction: Algren stabs Taka's husband in his unprotected throat - his armour is never touched.

Tailkinker

Corrected entry: At the very end of the samurai's last charge, the Imperial army bring out the gatling guns. After a few seconds of firing, you can see in a close-up shot of the ammo feeder that the magazine is half-empty. The gun fires for a minute or so more, far long after the magazine should've been depleted, with no time spent reloading.

Correction: There are 3 gatling guns, you can see all of them when they are ordered to stop firing. It is reasonable to say thet they were firing alternatively to provide regular flow of bullets, instead of having them fire all together for 15 seconds, then stop for 20 seconds to reload (giving to the samurais time to come close enough) and then fire again.

Corrected entry: As Algren is fighting with the training sword in the rain, one of the times that he is beaten down by his adversary, his opponent hits Algren's sword so hard that the sword falls out of Algren's hand. Then immediately in the next shot, Algren is getting up with the sword in his hand as if he never let it go.

Correction: The sword falls straight to the ground, a few centimeters under Algren's hand. It would take no time to grab it again.

Corrected entry: It was the British and Germans/French who trained a modern military for Japan, not the U.S.

Correction: At the end of the movie the Emperor refused to sign the treaty with the Americans, and Omura referred to treaties proposed by the British and French when the American ambassador was pushing for the treaty's approval. We can assume that one of the competing offers was accepted in lieu of the American treaty.

Corrected entry: Algren says that he was in the Battle of Little Bighorn when he is on the stage. It cannot be true, because the only survivor from this battle was a horse. All of General George Custer's men died in this battle.

Correction: Algren could legitimately claim to have been present at the Battle of Little Big Horn. A second group of men under Major Reno fought a desperate action at the Little Big Horn separate to that of Custer's and many of these men survived the Battle.

Corrected entry: If Japan is being modernized and the samurai have been gone for over 200 years, shouldn't the ninja be long gone as well?

Grumpy Scot

Correction: Ninja are not gone, even to this day. Though samurai may no longer carry a daisho(long and short sword)or have authority, people are still trained to be like them in their combat/physical and spiritual/mental abilites.

Corrected entry: The last samurai battle in Japan took place in 1600 at Sekigahara and the last significant military action of any sort was during the Shimabara rebellion of 1637. So by the time the events of this film take place, the samurai have not fought or even seen a battle for over two hundred and fifty years. Yet, in the film, they are as skilled at large scale battle tactics as any 16th century army. These tactics take decades of experience and practice to get even approximately right and no amount of "sword swinging" in the fields can substitute for real combat in a good old bang-up war. Twelve generations of samurai had come and gone and the only military action they had seen was as police officers and bodyguards. No wonder they lost.

Joe Moldovan

Correction: While the last great battles may have been a long time ago, the discipline of the samurai still made them enemies to be reckoned with. Also, as the 1900 Chinese Boxer Rebellion proved again later: even the greatest courage and hand-to-hand fighting skill is hardly a match against massive modern firepower.

Corrected entry: At the last charge of the Samurai, they fall in droves to the Japanese army. The armour the samurai wore was designed to withstand blows from high pressure per impact katana swords, it would have resisted the rifle shots from the Japanese infantry more effectively than shown, maybe not from the Gatling guns but definitely from the rifles.

Correction: Not so. It was mainly designed to resist slashing attacks. In fact, most of the time Japanese armor wasnt even 'armor' at all, just woven silk, padding, and light metal, sometimes even wood. The purpose of the armor was to offer minimal protection, while full mobility for the samurai to move. Samurai put most of their faith in avoiding any blow, rather than letting his armor withstand it, which is why they needed such mobility. Even if a katana were to strike them, there would still be a pretty good chance the armor wouldn't be able to absorb it. Similarly, a gunshot would easily penetrate most samurai armor. Some of the more wealthy samurai were able to wear Euoropian type breast plates that offered more protection, but still they may or may not resist a rifle shot. In fact, you'll notice that once firearms became the major weapon in battle worldwide, armor was completely done away with, as even the heaviest full plate of armor wouldn't be able to withstand most rifle shots.

RJR99SS

Corrected entry: In Japanese culture, non-close friends and relatives are never referred to without showing them respect by adding "-san", "-sama", "-chan", "-kun" or "-sensei" to their names when mentioning them. Leaving these out (in most cases) would be extremely rude. However, when speaking in Japanese, Katsumoto and the others speak normally, but when speaking in English with Algren he does not use those at all. This continues even when Katsumoto has started to regard Algren as his equal. Please note that this is most likely a deliberate choice in order not to confuse the viewers who are unaware of this fact.

Correction: No, it only shows that Katsumoto is well-versed enough in Occidental culture that he knows that when speaking in English, one does never to add an honorific after names (unless you count calling someone "Mr. Whatever" a honorific). Only those Japanese who are not proficient in another language tend to still add the honorific.

Sereenie

Corrected entry: Near the beginning, the first time Algren goes to train the troops, and at the end, the general says they will leave to ambush the samurais troops at 6 A.M. However, seeing as he is in the military, he should've said 0600.

Azureth

Correction: The 24 hour clock was not in use yet in the late 1800s.

