Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999) Script

"Every day when one's body and mind are at peace, "one should meditate upon being ripped apart

"by arrows, rifles, spears and swords, "being carried away by surging waves, "being thrown into the midst of a great fire, "being struck by lightning, "being shaken to death by a great earthquake, "falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease

"or committing seppuku at the death of one's master. "

I'll get you the rest tomorrow.

No problem.

'Listen, Frank...

'Don't fuck around with the boss's daughter. '

'Don't break my balls, Uncle Joe. '

'Asshole, listen to me.

'She's been in and out of psychiatric hospitals.

'She's a wacko. ' 'Yeah, yeah... '

'Vargo has put the family money in her trust fund. '

'I already know. ' 'You'll get clipped. '

Are you finished yet, Uncle Joe?

'You'll get whacked!' I'm not fu...

I'm not fucking dead yet, so let's get off the goddamn phone.

'Are you listening? That girl's a fucking wacko. '

'Yeah, I know. ' 'Vargo's crazy about her.

'You know what "crazy" means?' 'Yeah, I know, Uncle Joe. '

Excuse me, Mr Vargo. Sonny...

Louie Bonacelli's outside, said you told him to come.

Thanks, Angie.

Excuse me, I'll be right back. OK.

I almost hit the number. What did you play?

I played my license plate number. You know what?

My fucking house-address number came out!


Louie. What's up, Sonny?

Come on, let's take a walk.

Everything's set up? Yeah.

It's going down tonight. I'm using my special guy.

What about the girl?

Morini put her on the bus... to the seashore.

Good. I don't feel good about it.

Handsome Frank's a made guy and all. A good soldier.

I feel a little bad. Forget about it.

Handsome Frank fucked up. Pay your respects at the funeral.


'Home in!'

'One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. '

Have some more wine, Louise.

I don't want any more wine.

What the fuck?

What do you want? My Rolex? Whatever...

Did my father send you here to do this?

It's a good book.

Ancient Japan was a pretty strange place.

You can have it. I'm finished with it.

I've got a bad feeling, Vin.

First Valerio calls me in for a sit-down with Vargo himself.

And now the bird.

Here, birdy-birdy. Come here, you little fucker.

Goddammit, this is ridiculous.

I can't write this small.

Can't we swag a fax machine and get it to this guy?

It ain't the Middle Ages.

Come here, birdy.

I got him, Louie! Louie, I got him. I got the sucker.

Little fucker, here we go.

Easy now, Mr Chicken, easy.

Mother of Jesus, Vin, hold it still!

I don't want to hurt him.

Ready? Yeah, OK.

Go home, little birdy, go home.

'Shit! Shit!'

'What's going on? What's the problem here?'

You little brat! You want us to come up there?

Fuck you! Then you gonna get it!

You little prick! Eat me!


Hey, Louie. What the fuck are you guys doing?

His mother went to work and locked him in. He's mad as hell.

Vargo's waiting for us. You've got bigger problems than this.

Johnny, you said the girl was on the fucking bus last night.

What happened? She was.

I don't know what happened. Let's go.

Come on, Vin, let's go.

Ghost Dog! Knowledge to knowledge, baby.


How you doin'? How are you? They're inside, waiting for you.

Condolences on Handsome Frank. Thank you.

My thoughts are with you, Joe. They're waiting for you.

I'm sorry about Frank. Thank you.

Sorry about your nephew, kid.

They whacked him. What are you gonna do?

That's the way it goes.

Hey. Go in, they're waiting. Thanks.

Louie, how's it going?

I'm sorry we're late, Mr Vargo.

Mr Bonacelli was... delayed on his way over.

Sit down.

Johnny, step outside, have a smoke.

Sure, Sonny. Mr Vargo.

We got a big problem here.

Seems like you're responsible. Your mystery man fucked up.

Morini told me he put the girl...

.. Mr Vargo's daughter, on the bus.

He did... but she got off and went to Handsome Frank's house.

