Last Samurai, The

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Last Samurai, The
Last Samurai Poster2.jpg
Theatrical Poster
Country Flag of the United States.jpgUnited States
Directed by Edward Zwick
Release Date 2003
Language English
Studio Radar Pictures
The Bedford Falls Company
Cruise/Wagner Productions
Distributor Warner Brothers
Main Cast
Character Actor
Nathan Algren Tom Cruise
Lord Katsumoto Ken Watanabe
Colonel Bagley Tony Goldwyn
Zebulon Gant Billy Connolly
Simon Graham Timothy Spall
Omura Masato Harada
Ujio Hiroyuki Sanada

The Last Samurai is a 2003 historical drama that stars Tom Cruise as Nathan Algren, a disillusioned American Civil War and Indian Wars veteran who travels to Japan to take a job training soldiers in modern weaponry in order to help wipe out the Samurai. When he is captured by the Samurai, Algren comes to learn their ancient warrior ways. The film was directed by Edward Zwick (Glory, The Siege), who would later direct Cruise in 2016's Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.

The following weapons were used in the film The Last Samurai:



Colt 1872 Open Top

Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) uses an early model Colt 1872 Open Top revolver while training the Imperial Japanese army. One memorable scene with this gun is when Nathan Algren draws his Colt to scare a training soldier into shooting him and proving that the soldiers are not ready to battle the Samurai. Algren is later seen packing away the revolver.

Colt 1872 Open Top - .44 RF
"Tell this man that if he does not shoot me, I will kill him."
Algren draws his Colt.
Algren is seen packing away his Colt.

Colt Single Action Army

Colonel Bagley (Tony Goldwyn) uses a Colt Single Action Army during the final charge scene.

Colt Single Action Army w/ 7 1/2" barrel known as the "Cavalry" model - .45 Long Colt
Bagley draws his Colt SAA.
Bagley fires his Colt SAA at the approaching samurai.

Smith & Wesson Schofield

Algren uses a Smith & Wesson Schofield during his first battle with the samurai.

Smith & Wesson Schofield Model 3 with blued finish - .45 Schofield. (right side)
Nathan Algren fires a Smith & Wesson Schofield during his first encounter with the samurai.
Algren's Schofield clicks empty.

Remington 1858 New Army

During one of Algren's flashbacks, Bagley is seen using a Remington 1858 New Army to massacre Native Americans.

Remington 1858 New Army (Cartridge Conversion) - .45 Long Colt
Bagley with his Remington 1858.
Bagley fires his Remington 1858.

Rifles / Carbines

Winchester 1873 "Trapper" Model

In the beginning of the film, Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) shows off and fires a Trapper model of the Winchester Model 1873 at a trade show. His Winchester is fitted with a large lever loop and Algren states it is a '73 trapper, which could hold 6 + 1 in the chamber. Algren is seen using the large lever loop to do a one-handed reload of the rifle, a move often seen performed by John Wayne in several of his Westerns.

Winchester 1873 "Trapper" Carbine.
Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) takes aim with the Winchester 1873 "Trapper".
Algren firing the Winchester 1873 "Trapper".

Winchester Model 1873

Zebulon Gant (Billy Connolly) uses a full size Winchester Model 1873 in the first engagement with the Samurai.

Winchester 1873 "Short Rifle" with 20" octagonal barrel - .44-40.
Zebulon Gant (Billy Connolly) loading his Winchester rifle.
Gant armed with his Winchester rifle.
Gant firing his Winchester rifle.

Springfield Model 1861

The Imperial Army of Japan uses Springfield Model 1861 muzzle-loading rifles as their standard issued weapons during the first half of the movie. Unlike many muzzle-loaders, some of these guns appear to be able to fire two shots before having to reload, all though this could be incorrect. But this could be a trick of the camera where the line of soldiers reloaded, and fired again, or a another line assembled off camera. Also the use of muzzle loading rifles is Anachronistic, BY the 1870's Japan's Imperial army already adopted the Snider-Enfield a breachloading firearm

Springfield Model 1861 - .58 caliber Minie ball
The Imperial Army train with their Springfield Model 1861's.
Algren shows an Imperial Japanese soldier how to properly aim his Springfield Model 1861.
Imperial Japanese soldier aiming his Springfield Model 1861. Enfield Pattern 1853's can be seen in the foreground and background.

Enfield Pattern 1853

Along with the Springfield Model 1861, Imperial Japanese troops were also equipped with Enfield Pattern 1853 rifles during their training with Algren.

British Pattern 1853 Enfield - .577 Ball
Imperial Japanese soldiers stand at attention with their Enfield Pattern 1853's.
The Imperial Army train with their Enfield Pattern 1853's.
Imperial Japanese soldier with his Enfield Pattern 1853.

Mauser M1871/84

In the second half of the movie, the Japanese Imperial Army carries German bolt-action Mauser Rifles, in spite of the fact they were supposedly being armed by the US (In actual history it was the Prussians who did arm the Japanese with Mausers). The rifles used on-screen are Mauser M1871/84 models converted in appearance to appear as the earlier period-appropriate (1877) single-shot Mauser Model 1871s.

Mauser M1871/84 - 11.15x60mmR
Imperial Japanese soldiers fire their Mausers in Tokyo.
The Imperial Army fire their Mausers with fixed Seitengewehr 71 bayonets at the samurai.

Mauser M1871

In addition to the Mauser M1871/84, the standard, period correct, single shot Mauser M1871 rifles are also seen. Primarily in the scenes taking place in Tokyo later in the film. It can be distinguished from the later M1871/84 by the different shaped and sized trigger guard, a cleaning rod instead of a stacking rod, and overall slimmer appearance due to the lack of a magazine tube underneath the barrel. It appears the single shot rifles were used for non-firing scenes while firing scenes were done by the later repeating models.

Mauser M1871 - 11x60mmR
Imperial Japanese soldier with his Mauser M1871.
Imperial Army soldiers point their Mauser M1871 rifles at Algren in a promotional still.
Soldiers train their rifles on Algren.



The Imperial Army is shown training with Howitzers after Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) comes back from being with the samurai for a few months. The Howitzers are later used in the final battle scene. Both the Mountain Howitzer and the Field Howitzer are the same caliber projectile, but require different powder charges. The movie utilized the Field Howitzer as shown in the screen shots below.

An old fashioned Civil War Mountain Howitzer.
The Imperial Army train with their Field Howitzers.
The Imperial Army open fire.

Gatling Gun

The Imperial Army uses Gatling Guns to slaughter the remaining samurai in the final charge scene. According to Colonel Bagley (Tony Goldwyn), "These guns can fire two hundred rounds a minute, and their new cartridges have cut down on jamming." These particular guns were heavily repaired by Master Armorer, Gary Harper, onsite, prior to shooting.

Colt Gatling Gun with Bruce Feed Guide - .45-70
A 1874 Gatling Gun on a carriage made by Master Armorer, Gary Harper, as seen in the film.
Master Armorer, Gary Harper, oversees the Imperial soldiers as they prepare to fire their Gatlings.
The 1874 Gatling Guns are unleashed upon the Samurai.

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