Sereenie

Corrected entry: Throughout the film you can see in the backgrounds some ferns in the forest, but there are no ferns in forests in Japan, as it was filmed mostly in New Zealand.

Correction: As far as I could see, they are cycads, not ferns. And cycads do grow in parts of Japan.

Corrected entry: At the beginning of the film, during the sideshow shot, you hear the show playing the song "Bonnie Blue Flag," which was a southern war hymn. The lyrics go something like, "Hurrah! Hurrah! For Southern rights, hurrah!" Not something that a Union officer would be a part of.

Correction: Considering Algren was a disillusioned drunk, who's to say what he would have been a part of for $25 a week.

Corrected entry: Algren and later Taka are shown bathing in a smoothly-finished cement bath, something you would not see in a remote village in 1877 Japan.

Lynne Trestrail

Correction: I can't see any evidence of cement, it may be smooth lined, but it's carved into the rock.

David Mercier

Corrected entry: During the last charge of the Samurai, they are riding face-first into single-shot barrel-loading howitzers. I believe there were only 6 to 8 of them. However, as they charge, there are literally dozens of explosions from the howitzers, far more then what a battery of them would be capable of firing even with a quick loading crew. Furthermore, the absolute first time the Howitzers fire, they adjust aim, a relatively slow process. In the final charge, the impact of the Howitzers is keeping pace with their advance.

Correction: Yes it is true there are not that many howitzers but if you watch the DVD closely you will see that there is a rank of cannons behind them firing on the advancing Samurai troops.

Corrected entry: The samurai's reign was already long over before 1876; it ended in 1867.

Correction: That's the whole point of the movie. Those shown in the movie are the people who will not give up their way of life, even though the law forced them to. That's why the emperor's army is trying to annihilate them.

Sereenie

Corrected entry: After the ninja attack, they all go into the house. When Algren is fighting the ninja, he blocks his katana using a wooden table as a shield. Katanas are far more powerful than that. You can see what I mean in the final battle when, in the field, Algren cuts through a kneeling soldier's rifle (along with his skull), who was trying to block.

Correction: Actually this all depends on the power, accuracy, skill and also the angle of which the katana is when cutting through things. Also there is a difference between ninja sword and samurai sword, ninja swords are not as sharp as samurai swords, as samurai swords are more carefully made and has the perfect curve which makes it so sharp. A ninja sword is straight, as you can see on the movie.

Corrected entry: In the scene where captured Tom Cruise it taken away on horseback he watches as the defeated samurai general commits seppuku and Katsumoto chops his head off, which rolls away from the body after the execution. Actually it has to remain attached on some skin and flesh otherwise it is a big disgrace. Katsumoto ,as an experienced samurai, would not cut it like that.

Correction: As much as the remark is true, it would hold its ground if the action in the movie were portrayed several centuries earlier. During the Tokugawa shogunate a lot of traditions, rules of conduct, etc had perished, had been abolished or plain forgotten. The seppuku ceremony had also fallen prey to the changing times and by the end of the shogunate rarely anyone performing kaishaku remembered to wait for the second belly-cut or slash so as not to slice the head off. Moreover, some kaishaku slashed down the moment a person performing seppuku reached for the knife. That Katsumoto cut the head off is therefore no mistake.

Corrected entry: Is it only me or did any one else notice that throughout the whole of the film Tom Cruise's hair doesn't seem to grow an inch. He is held hostage by the samurai for months and his hair doesn't grow one bit or so it seems.

Correction: It's true that his hair doesn't appear to grow, but surely he could have had it cut during his stay with the Samurai (or at any other time for that matter).

Corrected entry: In the scenes where the samurai are sparring in the village, see some of them wear Kendo armor in the 1870's I think it was. Yet Kendo and Kendo Armor where not produced until the early 1900's.

Correction: Actually Kendo armor is made to look like a samurai armor, so in that case they might be using a samurai armor of a kind that looks like a kendo armor we use now.

Corrected entry: Katsumoto has been ordered to go to the Emperor. In the scene where he, Algren and the Samurai are entering the city, there is a shot of them taken from the rear. Was it my imagination or were there a plethora of utility/telephone poles to be seen, on their left, in this shot?

Correction: Yes they were there, and it's historically accurate. They could have been used for Morse Code transmition and as they were leading to the Palace from the dock this is quite likely. The film is set in 1876-77 and Morse Code was invented around 1836 so it's entirely possible that's what they're there for.

David Mercier

Corrected entry: The scene where Katsumoto is being rescued at the bridge shows a Japanese soldier firing a bolt action rifle, something not available until some years later.

Correction: Not true. Mauser invented the bolt action rifle in 1867, and it was officially adopted as the main infantry rifle by Germany in 1871 (the Model 71 or 'M71'). The movie "The Last Samurai" is certainly taking place after 1876, as there's an important discussion in the movie about the Battle of Greasy Grass (AKA 'Custer's Last Stand'), which took place in 1876. Further, as historically the German army supplied and trained the Imperial Japanese Army, possession of bolt-action rifles by the (presumably) elite units of Imperial army guarding the capital would be quite plausible. Japan was on a modernization kick at that time, and a rapid upgrade from muzzle-loading weapons to breech-loaders is entirely plausible.

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