You wanted Handsome Frank whacked... So he got whacked.

From outside. I set it all up. No traces, no nothing.

Morini said that she was on the bus.

Jesus, it's lucky he didn't do her, too. Right?

If he had, you would be fucking dead.

This is not a good situation. Where is she? Is she OK?

Don't worry about Mr Vargo's daughter.

We need to eliminate the scumbag who whacked Frank.

Frank was one of us. His killer needs to be... neutralised.

Erased from the planet.

For the past four years, he's done maybe 12 perfect contracts.

Perfect. Like a ghost.

He's valuable. Totally untraceable.

If he'd realised anyone would be there, he'd have backed off.

He sure didn't know that she was gonna... be there.

Louie, unless you wanna be buried next to Frank, tell us everything about this mysterious, ghostlike, untraceable fuckin' button man.

OK, OK. Er, let's see...

I don't pay him by the job.

He'll only work if I pay once a year on the first day of autumn.

First day of autumn, I settle up for that past year, see?

The first day of autumn... OK, OK.

Let's skip that part. Where does he live?

Fucked if I know. That's the next strange thing.

I can't call him. He contacts me only through a bird.

Since I first started contracting stuff out to him, the bird comes every single day.

Hold it, hold it, hold it.

Did you say he contacts you through a fucking bird?

Did I just hear that?

What particular species... of bird?

It's a pigeon. It must be a carrier pigeon or whatever.

Passenger pigeon! They've been extinct since 1914!

Am I fucking dreaming here or what?

OK, Louie, forget about the bird. Let me ask you this.

Tell me, what does this mysterious guy look like?

He's a big guy. A big black guy.

He's what? He said the guy's a nigger!

Maybe eight years ago, I saw a guy, this guy.

'He was a kid in a bad situation. '

Stupid-ass motherfucker!

Get his ass up here!

You motherfucker!

What's the problem here?

'So I... straightened things out. '

Anyway, about four years ago, this big guy comes to my door.

This black guy, got a fucking pigeon on his shoulder.

Fuck knows how he found me, but he said he owed me.

I only saw him once after that and we made this arrangement.

That's very touching, Louie.

Let me just backtrack for a second.

The bird comes to your house every day. Did he come today?

Yes, the bird was there this morning.

Did he have a message?

The usual "mission accomplished" message.

Uh-huh. And did you send a message back?


You'd called me in, so I figured it was best to leave it alone.

Did you follow this bird?

Put a bug on it? Anything like that?

No, I never had a reason to do anything like that.

I realise the arrangement I made with this guy is pretty weird, but he's always shown me complete respect.

A whole new century is coming, and Mr Vargo wants every member of this family to make it a priority to erase this weirdo.

This guy is a professional.

Going after him could be dangerous.

Handsome Frank was one of us, so we're gonna peel this nigger's cap back.

Better him than you, right?

Now, what the fuck is his name?

Ghost Dog. What?

Ghost Dog. Ghost Dog?

He said Ghost Dog! He calls himself Ghost Dog.

A lot of these black guys, gangster type guys, they all got names like that.

Is that true? He means like the rappers.

The rappers got names like that - Snoop Doggy Dogg, Ice Cube, Q-Tip, Method Man.

My favourite was always Flavor Flav from Public Enemy.

He got the funky fresh fly flava.

"Live lyrics from the bank of reality.

"I kick da flyest dope manoeuvre technicality, to a dope track. "

I love that guy. I know nothing about that, but it makes me think about Indians.

They've got names like Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, Running Bear, Black Elk...

That kind of shit. Indians, niggers... same thing!

Johnny! Sonny? Mr Vargo?

Go outside. Get Sammy the Snake, Joe Rags, Big Angie.

Get 'em in here. Right away.

This is the Ice Cream Palace!


Now they say ice cream is really good for your health.

It's no joke! I even heard it this morning on the radio.

Rich in calcium!

Hey! Peace, Dog!

