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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 238,308 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 435 user | 167 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

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



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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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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 davidgraham83@hotmail.co.uk

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?


Before shooting the scene where tanks were lined up for sale, the filmmaker had to warn NATO, lest they think a real war was being started when they see satellite images of the set. See more »


In the scene where Yuri, Vitaly, and Andre's son are traveling to Sierra Leone, Jared Leto's tattoo representing his band '30 Seconds To Mars' is clearly visible on his right arm. In no other scenes is this tattoo visible. 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 Rumble Fish (1983) See more »


For What It's Worth
Written by Stephen Stills
Performed by Buffalo Springfield
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Just Evil Prevails
1 October 2005 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

Atop a hillside in Liberia overlooking an impending village massacre once the arms deal settles, Nicolas Cage's Yuri pleads to his conscience rattled brother Vitaly (Jared Leto), "It is none of our business!" Writer and Director Andrew Niccol's "Lord of War" is all about the big business of war, and the cost of selling one's soul. That lost soul is Yuri Orlov played masterfully by Nicolas Cage. Cage as Yuri also narrates the story. Niccol sets the warped and dark tone in the opening sequence of the manufacture of a bullet to its final destination—so to speak. Yuri comments that there is one firearm for every 12 people in the world. So the question is "How do we arm the other eleven?" Niccol's "Lord of War" is not so much a clever indictment of humanity, rather an acknowledgment of perhaps humanity's darker nature. In a poignant and chilling realization for Yuri (Cage) he says, "They say that 'evil prevails when good men fail to act.' It should be 'evil prevails'." I don't think this is cynicism on Niccol's part, rather only stating what is so given all of history and now. He certainly makes us think from the inside out.

Yuri Orlov (Cage) is from a Ukrainian family in Little Odessa, NY. As a young man he has an epiphany witnessing a Russian mafia hit. Being an arms dealer is the path to success. He finds that he also has an innate gift for his chosen profession. He enlists his brother Vitaly (Leto) into the business. "Lord of War" traces the Orlov brothers over the course of 20 years—through the end of the Cold War to the advent of terrorist threats and dictatorships in third world countries. Yuri truly becomes the Lord of War supplying arms to anyone and any country for a profit. He also acts as an independent agent for undisclosed countries supplying arms to "freedom fighters". One gets the drift. Yuri eventually hits his stride and becomes very successful and very wealthy. He marries his trophy bride, supermodel Ava Fontaine (stunning Bridget Moynahan), has a son, and living in a luxury apartment in Manhattan. All the while he eludes the grasp of Interpol Agent Jack Valentine (very good Ethan Hawke), by keeping three steps ahead. Predictably Yuri's world comes crashing in upon him. In a powerful scene with Ava who purposely ignores what her husband really does for a living, Yuri has a conscience meltdown.

The actors in "Lord of War" are great. Nicolas Cage is such a powerful and versatile actor. I don't think any other actor than himself, could enroll sympathy as arms dealer Yuri. Cage gives Yuri a subtle detached edge and an expert in context. Cage knows he is in morally bankrupt position, and he uses his smarts and sense of humor to rationalize that he only supplies the weapons to men who do evil. Yuri is the ultimate poster child for "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." Jared Leto is surprising as the coke head brother, who eventually cops to the monster he has become—the counterpoint to Yuri. Bridget Moynahan is deceivingly powerful as Ava, the former model aware that her asset of being pretty is fading, and closes her eyes to what her husband does until it is too late. Moynahan is stunningly beautiful and has distinctive grace and vulnerability. Ethan Hawke as Jack Valentine is the intrepid idealist saving the world from the likes of Yuri. Hawke is very strong and compelling.

Andrew Niccol's "Lord of War" ends and the world continues on. The echoes of Yuri voice, just "evil prevails" is a chilling and poignant reminder. Nicolas Cage is brilliant as the lost soul in "The Lord of War". "The Lord of War" is one the year's best.

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