Lord of War (2005)
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?
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] Of all the weapons in the vast soviet arsenal, nothing was more profitable than Avtomat Kalashnikova model of 1947. More commonly known as the AK-47, or Kalashnikov. It's the world's most popular assault rifle. A weapon all fighters love. An elegantly simple 9 pound amalgamation of forged steel and plywood. It doesn't break, jam, or overheat. It'll shoot whether it's covered in mud or filled with sand. It's so easy, even a child can use it; and they do. The Soviets put the gun on a coin. Mozambique put it on their flag. Since the end of the Cold War, the Kalashnikov has become the Russian people's greatest export. After that comes vodka, caviar, and suicidal novelists. One thing is for sure, no one was lining up to buy their cars.
Yuri Orlov: You know who's going to inherit the Earth? Arms dealers. Because everyone else is too busy killing each other. That's the secret to survival. Never go to war. Especially with yourself.
Yuri Orlov: [narrating] There are two types of tragedies in life. One is not getting what you want, the other is getting it.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] Some of the most successful relationships are based on lies and deceit. Since that's where they usually end up anyway, it's a logical place to start.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] They say, "Evil prevails when good men fail to act." What they ought to say is, "Evil prevails."
Yuri Orlov: The reason I'll be released is the same reason you think I'll be convicted. I do rub shoulders with some of the most vile, sadistic men calling themselves leaders today. But some of these men are the enemies of your enemies. And while the biggest arms dealer in the world is your boss - the President of the United States, who ships more merchandise in a day than I do in a year - sometimes it's embarrassing to have his fingerprints on the guns. Sometimes he needs a freelancer like me to supply forces he can't be seen supplying. So. You call me evil, but unfortunately for you, I'm a necessary evil.
Andre Baptiste Sr.: They say that I am the lord of war, but perhaps it is you.
Yuri Orlov: I believe it's "warlord."
Andre Baptiste Sr.: Thank you, but I prefer it my way.
Anatoly Orlov: Is this how you want to be remembered?
Yuri Orlov: [chuckles] I don't want to be remembered at all. If I'm being remembered, it means I'm dead.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] I was an equal opportunity merchant of death. I supplied everyone but the Salvation Army. I sold Israeli-model Uzis to Muslims. I sold Communist-made bullets to Fascists... I even shipped cargo to Afghanistan when they were fighting my fellow Soviets. I never sold to Osama bin Laden. Not on any moral grounds: back then, he was always bouncing checks.
Yuri Orlov: [voiceover] I'm not saying I didn't have setbacks. It's not called "gunrunning" for nothing. You've gotta be fast on your feet. Some revolutions blow over before the guns even get there. There's nothing more expensive for an arms dealer than peace.
Yuri Orlov: [into cell phone] Truce? What do you mean, truce, the guns are already on their way... Peace talks... All right, forget it. I'll reroute the shipment to the Balkans. When they say they're going to have a war, they keep their word!
Jack Valentine: Do you know why I do what I do? I mean, there are more prestigeous assignments. Keeping track of nuclear arsenels - you'd think that be more critical to world security. But it's not. No, nine out of ten war victims today are killed with assault rifles and small arms - like yours. Those nuclear weapons sit in their silos. Your AK-47, that's the real weapon of mass destruction.
Yuri Orlov: I don't want people dead, Agent Valentine. I don't put a gun to anybody's head and make them shoot. But shooting is better for business. But, I prefer people to fire my guns and miss. Just as long as they are firing. Can I go now?
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] The problem with dating dream girls is that they have a tendency to become real.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] Every faction in Africa calls themselves by these noble names - Liberation this, Patriotic that, Democratic Republic of something-or-other... I guess they can't own up to what they usually are: the Federation of Worse Oppressors Than the Last Bunch of Oppressors. Often, the most barbaric atrocities occur when both combatants proclaim themselves Freedom Fighters.
Ava Fontaine: We have enough. You can stop now.
Yuri Orlov: It's not about the money.
Ava Fontaine: What is it about?
Yuri Orlov: I'm good at it.
Yuri Orlov: Enjoy it.
Jack Valentine: What?
Yuri Orlov: This. Tell me I'm everything you despise. That I'm the personification of evil. That I'm what- responsible for the breakdown of the fabric of society and world order. I'm a one-man genocide. Say everything you want to say to me now. Because you don't have long.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] You can fight a lot of enemies and survive, but not your biology.
Yuri Orlov: [when a gun is aimed at him point-blank] Oh, the new MP-5. Would you like a silencer for that?