Is that your dog?

No. I thought maybe it was your dog.



He's really staring at you.

Maybe he wants my ice cream. I don't think so.

If he's bothering you, why not tell him to go away?

Go on.

I've seen you before...

'cause you always carry that briefcase.

You live on the roof of the building down from me, where the birds fly out from.

Mom says you talk to nobody and you got no friends.

I don't know your mom. Is it true?


You never talk to nobody and you got no friends.

No, I'm talking to you, right? Yeah.


You got your lunch in that box?

What you got in the briefcase? I asked you first.

No. Not my lunch.

I got my books. You wanna see?

Books? Yeah, OK.

"The Wind in the Willows".

I read that.

You did? Yeah.

Toad Hall and that stuff. It was great.

You did read it.

"The Souls of Black Folk".

I read that, too. Where did you get that?

From Ms Andrews, my teacher.

I didn't read all of it, but I plan to.

You got time.

"Night Nurse"?!

You read that? No, I just like the cover.


"Frankenstein". That's a good book.

Yeah, better than the movie. You thought so, too?


Can I see it? Yeah.

"He sprung from the cabin window

"upon the ice raft, which lay close to the vessel.

"He was soon borne away by the waves, "and lost in darkness... and distance. "

Hey, that's the end! Don't give away the ending.

"The monster... Frankenstein. "

"Rashomon". What's this about?


You can borrow that.

You just gotta promise that when you read it, you come tell me what you think.

OK, I will.

Is it true you got no friends, then?

No. My best friend's right over there.

You wanna meet my best friend? I don't see anybody.

He's there in that ice cream truck.

What do you think, I'm a chump?

I'm not going there. I hardly know you.


Well, all right.

Pearline, where are you going?

I'm going to get ice cream. I'm coming right back.

Hey, come over!

Come over here to the Ice Cream Palace.

Come on over.

This is my best friend, Raymond. Raymond, this is...

Pearline, right? Yeah.

How are you?

You see this guy right here?

He's really my best friend.

My best friend.

A nice cone will do you some good.

Here you go... for my friends...

It's chocolate, like his. Go ahead.

Well, OK. Thanks.

Chocolate's my favourite.

Yeah. Me, too.

BlessÚd Chocolate!

Even if vanilla is the most popular flavour in the world the fact is, chocolate is still the best.

What language is he talking? French.

He only speaks French. Do you understand French?

No. I never understand a word he says.

And that's your best friend? Yeah.

You see this guy, my best friend here?

He's just like a big bear.

Wait, I want to show you something.

You see?

Bears? Yes! Bravo!

In this book, it says...

The bear is a solitary animal, adaptable to all sorts of climates, environments and foods.

In groups, they share food when quantities are abundant, despite their limited social interaction.

The bear is a formidable adversary with no predatory instincts at all.

But, when surprised or wounded a bear may attack, and becomes very dangerous.

What's he talking about? Bears, I guess.

I gotta go. I got some business to take care of.

I don't know what he said, but I guess he's gotta go.

Must have some business to take care of.

Bad move.

For the ice cream.

No my friend, out of the question! You never have to pay here, you know that.

That book, read it and tell me what you think, OK?


Take this.

Take it easy, Raymond.

Do you speak any French?

Because if you did, it would be much easier for me to learn English.

I took a course, but damn it was too hard.

Maybe I have no ear for languages.

Check it out, I also tried to learn Spanish, but that was just impossible for me too.


You play chess by any chance?

That fucking thing loaded?

Yeah, OK. Come on, let's do it.


That could be him right there. Should I shoot him?

No, that ain't him. Vargo said it was a black guy.

So, what's he? What are you, Puerto Rican?

I think he's an Indian. What the hell are you?


Cayuga? What the fuck is Cayuga?

Puerto Rican, indian, nigger... same thing.

We should waste him to be sure.

It ain't authorised, so let's go. I wanna get the right guy.

