The Last Samurai Quotes

  • Emperor Meiji: [Referring to Katsumoto] Tell me how he died.

    Algren: [Referring to Katsumoto] I will tell you how he lived.

  • Algren: There is Life in every breath...

    Katsumoto: That is, Bushido.

  • Algren: I will miss our conversations.

  • Katsumoto: I have introduced myself. You have introduced yourself. This is a very good conversation.

  • Katsumoto: And who was your general?

    Algren: Don't you have a rebellion to lead?

    Katsumoto: People in your country do not like conversation?

    Algren: He was a lieutenant colonel. His name was Custer.

    Katsumoto: I know this name. He killed many warriors

    Algren: Oh, yes. Many warriors.

    Katsumoto: So he was a good general.

    Algren: No. 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?

    Algren: Two hundred and eleven.

    Katsumoto: I like this General Custer.

    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.

    Algren: Well, maybe you can have one just like it someday.

  • Algren: I killed her husband?

    Katsumoto: It was a good death.

  • Katsumoto: You believe a man can change his destiny?

    Algren: I think a man does what he can, until his destiny is revealed.

  • Katsumoto: Well, they won't surrender.

  • [Nobutada is shamed by Imperial Guards who cut off his top knot and take his swords, leaving him in a heap in the street]

    Algren: C'mon, I'll take you home.

    Nobutada: Jolly good.

  • Algren: My thanks, on behalf of those who died in the name of better mechanical amusements and commercial opportunities.

  • Algren: You want me to kill Jappos, I'll kill Jappos.

    Colonel Bagley: I'm not asking you to kill anybody.

    Algren: You want me to kill THE ENEMIES of Jappos, I'll kill THE ENEMIES of Jappos... Rebs, or Sioux, or 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.

  • Algren: [Narrating] I have been hired to suppress the rebellion of yet another tribal leader. Apparently, this is the only job for which I am suited. I am beset by the ironies of my life.

  • Colonel Bagley: Just tell me one thing, what is it about your own people you hate so much?

  • Algren: [shouting] What do you want from me?

    Katsumoto: What do you want for yourself?

  • Algren: I have questions.

    Katsumoto: Questions come later.

  • Katsumoto: When I took this, you were my enemy.

  • Colonel Bagley: Son of a bitch thinks he can win.

  • 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.

  • Silent Samurai: Algren-San.

    [he rushes in front of Algren to protect him from being shot, and is consequently shot himself]

    Algren: Bob.

  • Algren: Mr. Graham. Tell this man to fire at me.

    Simon Graham: I beg your pardon?

    Algren: Tell this man that if he does not shoot me, I will kill him.

  • Algren: [shouting] What the hell am I doing here?

    ['Bob' rushes up, about to draw his sword and kill Algren, but Katsumoto gestures for him to stop]

    Katsumoto: In spring the snows will melt and the passes will open. Until that time, you are here.

  • Katsumoto: This is my son's village. We are deep in the mountains, and the winter is coming. You cannot escape.

    Nobutada: Jolly Good.

  • Nobutada: Father, let me stay. It is my time.

  • Algren: Sergeant Gant, report to the rear and see to the disposition of the supply trains.

    [Gant does not move, but continues loading his rifle]

    Algren: Sergeant Gant, did you hear my order?

    Zebulon Gant: I did indeed, sir.

    Algren: Good, then you will obey it. Now!

    Zebulon Gant: No disrespect intended, sir, but shove it up your ass.

  • Omura's Companion: He's rude.

    Omura: That's how it is here. A land of cheap traders.

  • Algren: How's your poem coming?

    Katsumoto: The end is proving difficult.

  • Katsumoto: The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.

  • 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.

    Algren: So it was Omura.

  • Algren: There was once a battle at a place called Thermopylae, where three hundred brave Greeks held off a Persian army of a million men... a million, you understand this number?

    Katsumoto: I understand this number.

  • [about General Hasegawa]

    Algren: He fought with the Samurai?

    Simon Graham: He IS Samurai.

  • [With his dying breath]

    Katsumoto: Perfect... They are all... perfect...

  • Simon Graham: You insolent, useless son of a peasant dog! How dare you show your sword in his presence! Do you know who this is?

    [pointing to Algren]

    Simon Graham: This is the President of the United States of America! He is here to lead our armies in victorious battle against the rebels!

    Guard: It is not my responsibility...

    Simon Graham: Now get over there and help those men with their equipment!

    Guard: [to his men] Carry the equipment.

    [Algren and Graham go through]

    Algren: The President of the United States?

    Simon Graham: Sorry. I think I'm going to be sick.

  • Zebulon Gant: [shouting loudly] Right, you little bastards! You will stand up straight or I will personally shit kick every far eastern buttock that appear before me eyes!

    Algren: Well done, sergeant.

    Zebulon Gant: When you understand the language, sir, everything falls into place.

  • Simon Graham: [first lines]

    Simon Graham: [narrating] 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.

  • Algren: [narrating] They are an intriguing people. From the moment they wake they devote themselves to the perfection of whatever they pursue. I have never seem such discipline. I am surprised to learn that the word Samurai means, 'to serve', and that Katsumoto believes his rebellion to be in the service of the Emperor.