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] The first and most important rule of gun-running is: Never get shot with your own merchandise.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] Without operations like mine it would be impossible for certain countries to conduct a respectable war. I was able to navigate around those inconvenient little arms embargoes. There are three basic types of arms deal: white, being legal, black, being illegal, and my personal favorite color, *gray*. Sometimes I made the deal so convoluted, it was hard for *me* to work out if they were on the level.
Andre Baptiste Jr.: Can you bring me the gun of Rambo?
Yuri Orlov: Part One, Two, or Three?
Andre Baptiste Jr.: I've only seen Part One.
Yuri Orlov: Luckily we live in a world where suspicion alone does not constitute a crime.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] You can't force someone to fall in love with you but, you can definitely improve your odds.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] The ones who know don't care anymore, and the ones who care don't know.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] I sell to leftists, and rightists. I sell to pacifists, but they're not the most regular customers. Of course, you're not a * true internationalist until you've supplied weapons to kill your *own* countrymen.
Simeon Weisz: Bullets change governments far surer than votes.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] Thank God there are still legal ways to exploit developing countries. The only problem with an honest buck is they're so hard to make - the margins are too low, too many people are doin' it.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] Selling a gun for the first time is a lot like having sex for the first time. You're excited but you don't really know what the hell you're doing. And some way, one way or another, it's over too fast.
Yuri Orlov: Any friend of my brothers' is a... a friend of my brothers'.
Vitaly Orlov: Yuri, what the fuck do you know about guns?
Yuri Orlov: I know which end I'd rather be on.
Jack Valentine: Since you're so concerned with the law, you must know that I am legally permitted to hold you for 24 hours without charging you. You might ask why I would do that, and I can assure you it's not because I enjoy your company, because I don't. No. The reason why I will delay you for every second of the permissible 24 hours is I'm delaying your deadly trade and the deaths of your victims. I don't think of it as taking a day away from you, but giving a day to them. Some innocent man, woman or child is going to have an extra day on this Earth because you're not free. So I will see you in... 23 hours and 55 minutes.
Angel: My name is Angel.
Vitaly Orlov: Her name really is Angel! Let's put her on the Christmas tree!
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] I now shared even more in common with the leader of that country God seemed to have forsaken. We saw something in each other neither one of us liked, or maybe we were just looking in the mirror.
Yuri Orlov: You read the newspapers, Vit?
Vitaly Orlov: Newspaper? It's always the same.
Yuri Orlov: You're right. Every day there's people shooting each other. You know what I do when I see that? I look to see what guns they're using and I think to myself, why not my guns?
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] I am not a fool. I know that just because they needed me that day didn't mean they wouldn't make me a scapegoat the next.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] My son's birthday unlocked what the government would later describe, as a catalog of carnage.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] I was guilty as sin, but Valentine couldn't prove it. And he was the rarest breed of law enforcement officer. The type who knew I was breaking the law, but wouldn't break it himself to bust me.
Jack Valentine: [to Yuri] I would tell you to go to hell, but I think you're already there.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] In the most AIDS-infested region of the globe - where 1 in 4 is infected - Andy's idea of a joke was to put a young Iman and a young Naomi in my bed - and no condom within a hundred miles.
Simeon Weisz: The problem with gun runners going to war, is that there is no shortage of ammunition.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] After the Cold War, the AK-47 became Russia's biggest export. After that came vodka, caviar, and suicidal novelists.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] the primary market was Africa, Eleven major conflicts involving twenty three countries in less than a decade. A gunrunner's wet dream. At the time the West couldn't care less, they had a white war in what was left of Yugoslavia.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] I think I've been cursed, with the curse of invincibility.
Yuri Orlov: [encouraging Sierra Leonean natives to remove an illegal shipment from his cargo plane, which has been forced by Interpol to land on a dirt road] Guns, grenades, hooray! Bullets, guns, grenades! Yeah!
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] What a cargo crew at Heathrow Airport does in a day, took a bunch of malnourished Sierra Leonean locals ten minutes.
Jack Valentine: I don't think you appreciate the seriousness of your situation.
Yuri Orlov: My family has disowned me. My wife and son have left me. My brother's dead. Trust me, I fully appreciate the seriousness of my situation. And I promise you, I won't spend a single second in a court room.
Jack Valentine: You're delusional.
Yuri Orlov: I like you, Jack. Well, maybe not, but I understand you. Let me tell you what's gonna happen. This way you can prepare yourself.
Jack Valentine: Okay...