Stupid fucking white man. What?

I said stupid fucking white man.

You red nigger-looking Sitting Bullshit motherfucker!

Sam, you're losing control. Let's get out of here.

Cayuga, my ass!

You better learn to keep your fucking mouth shut, or I'll blow your fucking brains out myself. You dumb fuck!

Hey, what the heck is going on, fellas?

What? What?

Ah, shit! I don't think that's him.

How the hell do you know? It doesn't feel right.

Now he's got his own wings, he can fly with his pigeons.

Vargo said, if he even looks like him, shoot him, right?

I know. Let's go. I gotta take care of something for Sonny.

Fuck. I knew that was gonna be you.

You gonna kill me? You might as well kill me.

I'm your retainer. I follow a code.

I've always given you my respect.

That's why you've got that big fucking gun to my head?

Forgive me. I don't mean you no disrespect.

How the fuck did you find me? Called me for a meeting.


Everything seems to be changing all around us.

You can say that again.

When you did that guy the other night, was a girl there?

I wasn't instructed to eliminate her.

I know, it's just that... things have gotten all complicated now.

They're gonna whack you, Ghost Dog.

If they don't find you, they're gonna whack me instead.

Probably whack me anyways. Ray Vargo?

The whole family's looking for you.

The underboss, Valerio, too? Of course. He pulls all the...

Hey... How the fuck do you know so much about our organisation?

Who was the girl? She's...

Forget about her, I can't talk about that.

I'm warning you that they're gonna kill you.

Maybe me, too. Better me than you, Louie.

Well... Right now, I'd have to agree with that.

Hey, Louie! Sorry I'm late... and I'm real sorry about this.

Jesus Christ! You just shot Morini.

Valerio's fucking brother-in-law!

He was gonna shoot you. What?

See if he's dead.

I don't think he's getting any older.

Roll him over.

Now you really better shoot me.

There's no way I'm gonna explain this.

Fuckin' Morini!

OK, shoot me. Go ahead, kill me now.

I'm your retainer. It's against the code of the samurai.

If you're my retainer, whatever that is, then do what I tell you!


What did you that for? You told me to.

I don't mean you no disrespect.

Now you've got an excuse. Tell them I attacked you both.

You better watch your back, Ghost Dog!

Like you said, everything seems to be changing around us.

Nothing makes sense any more.

Take these.

Man, I saw a really cool thing that I gotta show you.

You won't believe your eyes.

I don't know why, but it made me think of you.

I'm gonna take your knight.


C'mon let's go.


You know what?

Now they say that ice cream is really good for you.

Talking about ice cream?

Yeah, I heard it this morning on the radio.

Some nutritionist guy said it's exactly like food.

I don't usually go up on the roof.

I never go up there, but I went up there earlier today for the very first time.

Just to see the light of the dawn, the colour of the sky.

And then I discovered this thing so incredible that I said to myself, you gotta see this.


Check this out, man.

I love this.

Check this out.

It's completely crazy, right?

What a beautiful thing.

But, how in the hell is he ever gonna get it down from there?

That's completely crazy, this guy's a genius!

It's amazing.

How the hell is he gonna get it down from here?

How's it goin'?

What a beautiful boat!

When you're finished will you just sail away into the clouds?

I don't understand.

I gotta keep working.


I guess you got some business to take care of, 'cause soon the sun's gonna be coming down.

I gotta go. I got business to take care of.

The sun's coming down.


There is something you could do for me.


'And now, my newest invention. '

'I can turn diamonds... into jelly beans!

'But do you think I'm happy?

'No! I'm frustrated, frustrated, frustrated, frustrated!

'You ask why? Felix the Cat and his bag of tricks.

'It's magic!' 'I'll make a canoe. '

'Magic and more magic!'

I thought we discussed this yesterday.

All I want is my money.

There's people here. We can discuss this another time.

Every time I have to come get my rent.

It's every three months.

'I'll try to get the bag like this!'

