Three Kings

October 1st, 1999


Three Kings

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Still of Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube in Three KingsStill of George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube and Spike Jonze in Three KingsRose McGowan at event of Three KingsStill of George Clooney in Three KingsStill of George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube in Three KingsStill of Mark Wahlberg in Three Kings

In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, 4 soldiers set out to steal gold that was stolen from Kuwait, but they discover people who desperately need their help.

Release Year: 1999

Rating: 7.2/10 (84,821 voted)

Critic's Score: 82/100

Director: David O. Russell

Stars: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube

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.

Writers: John Ridley, David O. Russell

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 - Amir's Wife

Taglines: They're deserters, rebels and thieves but in the nicest way


Official Website: Warner Bros |

Release Date: 1 October 1999

Filming Locations: Arizona, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $48,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $15,847,636 (USA) (3 October 1999) (2942 Screens)

Gross: $60,652,036 (USA) (13 February 2000)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Anthony Wiethoff was originally cast for the part of Cut Troy's Cuff Soldier but left the set due to disagreements with director David O. Russell's scenes of torture of US soldiers.

Revealing mistakes: In the scene when Chief and Conrad are arguing about which CD to listen to in a car, Chief puts a disc in which starts playing "easy listening classics". Conrad subsequently ejects it. The whole sequence takes place way to quickly for a typical CD player: the CD both starts playing too quickly and is ejected too quickly as well.

[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!

User Review

overlooked gem shows what a modern war really is

Rating: 9/10

It's hard to really adequately describe this movie. Let me try.

For starters, in spite of the advertisements, it's not merely a remake of "Kelly's Heroes". Yes, we are in a postwar situation, where a bunch of Americans are trying to "recover" gold stolen by the enemy, but that's the end of the similarities.

"Three Kings" does an excellent job of showing just how gonzo modern warfare has become. You've got unemployed reservists going to the Middle East for kicks fighting Saddam, who uses gas attacks, electric shock torture and other atrocities to fight the rebels. Thrown in the mix are a U.S.-educated Iraqi whose businesses were destroyed by the Americans, a bunch of rebels and refugees living in bunkers, a CNN-type correspondent facing the threat of younger reporters, and Mark Wahlberg's character finding a cell phone in the Iraqi bunker and using it to call his wife in the U.S.

The movie is extremely funny at times, graphically violent at times, but always on target. It provides a lot of insight into how non-Americans view the U.S. I cannot think of another major movie which showed people in a third-world country as modern people without patronizing. Even the soldiers shooting at our heros, gassing the refugees, and torturing Mark Wahlberg's character are shown as human beings.

Somehow this movie got lost last year amongst all the hype for "American Beauty". "Three Kings" looks to have much more staying power. George Clooney continues to shine in yet another under-appreciated performance. For somebody with a Hollywood legacy, he really seems to have pushed some of the wrong buttons in Hollywood. I cannot think of any other explanation for why he has yet to achieve the acclaim his performances deserve.


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