7.1/10
151,347
561 user 158 critic

Three Kings (1999)

Trailer
0:31 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

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)
Reviews
Popularity
3,702 ( 815)
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 ... 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:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Warner Bros

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:

$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,847,636, 3 October 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$60,652,036

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$107,752,036
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One scene tracks a hypothetical bullet entering Mark Wahlberg, which came about from David O. Russell asking a doctor friend about what a bullet does to the body. "I said, 'What's the weirdest wound?' and he described that particular wound (used in the movie). You can get a wound that doesn't kill you. A bullet goes through your lung and you can walk around, but the air is leaking out of your lung every time you breathe, so your own breathing can kill you, because your own breathing will crush your organs. It will turn into a balloon in there, and they have to puncture it to let the air out. So he told me those two things, and I said, 'God, that's never been in a movie. I'd like to do that.'" See more »

Goofs

When our heroes lead the refugees to the Iranian border, Barlow appears both within the group as they walk, and behind it, sitting in the Humvee. 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!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

The Australian theatrical release omits a brief close up of a woman being shot in the head by one of Saddam's soldiers. This was done to avoid an R rating. This scene cut from the Australian release in order to obtain an MA rating for theatrical release were restored for the VHS and DVD releases, thus restoring the original R rating. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.88 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Zurna-Tabl-Naqqare
Performed by Iraqi Traditional Group
Courtesy of King Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Incredibly anti-war for a mainstream American film
27 July 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

In the aftermath of Desert Storm a group of soldiers find a secret map showing a bunker containing Kuwaiti gold. When they begin to go for the gold they find little resistance from an Iraqi army more concerned with killing civilians than protecting gold. The uprising had started when the US army had encouraged civilians to rebel but now will not support them.

When I first saw the trailer for this I knew nothing about it – from the way it was marketed I had assumed it was going to be a modern day `Kelly's Heroes' with bright comedy and good action scenes. On first viewing I was disappointed but interested. On second viewing I now see what this film was about and how badly marketed it had been. The plot is no comedy but is really an extreme anti-war film that condemns America's approach to the Gulf War.

When our characters go after the goal they go in a gung-ho manner, seeking only riches and not interested in the plight of the people. This is how America went in – not to protect the people but because of the impact the invasion was having on oil prices and reserves. The anti-war message is also hammered home in the gross close-up shots of how a bullet damages a body.

It's only in the final half hour that the film goes a little wrong – looking for an ending that isn't depressing in a subject that really can't have a `happy' ending and please American audiences. It has other weaknesses – some of the scenes are off subject , meaningless or just don't work. However for the majority this is a surprisingly good film that makes points that aren't seen in Hollywood films (and if this whole flag waving thing continues much longer, we won't see a counter opinion for quite a while).

The cast are good and deserve praise for choosing this film. Clooney and Wahlberg both add a large box office draw while for Jonze this made up a great summer of exposure. Ice Cube again shows that not all rappers have to do rubbish hip hop comedies to get into movies.

Overall this was betrayed by it's own marketing department and many people may not have liked it for that reason. However this is an intelligent anti-war film that has flaws but should be given respect for it's honesty and bravery.


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