'It tickles!'

Sanchez, I've got bigger problems.

I'll clear it up tomorrow.

Pay me that money or I'll call the City Marshal.

Three months rent!

What kind of operation are you guys running here anyway?

What? What?

I don't think the boss buys your story, either.

Morini was family. He was also my brother-in-law.

Sonny, I'm sad about what happened, but I got shot!

You think I'm making this up?

I don't know what I fucking believe!

Joe, Snake. Go to the garage, get some cars.

First thing tomorrow, take Mr Vargo to his castle in the woods.

Right now? No, next fucking week!

Let's go!

Passenger pigeon!

Somebody grab the goddamn thing!

Grab him, Vinny. Yeah.

I got him. Here you go.

Get out with that flying rat.

Just get the message off him.

Send him home, Vinny.

It says, "If a samurai's head were to be suddenly cut off, "he should still be able to perform one more action...

"with certainty. "

What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

It's poetry.

The poetry of war.

Excuse me, excuse me!

Step into the alley, please!


Plan B.

Hello, I'm Bob Solo. I'm with West Side Realty.

I have an appointment with Mr Vargo.

How did you get in the gate, Mr Solo?

Mr Valerio gave me the code.

It's very important. I may have a buyer for the estate.

Go inside, Sammy. Check this out.

I'll stay here with our Mr Solo.

Mind if I stretch my legs?

No, you stay in the car, Mr Solo.


Why don't I give you my card?


You sonofa...


Jesus, it's the fucking birdman!

Ah, Jesus...

I've been expecting you.

It's you again.

You borrowed my book.

Goddammit! You shot me in the same place as last time.

I'm your retainer. I don't mean you no disrespect.

Besides, I don't want to put too many holes in you.

Where's Sonny Valerio, Louie?

I'll see you later, Louie.

Vinny? Vinny?

I'm in here, Louie.


That's a big bear you killed there.

Yep. The fucker weighs about 300 pounds.


It's funny. I didn't even know it was bear-hunting season.

What are you, a game warden? Some kinda Fed?

No, no. I'm just asking, you know, just asking.

Well, I'll tell ya.

There aren't too many of these big black fuckers left here.

So when you get a clear shot at it, you sure as hell take it.

That's why you shoot 'em...

.. 'cause there're not that many left?

I don't think I understand your question.

You know, there ain't that many coloured people here, neither.

You oughta get back in your car and go about your own business.

Yeah... maybe you're right.

Jesus Christ, you fucking hit my knee!

You know, in ancient cultures... bears were considered equal with men.

This ain't no ancient culture here, mister.

Sometimes it is.

'Aaaahh... '

You know, Louie...

There's one good thing about this Ghost Dog guy.

What's that, Vin?

He's sending us out in the old way.

Like real fucking gangsters.

Hang on, Vin. You're gonna make it. Just hang in there.

Oh, Christ! Fucking five-o.

Remain inside the vehicle.

When you're in the city, you never see a cop, but here, they're like the fucking Gestapo!

Like we're in some fucking foreign country!

My friend has to get to a hospital.

What happened to your arm?

I'm fine, it's my friend here.

License and registration, please.

We don't have time!

Don't push me, mister! Remain inside the vehicle.

Oh, yeah... This is terrific.

What's the situation here, sir?

Let's get the fuck out of here, Louie!

Jesus, Vin! You just iced a woman, you know that?

You know what you are, Louie?

You're a fucking male chauvinist pig.

What do you mean, I'm a male chauvinist pig?

You just shot a broad! A cop!

I just shot a cop.

They wanna be equal... I made her equal.


Hey, Vin! You with me over there?

Oh, no. No...

New findings show that ice cream is actually good for your health.

I'm not joking!

I heard it on the radio!

Come to the Ice Cream Palace.

Rich in Calcium!

Hey, Raymond.

Hey, my friend.

I haven't seen you around for awhile.

I ain't seen you in a while, man.