Yuri Orlov: Soon there's going to be a knock on that door and you will be called outside. In the hall there will be a man who out-ranks you. First he'll compliment you on the fine job you've done - on you making the world a safer place. That you're to receive a commendation or a promotion. And then he's going to tell you that I am to be released. You're going to protest. You'll probably threaten to resign. But in the end, I *will* be released. The reason I'll be released is the same reason you think I'll be convicted. I do rub shoulders with some of the most vile, sadistic men calling themselves leaders today. But some of those men
[pointing at newspaper articles]
Yuri Orlov: are the enemies of your enemies. And while the biggest arms dealer in the world is your boss, the President of the United States, who ships more merchandise in a day than I do in a year, sometimes it's embarrassing to have his fingerprints on the guns. Sometimes he needs a freelancer like me to supply forces he can't be seen supplying. So, *you* call me evil, but unfortunately for you, I'm a necessary evil.
[knock at the door]
Jack Valentine: I'd tell you to go to hell, but I think you're already there.
Andre Baptiste Sr.: [to Yuri about his country's youth] Personally, I blame MTV.
Arms Fair Salesman: Sir! Sir, may I interest you in the shoulder fired S-37 surface-to-air missle? It's the old Chinese model. Not so effective against modern military aircraft but deadly if used against a commerical airliner.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] I have been running away from violence my whole life. I should have been running towards it. It's in our nature. Earliest human skeletons had spearheads in their heads and ribcages.
Ava Fontaine: I feel like all I've done my whole life is be pretty. I mean, all I've done is be born! I'm a failed actress, a failed artist... I'm not much good as a mother. Come to think of it, I'm not even that pretty anymore. I have failed at everything, Yuri... but I won't fail as a human being.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] I had a flair for languages. But I soon discovered that what talks best is dollars, dinars, drachmas, rubles, rupees and pounds fucking sterling.
Jack Valentine: [eavesdropping on Yuri with other Interpol officers in a surveillance vehicle] He must be lying... He's talking.
Yuri Orlov: Can I go now? You got nothing on me. Except cuffs.
Yuri Orlov: I was the same man who was not good enough for you before, and I'm just not good enough for you now.
Vitaly Orlov: [in Russian] Oh God!
Yuri Orlov: [voice-over] Always resort to your native tongue in times of anger. And in times of ecstasy.
Borneo Officer: We're with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Yuri Orlov: Let me guess... this isn't about the alcohol or tobacco.
Andre Baptiste Sr.: Welcome to Democracy!
Yuri Orlov: Democracy? What have you been drinking Andy?
Andre Baptiste Sr.: Heh, you have not seen the news. You know, they accuse me of rigging elections. But after this -
[holds up a newspaper with the headline "U.S. Supreme Court Reverses Recount Ruling"]
- with your Florida and your Supreme Court of Kangaroos, now, the U.S. will shut up forever!
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] The second rule of gun-running is always ensure you have a foolproof way of getting paid.
Yuri Orlov: [voiceover] You don't have to worry. I'm not gonna tell you a pack of lies to make me look good. I'm just gonna tell you what happened.
Andre Baptiste Jr.: [Vitaly is seen grabbing a grenade from box] What are you doing?
Vitaly Orlov: [his last lines] Something for Yuri.
Yuri Orlov: [when Andre suddenly shoots a subordinate with the sample gun] WHY'D YOU DO THAT?
Andre Baptiste Sr.: What did you say?
[aims at Yuri]
Yuri Orlov: [pulls himself together] Well, now you're gonna have to buy it. It's a used gun!
[pulls it out of Andre's hand. Andre's bodyguards draw on him]
Yuri Orlov: How can I sell a used gun?
[Yuri huffs and busies himself wiping and polishing it]
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] Even when I was up against an overzealous agent, I had a number of methods for discouraging a search. I routinely mislabeled my shipments "farm machinery." And I have yet to meet the lowly-paid customs official who will open a container marked "radioactive waste" to verify its contents. But my personal favorite is the unique combination of week-old potatoes and tropical heat.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] There's nothing better for an arms dealer than a combination of disgruntled soldiers and warehouses full of weapons.
Yuri Orlov: "beware of the dog"? You don't have a dog. Are you trying to scare people?
Vitaly Orlov: No, it's to scare me - remind me to beware the dog in me. The dog who wants to fuck everything that moves, wants to fight and kill weaker dogs.
Jack Valentine: Have you seen today's paper?
