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The Notorious Mr. Bout (2014)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 17 January 2014 (USA)
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When he was arrested in 2008 in Thailand as a result of a U.S. government sting operation, the career of internationally known arms smuggler Viktor Bout came to a decisive end. Veiled by ... See full summary »
2 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Alla Bout Alla Bout ... Herself
Sergei Bout Sergei Bout ... Himself
Viktor Bout Viktor Bout ... Himself
Wim Brown Wim Brown ... Himself
Albert Dayan Albert Dayan ... Himself
Dirk Draulans Dirk Draulans ... Himself
Timur Edikhanov Timur Edikhanov ... Himself
Slava Grichine Slava Grichine ... Himself
Louis Milione Louis Milione ... Himself
Matt Potter Matt Potter ... Himself
Brian Johnson Thomas Brian Johnson Thomas ... Himself
Gennadi Vengerov ... English voice of Victor Bout (voice)
Robert Zachariasiewicz Robert Zachariasiewicz ... Himself


When he was arrested in 2008 in Thailand as a result of a U.S. government sting operation, the career of internationally known arms smuggler Viktor Bout came to a decisive end. Veiled by the obscurity of post-Soviet Russia, Bout had built an empire of aerial delivery so vast he was called "the merchant of death" and was even the subject of a Hollywood film. In sharp contrast to the widely known, super-villain persona, however, was another Bout: a philosophical businessman who simply enjoyed travel, his work, his family, and filming it all with his video camera. Written by Sundance Film Festival

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Russia | USA


Russian | English

Release Date:

17 January 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vapen, lögner och videoband See more »

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Did You Know?


Viktor Bout's life is also the subject of two books, both read by the makers:'Merchant of Death' (2005) and 'Outlaws Inc' (2011), which also deals with his bust, extradition and trial following US DEA-led sting operation in Bangkok. See more »


References Lord of War (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Intriguing Piece that Nonetheless Seems Uncertain About its Moral Priorities
3 October 2015 | by l_rawjalaurenceSee all my reviews

Jailed for twenty-five years for arms dealing in 2011, Viktor Bout became a media celebrity as the so-called "Merchant of Death," dealing in arms across the globe and thereby contributing to the continuation of bloody civil wars in the Congo, Angola and Rwanda, amongst others. When finally arrested as a result of a deliberately staged "hit" operation, Bout was agreeing to a deal that could have resulted in American civilians being slaughtered.

Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin's documentary profiles Bout, an entrepreneur of quite extraordinary aptitude, who built up his business empire in the wake of the liberalization policies introduced by Boris Yeltsin in Russia during the 1990s. Bout's primary interest, it seems, was in cargo; bringing in hitherto unobtainable commodities into Russia while transporting other goods from place to place. He set up his sphere of operations in Sharjah, where be built up a huge empire. It did not matter what was transported; Bout built his reputation on flying goods expeditiously using his own fleet of airplanes.

As the Nineties progressed, so Bout expanded his operations into some of the trouble-spots of Africa. He had a small airport in the Congo in the midst of civil war operations; and enjoyed good relationships with military leaders all over the continent. The documentary works hard to portray him as a business person interested solely in making money, but it seems that he was largely indifferent to the morality of arms-dealing.

What makes THE NOTORIOUS MR. BOUT most interesting is the amount of home movie footage Bout shot during his business career. Everything, it seemed, was worth filming, from rebuilding his aircraft to the most ordinary domestic scenes such as the birth of his daughter. We get the sense that his real desire was for some form of celebrity; to be remembered for what he did, regardless of why he did it.

In the end Bout achieved his aim as he was deported from Thailand to New York to face a high-profile trial. Through interviews with Bout's wife Alla, as well as some of his closest business associates, the documentary works hard to suggest that Bout was more sinned against than sinning; there are legions of arms-dealers from all countries who are still at large and making huge profits out of other people's suffering. Nonetheless we feel that the prison sentence he received was somehow justified, if only as a means to show what would happen to any arms-dealer, whether great or small, should they be brought to justice.

Slickly filmed with the use of voice artists speaking some of Bout's words, THE NOTORIOUS MR. BOUT is an entertaining piece.

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