7.1/10
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Three Kings (1999)

Trailer
0:27 | Trailer
In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, four soldiers set out to steal gold that was stolen from Kuwait, but they discover people who desperately need their help.

Director:

David O. Russell

Writers:

John Ridley (story), David O. Russell (screenplay)
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Popularity
3,291 ( 341)
8 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Clooney ... Archie Gates
Mark Wahlberg ... Troy Barlow
Ice Cube ... Chief Elgin
Spike Jonze ... Conrad Vig
Cliff Curtis ... Amir Abdulah
Nora Dunn ... Adriana Cruz
Jamie Kennedy ... Walter Wogaman
Saïd Taghmaoui ... Captain Said (as Said Taghmaoui)
Mykelti Williamson ... Colonel Horn
Holt McCallany ... Captain Van Meter
Judy Greer ... Cathy Daitch
Christopher Lohr Christopher Lohr ... Teebaux
Jon Sklaroff ... Paco
Liz Stauber ... Debbie Barlow, Troy's Wife
Marsha Horan Marsha Horan ... Amir's Wife
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

They're deserters, rebels and thieves. But in the nicest possible way. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene where milk is dumped in the village was shot twice, because the extras had not been told to start drinking the "milk" after it was dumped, so the set had to be cleaned up and re-shot. See more »

Goofs

When Troy is being tortured he is hit in the face with a clipboard. You can see that the clipboard bends in an arc, as if made of rubber. You can see it more clearly during the second strike, if you watch it in slow-motion. See more »

Quotes

[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!
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Alternate Versions

DVD version includes four deleted scenes:
  • Giving birth: After Troy looks down at the Iraqi soldier he has just shot, we see a flash back to his daughter being born. There is also more footage of the soldiers having their pictures taken with the dead Iraqi soldier.
  • Bunny: During the party at the start of the film, mail is given out. Troy receives photos of his wife and daughter. while Conrad recieves a handgun (which he uses throughout the film), inside a chocolate rabbit.
  • Decoy: After Conrad tells the hairdressing iraqis that "Troy gave me this haircut", Archie sees a stationary verhicle and some sandbags. Conrad accidently shoots at the vehicle, which then rapidly deflates.
  • Snowglobes: After the battle to rescue Troy comes a scene where Archie gathers up loads of snowglobes, which depict the nativity at a petrol station! They then drain these, (a close up of a hand holding the three kings that were within the snowglobes), and drink the water inside.
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Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.21 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Outside 2B
from Unstrung Heroes (1995)
Written by Thomas Newman
Courtesy of Hollywood Records, Inc.
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User Reviews

 
Funny, shocking, thought provoking and honest.
25 March 2000 | by Gem-22See all my reviews

A film for anyone who ever relishes the triumphal note of western war films, who gets carried away by the moral high of being on the winning side. For those who saw the good in the Gulf War, saw how many people America helped and was proud to live in the Western world.

Three Kings is an anti-war film. Its opening scenes are not the declaration of war, but soldiers celebrating its end. Then coming to grips with its consequences.

Of course, Saddam Hussein is depicted in the customary role of the villain, but then so is George Bush whose abandonment of the Iraqi people he had called to rise against Saddam is illustrated with examples of human suffering - emotional as well as physical.

Don't get the idea that this is a bleak and 'worthy' film, in many ways it is, but it does it with such style and black humour - that forces you to laugh even while being disgusted or perturbed - that it is eminently watchable. But still edgy, I was pleased to see one couple walk out (though they might just have gone to the toilet, who knows, I was absorbed by the film and didn't pay enough attention).

Director, David O Russell, ensures that the film never gets carried away with action scenes - bullets have consequences (good and bad) even when fired by an all-American soldier. There is some stunning cinematography. Particularly shocking to me was when Iraqi soldiers fire at a tanker. Nothing's more shocking than the unexpected and dramatically understated (I didn't see the trailer, though I believe that scene was actually in it).

There are some interesting cinematic devices in the film. The next time that sepsis comes into conversation I'm sure anyone who has seen the film will call to mind scenes of a bullet travelling through the body. I've seen less violent films than some people, but have been swept away by their power many times - become blasé about bullets and cinematic death. I've seen it all too often before to care about nameless victims that stand in the way of the power, wit, and understanding of the hard-bitten, long-serving soldier, wielding a justice in the shape of a gun.

Russell claimed to make every bullet count in the film, and in one memorably calm scene of confusion and crossfire, he certainly does. The style of the film however doesn't detract from its content. Three Kings doesn't have pretensions of addressing difficult issues by showing the manly, serious face of George Clooney looking a little concerned after killing a few dozen of the enemy. It has intelligent dialogue and moving scenes of confrontation between the opposing ideologies of the Americans and their 'allies' and 'enemies' alike.

Not the best date movie in the world. Funny, shocking, thought provoking and honest, 8.5/10.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

WarnerBros.com

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Arabic

Release Date:

1 October 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Spoils of War See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$75,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,847,636, 3 October 1999

Gross USA:

$60,652,036

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$107,752,036
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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