[Yuri looks at the paper headlined MERCHANT OF DEATH IN CUSTODY as Agent Valentine gives an inventory of Yuri's crimes]
Jack Valentine: Fake end-user certificates. Cut-out companies meticulously catalogued. There is hardly a warlord, dictator, despot anywhere in the world you're not on a first-name basis with.
Vitaly Orlov: [to Yuri after Yuri wipes Vitaly's map of the Ukraine drawn in cocaine off a table] You fuck! You fucking fuck! You fuck- you fucking fuck! What the fuck is your problem?
Yuri Orlov: [to a pilot, who doubts that he can ditch the plane] You underestimate yourself Aleksei. You're the best. You're the shit Aleksei, you're the shit! You're the shit! You're the shit!
Yuri Orlov: Vitaly, I've tasted your borscht. You're no fucking chef. I can eat in the restaurant for free and I still don't eat there.
Vitaly Orlov: Fuck you.
Yuri Orlov: We're doing nothing with our lives. I mean, this is shit! This is shit!
Vitaly Orlov: It's true. But maybe doing nothing's better than doing this.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] I have a feeling it wasn't exactly what Comrade Lenin had in mind when he advocated the redistribution of wealth. But I wasn't the only one offering a crash course in capitalism.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] When I was a boy, my family came to America... but not all the way. Like most Ukrainians, we congregated in Brighton Beach. It reminded us of the Black Sea. I soon realized we just swapped one hell for another.
Andre Baptiste Sr.: [about his child soldiers] I can see what you are thinking. But we need every man we can get.
Yuri Orlov: Even if they're not men?
Andre Baptiste Sr.: A bullet from a 14-year-old is just as effective as one from a 40-year-old. Often more effective.
Yuri Orlov: [Narraing the sex in the shower scene] Despite the other women, I always made love to Ava as if she was the only one.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] I never sold to Osama bin Laden, not on any moral grounds, back then he was always bouncing checks
Yuri Orlov: [narrating] Valentine knew he didn't have to guard me. There was no where to go. Or maybe he was hoping the locals would tear me apart. But they were too busy with the plane. It's like parking your car in certain neighborhoods in the Bronx. You don't do it.
[time-lapse of locals disassembling his cargo plane over night]
Yuri Orlov: [Andre Sr. and Andre Jr. show up unannounced at Yuri's home] What the fuck are you doing here?
Andre Baptiste Sr.: [Hugs Yuri] We're here for peace talks at the United Nations.
Yuri Orlov: So at the same time you'd drop in on your arms dealer?
Yuri Orlov: We began to wonder where you went. You became a hard man to get a hold of, all of a sudden. It is a shame, my son and I were hoping to do some shopping while we are here in New York. These peace talks have made it very hard for us to supply arms, so it requires a man of your rare ingenuity.
Yuri Orlov: I can't help you, I'm sorry.
Andre Baptiste Sr.: [hands Yuri a large diamond stone] I understand, but due to our current situation, we are prepared to be unusually generous.
Andre Baptiste Jr.: You still haven't brought me the gun of Rambo.
Andre Baptiste Sr.: I will see you soon "Lord of War".
Yuri Orlov: [narrating] At 4 1/2 months old, a human fetus has a reptile's tail; a remnant of our evolution. Maybe that's what I couldn't escape. You can fight a lot of enemies and survive. But if you fight your biology, you will always lose.
Yuri Orlov: [narrating] Vitaly broke the cardinal rule of gun running. Never pickup a gun and join the customers.
Yuri Orlov: [narrating] Most people are happy just to get out of jail. I expect to be paid to leave.
Title Card: While private gunrunners continue to thrive, the world's biggest arms suppliers are the U.S., U.K., Russia, France, and China. They are also the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
Yuri Orlov: What?
Vitaly Orlov: We can't do this deal.
Yuri Orlov: Why the fuck not? What's the matter with you?
Vitaly Orlov: [Referring to a nearby refugee camp] If we hand over those guns those people are going to die.
Yuri Orlov: It's not our business.
Vitaly Orlov: They just killed a boy that was as young as Nicky.
Yuri Orlov: It's what we've always known we can't control what they do.
Vitaly Orlov: Today we can.
Yuri Orlov: What do you think they'll do to us if we back out? They'll kill us.
Vitaly Orlov: If we go ahead with the deal what'd you think they'll do to them?
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] I was the best "Merchant Of Death" alive, I didn't own my own plane. I owned a fleet, I was running guns into Liberia, Sierra Leone or the Ivory Coast once a week, most trips I had phony paper work, if the deadline was tight and if I had to cut corners, I had no paper work at all. But I wasn't overly concerned because there was hardly any radar over most of Africa and even fewer people to watch it.
