If you haven't seen this outstanding story about the ending of the samurai era in 1800s Japan, then you have spent the last 15 years "in a great shame."
The film follows the story of a disgraced war hero who is seeking redemption when he is brought in to help crush the resistant forces to modernism in Japan.
Tom Cruise plays American Captain Nathan Algren, who is captured by a band of warriors who believe their emperor is being manipulated. Algren finds a newfound respect for the resistance and it's leader, Katsumoto, and discovers a cause worth fighting for again.
It is an epic war story, with two and a half hours of gritty fight scenes, beautiful scenery, and tied to a heart-wrenching tale of loyalty and determination in the face of failure.
The movie took years to produce, and everyone on the cast, crew, writing, and directing team paid special attention to the details in order to make sure the production was accurate, and respectful.
There were many big names involved in the project, however, they put their egos aside in order to create something legendary.
Hans Zimmer, the famed composer, researched the music and history of Japan extensively, but felt he wasn't doing a good enough job. That is, until the Japanese consultants praised his wisdom of their musical culture.
Tom Cruise spent two years learning Japanese and proper sword craft in order to wield the katanas in the movie effectively. You can never be too careful though, as Cruise was nearly decapitated after a rehearsal with real blades nearly putting his neck in the path of a swinging sword.
Over 500 extras were trained for ten days straight in order to film the final battle of the movie, and while the scenery is indicative of Japan, all filming took place in New Zealand.
Not that Japan minded, in fact, the film is held up to be one of the finest American portrayals of Japanese culture ever produced.