  • Algren: [narrating] Winter, 1877. What does it mean to be Samurai? To devote yourself utterly to a set of moral principles. To seek a stillness of your mind. And to master the way of the sword.

  • Algren: [narrating] Spring, 1877. This marks the longest I've stayed in one place since I left the farm at 17. There is so much here I will never understand. I've never been a church going man, and what I've seen on the field of battle has led me to question God's purpose. But there is indeed something spiritual in this place. And though it may forever be obscure to me, I cannot but be aware of its power. I do know that it is here that I've known my first untroubled sleep in many years.

  • [last lines]

    Simon Graham: [narrating] 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.

  • Emperor Meiji: I have dreamed of a unified Japan. Of a country strong and independent and modern. We have railroads and cannon, Western clothing. But we cannot forget who we are. Or where we come from.

  • Algren: [Algren's 'conversations' with the Silent Samurai] I know why you don't talk. Because you're angry. You're angry because they make you wear a dress.

    Algren: [later, after being beaten to the ground by Uijo] I just realized, I've been remiss. Forgive me, I forgot to thank you for protecting me yesterday. That is your job right? 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?

  • [Katsumoto hands a samurai sword to Algren, it has a message written on it]

    Algren: What does it say?

    Katsumoto: "I belong to the warrior in whom the old ways have joined the new."

  • [Algren and Katsumoto ride up to Bagley, who sees that Algren has turned against him]

    Colonel Bagley: Good God... Sir, the Imperial Army of Japan demands your surrender. If you and your fellas lay down your arms, you will not be harmed.

    Katsumoto: This is not possible, as Mr. Omura knows.

    Colonel Bagley: Captain Algren. We will show you no quarter. You ride against us, and you're the same as they are.

    Algren: I'll look for you on the field.

  • Simon Graham: I came over with the British trade mission, oh, years ago. I was soon relieved of my position. I had a rather unfortunate tendency to tell the truth in a country where no one ever says what they mean. So now, I very accurately translate other people's lies.

  • Algren: What do you want?

    Katsumoto: To know my enemy.

    Algren: I've seen what you do to your enemies.

    Katsumoto: The warriors in your country do not kill?

    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: 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.

  • Katsumoto: [Algren has just walked into Katsumoto's house, after being beaten thoroughly by Uijo] Uijo is teaching you the way of the Japanese sword.

    Algren: [Flatly] Yes indeed.

  • Taka: Japanese men do not help with this

    Algren: [grabs firewood basket] I am not Japanese

  • Algren: Your highness... if you believe me to be your enemy, command me, and I will gladly take my life

  • Katsumoto: What happened to the warriors at Thermopylae?

    Algren: Dead to the last man.

  • Higen: Will you fight the white men, too?

    Algren: If they come here, yes.

    Higen: Why?

    Algren: Because they come to destroy what I have come to love.

  • [watching the Imperial Army's target practice]

    Algren: I suppose we should be grateful they're all firing in the same direction.

    Zebulon Gant: Couldn't have put it better myself, sir.

  • Katsumoto: You fought against your Red Indians?

    Algren: Yes.

    Katsumoto: Tell me of your part in this war.

    Algren: Why?

    Katsumoto: I wish to learn.

    Algren: Read a book.

    Katsumoto: I would rather have a good conversation.

  • 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.

    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.

    Algren: Necessary? What could be more necessary?

    Katsumoto: I will die by the sword. My own, or my enemy's.

    Algren: Then let it be your enemy's.

  • Katsumoto: If I am no use, I will happily end my life.

    Emperor Meiji: No, I need your voice in the Council.

    Katsumoto: It is your voice we need, Highness. You are a living god. Do what you think is right.

    Emperor Meiji: [ruefully] I am a living god, as long as I do what *they* think is right.

    Katsumoto: What sad words you speak.

  • Algren: What else has she told you?

    Katsumoto: That you have nightmares.

    Algren: Every soldier has nightmares.

    Katsumoto: Only one who is ashamed of what he has done.

    Algren: You have no idea what I have done.

  • Nobutada: [after Algren is defeated in fencing pratice] Please forgive; too many mind.

    Algren: [puzzeled] "Too many mind?"

    Nobutada: Hai, mind the sword, mind the people watch, mind enemy - -too many mind.


    Nobutada: No mind.

    Algren: [pretending getting it] No mind.

    [returns to training only to be defeated yet again, much to the laughter of Nobutada and his cousin]

  • Algren: This is Katsumoto's sword. He would have wanted you to have it. He hoped with his dying breath that you would remember his ancestors who held this sword, and what they died for. May the strength of the Samurai be with you always.

  • Algren: There is some comfort in the emptiness of the sea, no past, no future.

  • Katsumoto: You do not have to die here.

    Algren: I should have died so many time before.

  • [watching Algren fence with Ujio]

    Nobutada: He's getting better, no?

    Nakao: Hmm...


    Nakao: but still so ugly.


  • Algren: I'm sorry that I killed your husband.

    Taka: He fulfilled his obligation, and you did yours. I accept your apology.

Extended Reading
  • Darius 2022-03-21 09:01:11

    Everything needs to get back on track

  • Llewellyn 2022-03-25 09:01:05

    The plot is flawed, but the spiritual power of culture is vividly shown in the film. Reform is not to abandon all the Meiji Restoration, not just a few paragraphs of text in the book