Yuri Orlov: How are you brother?
Vitaly Orlov: I'm still the resident family fuck up.
Yuri Orlov: Someone has to be.
Vitaly Orlov: [Referring to Ava] She knows right? What you do, how you pay for all this? I didn't want to say anything.
Yuri Orlov: She doesn't have to know, she understands she's a survivor like me.
Vitaly Orlov: She maybe a survivor but she's not like you, she really doesn't know how you pay for all this?
Yuri Orlov: We don't talk about it. How many car salesmen talk about their work? How many cigarette salesmen talk about their work? Both their products kill more people every year than mine, at least mime comes with a safety switch. Those guys can leave their work at the office, so can I.
Vitaly Orlov: My God you are good, you almost had me convinced.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] I paid a Monrovian doctor twenty dollars to remove the lead from Vitaly's body, write a bogus death certificate. I should've paid more, because I've smuggled millions of rounds of ammunition and the bullet that lands me in prison was found under my dead brother's rib. Jack Valentine finally got what he wanted.
Yuri Orlov: Stop fucking around. I want to talk to you, you read the newspaper? Everyday there's people shooting each other, you know what I do when I see that? I look to see what guns their using and I ask myself "why not my guns?"
Vitaly Orlov: Are you going to open up a gun shop?
Yuri Orlov: There are probably more of those in America than MacDonald's, even with all the gangsters around here the margins are too low
Vitaly Orlov: You've worked out the margins?
Yuri Orlov: Yeah forget gang wars the real money is in actual wars between countries, I made the first sale, we're already in business
Vitaly Orlov: We?
Yuri Orlov: I need a partner, I need you, we're brothers in arms
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] I always wanted to do something big with my life I just didn't know what. Anyhow, if I was going to go in the gun trade, I was going to aim high.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] Even in hell, an angel sometimes makes an appearance. I've worshiped Ava Fontaine since I was ten years old, of course she didn't know I existed and I was starting to realize why.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] Ava looked at me directly in the eyes, in the same way I've looked in the eyes of thousands of customs officials, government bureaucrats, and law enforcement agents and she lied without flinching because she learned from the best. I can always sense when I'm being tailed. I know what to look for but then I've never been tailed by the woman I love.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] A new breed of gun runner requires a new breed of a cop, he knew he didn't have to guard me, There was nowhere to go or maybe he was hoping the locals would tear me apart but they were too busy with the plane. It's like parking your car in certain neighborhoods in the Bronx, you just don't do it.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] I don't know how much Ava really knew or how much she ignored. She never asked why a guy in the transport business could afford to give her eighteen karat diamond ear rings I guess she didn't really want to hear the answer. She seemed content that I was a good provider and as far she was concerned: loyal
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] For the first twenty odd years of my life Little Odessa was to me what it was to the Q train: the end of the line, oh I did lie about my name, it's not really "Yuri Orlov" there have been a few occasions in the twentieth century where it's been an advantage to be a Jew but in the seventies to escape the Soviet Union our family pretended to be Jewish, little about my life has been "kosher" since, my younger brother was just as lost as me, he just didn't know it yet, my father took his assumed identity to heart, he was more Jewish than most Jews which drove my Catholic mother crazy
Anatoly Orlov: [after she brings him a plate of clams] How many times did I tell you? I can't eat shellfish.
Irina Orlov: You're not Jewish.
Anatoly Orlov: I like being "Jewish", I like the hat, and it reminds us that there is something above us, I like that. I'm going to temple
Irina Orlov: You're not going to the temple, you go to the temple more than the rabbi
Anatoly Orlov: [to Yuri] Don't forget to check the specials at The Palace.
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] Growing up in Little Odessa murder was an everyday part of life Russian mobsters had migrated from the Soviet Union and when they came to America their violence came with them, there was always some gangster getting wacked in my neighborhood but I've never seen it with my own eyes I had this knack of showing up five minutes before something went down or five minutes after but not that day, it hit me it couldn't have hit me harder if I was the one who was shot, you go into the restaurant business because people are always going to have to eat that was the day I realized my destiny was laid to fulfill another basic human need
Yuri Orlov: [Narrating] The next Sabbath I went to temple with my father but it wasn't God I was trying to get close to. My contact at synagogue landed me my first Israeli made Uzi sub machine gun. I did have a natural instinct for smuggling contraband, fortunately back then a video camera was as big as a Bazooka