One More Time

Edward Zwick’s The Last Samurai (2003) is not one of my favorite films. It’s not a bad movie per se – just not a great one. That said, it does have its moments and there are scenes from it which I can and do appreciate very much. The clip below is one of those scenes:


Famed author and poet Oliver Goldsmith once said, “Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall.”

I think that the above scene is a fair illustration of that.

Tom Cruise’s character, Nathan Algren, is beaten down multiple times – and he keeps getting up. Given the option of staying on the ground, he chooses to rise. One. More. Time. Ultimately, his opponent has to take the sword away from him altogether. And later on in the film, we see that Algren’s show of perseverance wasn’t for nought: it earns him the respect of those around him. Those who once held him in contempt.

It’s a lesson worth remembering – one which is, I think, all too frequently forgotten. Every worthwhile pursuit requires courage and perseverence on the part of the pursuer – the will to get up out of the mud and keep going no matter how much it hurts, no matter how many times you’ve been hit.

Christianity is no different.

Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” He persevered, despite countless obstacles and tribulations, and what did he get for it? “… an exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Cor. 4:17)

Is not that a glorious recompense?

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.” (Rom. 5:3-4)

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16 thoughts on “One More Time”

  1. Wonderful thoughts! I don’t think this is enough to make me want to see the movie, but I really like how you’ve pulled a lesson from it. I enjoy analyzing films this way and I think it’s very beneficial.

    1. Thanks, Aubrey! I wasn’t really trying to persuade anyone to watch the film, but I thought that particular scene was served as a good illustration of the point I was trying to make. Glad you enjoy analyzing films, too – it’s tons of fun, and as you said, very beneficial. :)

      1. Yes sir. :) Outside Hollywood, same as his blog. Super good book–I read it a few years ago after buying it. Didn’t I have that on *the list* I sent you? Oh, I did have the blog, maybe I forgot to mention the book.

  2. It’s been a long time since I saw the film, but I remember thinking it was better than I thought it was going to be. It’s a great illustration of these lessons, though. I am so glad God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).
    “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.” Proverbs 24:16a.

  3. Were we separated at birth? XD This is what I do with pretty much every movie I watch- whether I mean to or not, I happen to find Biblical application in almost everything :] This post made my day, and really encouraged me.

    Thank you :)

    1. Haha! I don’t know about that, but I’m glad you’re a fellow movie “dissector”! :D The ability to engage a film without disengaging your worldview is an integral part of Christian movie-watching.

      I’m glad the post was a blessing – thanks for the comment! :)

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