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Lord of War (2005)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  16 September 2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 236,354 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 433 user | 167 critic | 31 from

An arms dealer confronts the morality of his work as he is being chased by an Interpol agent.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Irina Orlov (as Shake Toukhmanian)
Jean-Pierre Nshanian ...
Stewart Morgan ...
Jasper Lenz ...
Stephen Gregor ...
Kobus Marx ...
Stephan De Abreu ...
Arms Fair Salesman


This film charts the rise and fall of Yuri Orlov, from his early days in the early 1980s in Little Odessa, selling guns to mobsters in his local neighbourhood, through to his ascension through the decade of excess and indulgence into the early 90s, where he forms a business partnership with an African warlord and his psychotic son. The film also charts his relationship through the years with his younger brother, his marriage to a famous model, his relentless pursuit by a determined federal agent and his inner demons that sway between his drive for success and the immorality of what he does. Written by

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The first and most important rule of gun-running is: never get shot with your own merchandise. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, drug use, language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |

Release Date:

16 September 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El señor de la guerra  »

Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$9,390,144 (USA) (16 September 2005)


$148,101 (Chile) (24 November 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Andrew Niccol, the filmmakers worked with actual gunrunners in the making of the film. The tanks lined up for sale were real and belonged to a Czech arms dealer who had to have them back to sell to another country. They used a real stockpile of over 3,000 AK-47s because it was cheaper than getting prop guns. See more »


The T.V. Yuri has in his house wasn't available in 1991. See more »


[first lines]
Yuri Orlov: There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?
See more »


References Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) See more »


Written by Cheikh Lô (as Cheikh Lo) and Habib Faye
Performed by Cheikh Lô (as Cheikh Lo)
Courtesy of Nonesuch Records
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A 'Stylish" Look At Arms Dealing
31 August 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was a very pleasant surprise, far better than I had ever hoped, filled with fabulous cinematography and riveting story about the life of arms dealer during the 1980s and '90s.

It was an interesting film, to say the least, and Nicholas Cage was terrific as the lead character, "Yuri Orlov." I loved his narration, too. How much of what he said is true, I have no idea, but it's fascinating stuff. Don't believe a lot of it, even when they tell you it is "based" on true events. Most of still can (and usually) is made up for dramatic purposes.

I felt those visuals, combined with the outstanding acting and always-interesting story made this a good film. It also proved you don't need action every two minutes to keep a film involving for the audience. This has just the right amount of drama, suspense, action, romance and, yes, even humor.

With all the political comments made here in the narration I was wondering if I was going to hear the typical Democrat whine and sure enough, late in the film a comment is made regarding the 2000 elections. The liberals still can't get over losing, fair and square. They just can't accept that. This is about the fifth time I've heard this in 2007 films although at least time, the guy making the absurd statement was the Liberian dictator.....but it really was the film maker, of course. Despite that, and the very pessimistic storyline that evil always wins in the world. According to Bible of "Yuri," in the end, the meek won't inherit the earth; the arms dealers will and that evil rules, so why fight it and yourself over it. Wow, what uplifting words to live by.

Outside of Yuri's wife "Ava" (Bridget Moynahan) and the man who pursues him, "Jack Valentine" (Ethan Hawke) no one in here has much in the way of high-ground morals. At least they made the lawman an honest; that's rare in films today.

Jared Leto plays Cage's brother "Vitaly" and plays his standard slime-ball character. Wow, this guy is becoming the male Jennifer Jason Leigh, regarding sleazy roles. Everyone was solid in here, from the Americans to the Russians the Africans....and all intriguing people. Ian Holm as rival arms dealer "Simeon Weisz" deserves mention.

Amir Mokri is the cinematographer and Andrew Niccol, the director, who combined to make this movie look so stylish and beautiful to see. Looking at Mokri's resume, I see he's done a number of stylish films. Niccol hasn't directed much but what he has also offers interesting visuals.

Looking at the front and back cover of the DVD might make you think this is just another of these brainless action flicks, but it is not. This is solid film.

43 of 66 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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