561 user 158 critic

Three Kings (1999)

0:31 | Trailer

On Disc

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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.


David O. Russell


John Ridley (story), David O. Russell (screenplay)
3,684 ( 18)
8 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »





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


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


It's good to be 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 »


Official Sites:

Warner Bros




English | Arabic

Release Date:

1 October 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Spoils of War See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »


Box Office


$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

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

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


After a Newsweek reporter interrogated David O. Russell with aggressive questions he didn't want to answer, he decided to invent a story about using a real corpse in the bullet scene. "I said that we used an actual corpse ... and we had only one take using a high-speed camera to get that bullet going right through, and the toughest thing was getting a light in there," he told Creative Screenwriting. "So he writes the thing up, and the next thing, the morticians' association is calling Warner Brothers, and protesting the unethical use of a corpse. It was kind of fun. Harmless." Russell further explained to news outlets that the rumor was false. "The intention (of the shot) was to make it look like a bullet going through a corpse. It would be unethical to use a corpse like that. To achieve the effect, we had to build a prosthesis." See more »


During the early scene where they have entered the village, when Major Gates has ordered the others to hand out the MREs, they hand out the tan packages. These types of MREs did not come into usage for several years. During this time frame, the MREs were a dark brown. See more »


[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

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.
See more »


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

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User Reviews

The Art of trailer misdirection
12 February 2002 | by ProperCharlieSee all my reviews

I've just watched this film two years after umming and arring about going to see it at the flicks when it was released. Two years ago I stayed in with a pizza thinking that George Clooney looking gritty with a load of gold wouldn't be up to much. Then friends started to talk about it quite positively without really saying much about the content. Then I saw it in a buy 2 get 1 free sale at HMV, and now I know that I needn't have to gone through all the bother of digesting a pizza.

I should also add that I'm seeing this after 11/9/2001 and that even with the new perspective world events have cast over films with themes involving the US and the middle East, this film stands up very well. A positive portrayal of Islam, a positive portrayal of the people of Iraq, a sort-of-positive portrayal of the US army abroad, hell even a sympathetic portrayal of a lapdog of Saddam (I'm kind of reminded of Happiness for the sheer taboo-bustingness of this portrayal).

The plot is easy on the mind, the acting is satisfactory, the ending is purest Hollywood and the cinematography is sub-Lawrence of Arabia despite having access to a perfectly adequate desert. What makes this movie stand out is how at ease it is with its subject matter; letting comedy mix with the sort of serious politics that make a lot of people pick their words with great care.

The misleading trailer for this film fits in perfectly with what it's trying to achieve. Pretending to a be a gung-ho, guns and gold, go gettum boys film, it gets those into the cinema who need to hear its message not just those who want to hear. It attempts to slip complex issues through just about all the unthinking jingoism that lingers outside movie theatres on a regular basis and for that I salute it.

Go see.

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