That little girl was here. She was looking for you.

You know, Pearline.

She's so funny walking around everywhere with that little lunch box.

She reminds me of you with your briefcase.

That little girl, Pearline?

But she wouldn't leave it here.

She probably wanted to give me that book back.

I wonder what she thought about it. Hey, man...

It's a little big, but one of those Haitian tailors can cut up, fit it for you.

What a cool suit!

For me?

Yeah, that's for you.

Man, that's great.

It's kinda big, but I know some Haitian tailor guys that can take it in, you know?

Hi, guys!

My fucking Jaguar! Shit! Fuck!

You got a phone? Oh, man.



What the fuck?

Ghost Dog. Power and equality.

Always see everything, my brother.

Raymond! Raymond, man. Hey.

You look worried.

I'm worried, man.

Earlier there was a strange guy here.

A strange white guy.

I don't know if he was here to deport me or what?

In any case, I got a bad feeling.

He had his arm in a sling.

Don't worry, man. It's OK.

It's all right. I need to get inside the truck, all right?

Let me get in the truck.

And more bad news.

Now on the radio they say that ice cream isn't good for you after all.

Too much sugar.

Not enough calcium.

Turn around, man.


Turn around, turn around.


Oh, that?

It's for my security, you know?

To protect my business.

Don't I live in America now?


No, no... No, thanks. I'm not hungry.

Here, I wanna give you this.

I don't want you to worry, Raymond.

Don't you worry about nothing.

Everything happens for a reason.

You know that guy who was here, with his arm in a sling?

Yeah, the guy with his arm in a sling? What.

Yeah... I know that guy.

He's name's Louie.

I'm his retainer.

See, once, a long time ago, he helped me out.

You motherfucker!

What's going on? What's the problem here?

'And I owed him for that.

'See, a samurai must ALWAYS stay loyal to his boss.

'No matter what happens. '

Anyway, me and him, we're from different ancient tribes.

And now, we're both almost extinct.

Sometimes... you gotta stick with the ancient ways.

The old-school ways.

I know you understand me.

I know you understand me.

Hello? Anyone home in there?

Hey, how is little Pearline today?


A double for you, on the house.

No, but thank you. I'm not really hungry.

Ghost Dog, I brought your book back.

I finished it a few days ago, but I didn't see you.

What did you think?

I liked all six different stories.

Ancient Japan was a pretty weird place.

But I especially liked the first story.

It's one story, but each person sees a totally different story.

That was really good. "Yabu No Naka".

That's my favourite, too.

Well, thank you for returning it, and thank you for your comments.

Will you do me a favour? What?

Take this book... and you read it some time.

You don't gotta read it right away.

OK. Is it good?

Yeah, well... I liked it a lot.

It's not exactly a story, it's kind of a...

Ghost Dog!

It's him.

You should go home now.

What is this, Louie?

"High Noon"?

This is the final shoot-out scene?

I guess it is.


Well, it's very dramatic.

It's very dramatic... and I understand.

You have to avenge the death of your bosses, right?

Well, OK, then.

Don't shoot him!

Stay back!

His gun isn't even loaded!

It's not fair! His gun isn't even loaded!

Raymond! Stay back.

Now you're gonna be the boss of your own clan, right, Louie?

'Cause... there ain't nobody else left...

Ain't that right, Louie?

No, not exactly, Ghost Dog.

Stay there!

It's like you said, better you than me, right?

Nothing makes any sense any more.

It's OK, Louie.

I've seen everything I need to see.

Do me one favour, though. One favour.

What do you want me to do?

You take this book... and read it some time. Then, later on... you can tell me what you think.

Yeah... sure.

Let's go! Let's get out of here!

This is my book.

No, Miss Vargo, I got it from the guy, from Ghost Dog!

Can we get out of here?

It takes place in ancient Japan.

You should read it.

We can go now.

Pearline, you're in the way, honey.

Why don't you go in the other room to read your book, darling?