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The Last Samurai

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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The Last Samurai
Last Samurai Poster2.jpg
Theatrical Poster
Country Flag of the United States.jpg United States
Directed by Edward Zwick
Release Date December 5, 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
During Algren's flashback, he fires his Colt at Native Americans.
"Tell this man that if he does not shoot me, I will kill him."
Algren points his Colt at a young Japanese recruit to show Colonel Bagley and Omura that the soldiers are not ready.
"Shoot me, damn it!"
Algren is seen emptying his Colt to pack it away.

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
Nathan quickly draws his Smith & Wesson Schofield to engage charging Samurai.
"Fire at will!"
Shortly after, he opens fire while the battle array is falling apart.
The Schofield clicks empty and thus has no use for him.

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 on horseback.
Bagley murders several Indian women and children.

Rifles / Carbines

Winchester 1873 "Trapper" Model

At 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. After having enough of the demonstration Nathan tosses the "Trapper" Model to the Winchester Rep McCabe (William Atherton).

Winchester 1873 "Trapper" Carbine - .44-40 WCF
"This ladies and gents is the gun that's winning the West!"
Natan presents the Winchester 1873 "Trapper" Model in front of the curious crowd.
"This, ladies and gentlemen, the 73 lever action Trapper. It's got a seven-shot capacity. Accurate 400 yards, one round per second."
Having read the text from the card he starts filling in the magazine.
After performing the one-handed reload Nathan takes aim with the Winchester.
Cycling the lever-action during the unplanned firing demonstration
Algren firing the Winchester 1873 "Trapper".
A view of the Trapper's rear part as he holds it into the air. Note the large lever loop.

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 loading his Winchester rifle to overhear Algren's order.
"No disrespect intented, sir, but shove it up your ass."
Gant starring into the foggy forest holds his 1873 at the ready.
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 reloading, although this could be incorrect. But this could be a trick of the camera where the line of soldiers reloaded and fired again or another line assembled off camera. Also, the use of muzzleloading rifles is Anachronistic, BY the 1870's Japan's Imperial army already adopted the breechloading Snider-Enfield Rifle.

Springfield Model 1861 - .58 caliber Minie ball
The Imperial soldiers of General Hasegawa (Togo Igawa) train with their Springfield Model 1861's.
Algren shows a Young Recruit (Shintaro Wada) how to properly aim his Springfield Model 1861.
The Recruit stands in shock after Nathen fires right in front of his feet.
While Nathan demands him to load faster the frightened Recruit struggles to put the ramrod into the muzzle.
After completing the loading he hesitates to shoot at his instructor.
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.

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.
The soldiers execute the order to fix their bayonets which takes a bit too long. This, however, is a small detail to show the just-trained conscript's inexperience.
A closer view of one Japanese soldier filling in gunpowder from his paper cartridge.
Imperial Japanese soldier with his Enfield Pattern 1853.
Japanese soldiers assuming the firing position as the Samurai approaches.

Mauser Gewehr 1871

In addition to the following 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 an 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 Infanterie-Gewehr Modell 1871 - 11.15x60mmR Mauser
Imperial Japanese soldiers (the one facing the camera is Yuki Matsuzaki) with their Mauser shouldered M1871s surround Nobutada Katsumoto (Shin Koyamada) to intimidate him.
The same soldiers threaten Nobutada for disobeying their instructions. Note the M1871 receiver on the left rifle.
Imperial Army soldiers point their Mauser M1871 rifles at Algren in a promotional still.
As Algren interferes to defuse the situation, the soldiers target him.

Mauser Gewehr 1871/84

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 Infanterie-Gewehr Modell 1871/84 - 11.15x60mmR Mauser
Imperial Japanese soldiers fire their Mausers in Tokyo.
A clearer view of the Gewehr 1871/84's receivers.
The line of Japanese soldiers open fire with their Gewehrs.
The Imperial Army fire their Mausers with fixed Seitengewehr 71 bayonets at the samurai.
More soldiers setting up a new line.
The soldiers ready their rifles to fire another salvo.
Some Gewehrs are seen being reloaded.



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 screenshots below.

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

Model 1874 Gatling Gun

The Imperial Army uses Model 1874 Gatling Guns to slaughter the remaining samurai in the final charge scene which is based on the Battle of Shiroyama. These particular guns were heavily repaired by Master Armorer, Gary Harper, onsite, prior to the shooting.

Colt Gatling Gun with Bruce Feed Guide - .45-70
"Two hundred rounds a minute. And the new cartridge cut down the jamming."
1874 Gatling Guns on a carriage made by Master Armorer, Gary Harper, as seen in the film.
Soldiers getting the Gatlings in position.
Master Armorer, Gary Harper, oversees the Imperial soldiers as they prepare to fire their Gatlings.
The 1874 Gatling Guns are unleashed upon the Samurai.
A close-up of the resting ten barrels.

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