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Three Kings (1999)

R  |   |  Action, Adventure, Comedy  |  1 October 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 129,155 users   Metascore: 82/100
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In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, 4 soldiers set out to steal gold that was stolen from Kuwait, but they discover people who desperately need their help.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Captain Said (as Said Taghmaoui)
Christopher Lohr ...
Marsha Horan ...


A small group of adventurous American soldiers in Iraq at the end of the Gulf War are determined to steal a huge cache of gold reputed to be hidden somewhere near their desert base. Finding a map they believe will take them to the gold, they embark on a journey that leads to unexpected discoveries, enabling them to rise to a heroic challenge that drastically changes their lives. Written by imran

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gold | kuwait | map | iraq | gulf war | See All (150) »


In a war without heroes they are kings See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic war violence, language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

1 October 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Spoils of War  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$48,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$15,847,636 (USA) (1 October 1999)


£6,090,521 (UK) (14 April 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


David O. Russell never wanted George Clooney for the lead role, accepting him only after his first choices Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Nicolas Cage, and Dustin Hoffman all turned down the part. As a result, his relationship with Clooney was tense during filming, culminating in a fist fight after Clooney objected to the way Russell was treating an extra. After the premiere, Clooney said, while he respected Russell's talent, he would never work with the director again. See more »


When Chief and Conrad are arguing about which CD to listen to in a car, Chief puts a disc in which starts playing "easy listening classics". Conrad subsequently ejects it. The whole sequence takes place way too quickly for a typical CD player: the CD both starts playing too quickly and is ejected too quickly as well. See more »


[first lines]
Troy Barlow: Are we shooting?
Soldier: What?
Troy Barlow: Are we shootin' people or what?
Soldier: Are we shooting?
Troy Barlow: That's what I'm asking you!
Soldier: What's the answer?
Troy Barlow: I don't know the answer! That's what I'm trying to find out!
See more »

Crazy Credits

For Sergeant Major Jim Parker, 1946 - 1998 See more »


Referenced in JCVD (2008) See more »


I Get Around
Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love
Performed by The Beach Boys
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under License from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A thought-provoking war movie, an exciting action film, a hysterically funny comedy, and a moving drama... what more could you ask from Hollywood?
31 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Regardless of any backlash you may have heard, this film is a flat-out masterpiece. It's blend of action, comedy, and drama is perfect enough that any moviegoer can find ultimate satisfaction with it. The story is fun, the dialogue is hilarious, and the situations range from hilarious to shockingly emotional and intense. In fact, the film is something like watching humor and seriousness fight it out. By the end, you're exhausted.

The film's plot begins once the Persian Gulf War is over. Soldiers are celebrating, and a peace treaty between the U.S. and Iraq has been signed. Everything's cool. The morning after the celebration, three of the soldiers, Troy Barlow (Mark Wahlberg), Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze), and Chief Elgin (Ice Cube) come across a map in an Iraqi POW's ass. It is a map to millions of dollars worth of Kuwaiti gold, stolen by Saddam. The soldiers, not entire;y satisfied by the lack of action in the war, decide to steal the gold to make the time served worthwhile. A greedy special forces officer, Archie Gates (George Clooney) steps in, declaring himself the leader, and off they go. Shortly after they find the gold however, things quickly go wrong. Saddam's soldiers begin slaughtering Iraqi civilians, whom Bush had advised to rise up against Saddam. Putting humanity before greed, the men decide to help the civilians...

The plot moves at a fast pace, and every scene is entertaining. The dialogue is a joy to listen to, and is chock full of hilarious lines and witty insight. The comedy ranges from clever, and/or silly one-liners, and some of the most surreal situations ever filmed. A cow steps on a hidden bomb, and blows up. Mark Wahlberg's character contacts his wife while briefly imprisoned in a bunker that is stocked full of cordless phones. And don't even get me started on the ambitious reporter Adriana Cruz (Nora Dunn) and her dimwitted escort (Jamie Kennedy)... Moments like these come frequently, always hitting their comedic mark- and after the first half hour, are usually followed by stuff like a woman being shot in the head in front of her young daughter, and a torture scene that ironically brings much humanity to the Iraqi soldiers. The scenes often cancel each other out. Comedic scenes usually end in, or involve something serious, and much of the serious stuff involves, or ends in something funny ("what is the deal with Michael Jackson?). And yes, the film is quite violent, and though not nearly as gory as war films such as Black Hawk Down, and Saving Private Ryan, there are still plenty of scenes that may churn the stomachs of squeamish viewers (the demonstration of how a bullet effects the body from the inside made me kind of nauseous).

The performances are also great, and with a cast like this, I'm surprised that the movie doesn't have nearly as much recognition as it deserves. George Clooney is perfect as Archie Gates. He is sarcastic, greedy, and often rude, yet you take him seriously when his more selfless side emerges. Mark Wahlberg is funny in a strangely emotional way, as Troy Barlow. Spike Jonze is flat-out hysterical as the annoyingly lovable, poorly educated redneck, Conrad Vig. And Ice Cube, who is a great actor when given the right roles (Boyz N the Hood), is great, though he is given a bit less to do than his co-stars. After the hilarious first half-hour, his role rarely requires too much "acting".

The film is shot in a style that gives it a realistic look, and leaves you in need of air conditioning. The color appears to be on the maximum brightness level, and everything seems to have a reflection, even if all it reflects is bright light. The look gives the film a gritty and downbeat tone, which in a way makes the film even funnier, as the absurd humor almost comes as unexpected in such a real, and harsh looking film. Don't sit too close to a TV when watching this.

The film is a masterpiece, one of the greatest films ever made in my eyes. It provides more sheer entertainment and pleasure than half the movies made these days. Watch it as the entertaining action-comedy-drama that it is, and don't worry too much about the political content, which is irrelevant compared to the fun. Three Kings is on of the most exhilarating, downright brilliant movies I've ever seen, and I give it my full recommendation of 10/10.

Three Kings is rated R for Graphic War Violence, Language, and Brief Sexuality.

Sex- 5/10 Violence- 9/10 Swearing- 10/10 Drugs- 3/10

8 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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I don't understand.. maellereita
Funniest Scene vlechtja
Tone of the film jacobmarley233
possible 'rumour' of the script being penned by another? joker-scar
Okay, so how did they get the gold home? viking73
Why Three Kings? jaguax
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