In this film starring Tom Cruise, an American war veteran goes to Japan and meets and befriends a group of samurai. It's a tale of cultural conflict, modernization and revenge.
This movie was filmed on location in Japan at some of the most iconic locations including: Tokyo, Tagata, Shizuoka and Himeji. It was also filmed at the Engyoji Temple on Mount Shosha near Himeji.
Set in the late 19th century, The Last Samurai tells the story of an American soldier who is sent to train a new Japanese national army to fight against the samurai who are rising up against the oligarchy that controls the Emperor. Despite their superior firepower and numbers, the green conscripts are unable to defeat these rebels.
Several of the battle scenes in The Last Samurai were filmed on horseback, with horses being used to enact historic battle tactics. Forty horses pre-trained with stunt riders were used in these scenes.
The horses were also able to perform the action of falling and rearing up when they were hit by torches and explosions. This was made possible by using a special effects unit that created the appearance of injuries through the placement of packets of blood known as squibs.
The film is loosely based on a real story that took place in Japan in 1868 and was the result of the Boshin War and the Satsuma Rebellion. It is largely an amalgam of these two events, with the main character's name being based on Jules Brunet, who was sent to fight against the samurai.