What Were The Five Best Three Musketeer Movies?
There is a new Three Musketeers film planned for 2011. It will be released in 3D (isn’t everything these days?) and stars Milla Jovovich, Orlando Bloom, Ray Stevenson (HBO’s Rome), and Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds). Personally, I am excited to see it. It is my favorite book of all time and I grew up on tales of the Three Musketeers. It got me to thinking, though. Which is the best of the Three Musketeers movies? What were your favorites? Any movie with the characters in it is fair game. Let’s hear what you have to say! For the record, there have been 84 portrayals of the Three Musketeers on movies and television, to date.
The Three Musketeers: The Queen’s Diamonds (1973)
This was the first Three Musketeers movie I ever saw. I was very familiar with the characters (from the Banana Splits kid’s television show – hey! I was six!) and was excited to see this movie. It is directed by Richard Lester and starred Michael York (D’Artagnan), Oliver Reed (Athos), Richard Chamberline (Aramis), and Frank Finlay (Porthos). The story is based upon Dumas’ novel, but adds its own bit of comedy and intrigue. The actors in this movie were huge! Charlton Heston portrays the evil Richelieu, while Christopher Lee plays his accomplice, the one-eyed Rochefort. Raquel Welch and Faye Dunaway…ahem…round out the cast. This was truly a fun movie with lots of great sword fighting.
The Three Musketeers (1993)
Walt Disney tried their hand at the Three Musketeers in this film. This is probably the movie on the sword fighting trio that most people remember. It stars Chris O’ Donnell as D’Artagnan, with Kiefer Sutherland (Athos), Charlie Sheen (Aramis), and Oliver Platt (Porthos). The adaptation greatly simplifies and alters the story, and takes considerable liberties with French history. Brad Pitt was the original choice for D’Artagnan, but he turned it down. Tim Curry plays probably the best Cardinal Richelieu in any film. He’s taunting, yet patronizing at the same time. O’Donnell plays a great part as the young swashbuckler and Oliver Platt adds great fun to the role with his anachronistic statements (“This sash was a gift to me by the Queen of America“) and his assortment of weapons that he pulls out of no where. As for Charlie Sheen’s character, it seems hard to imagine that he is the pious and God-fearing Aramis.
The Man In The Iron Mask (1998)
The latest of the Musketeer legend, this movie takes place 20 years after the famous story of the Musketeers and is taken (very loosely) from Alexander Dumas’ The Vicomte de Bragelonne. In this book, they take a look at the life of the Man in the Iron Mask – who actually lived! The movie centers on the aging Musketeers and the life of King Louis XIV. This movie is based on a 1939 film of the same name. Once again, the movie made use of known actors (Gabriel Byrne, John Malkovich, Gérard Depardieu, and Jeremy Irons). The movie is very far off from reality and what Dumas wrote. Most notably, the French never saw Louis XIV as a benevolent king. He spent most of his time making war. D’Artagnan, who meets his end in the film, would not actually die until 10 years past this time. Versailles would not be built for another two years. All in all, though, even with its historical inaccuracies, this movie is a wonderful film. As an interesting bit of trivia, take a hard look at the King’s advisors in this film. The one is Hugh Laurie, television’s House!
The Four Musketeers: M’Lady’s Revenge (1974)
This is the sequel to The Three Musketeers: The Queen’s Diamonds (see #1). Once again, director Richard Lester was at the helm. The movie covers the second half of the book The Three Musketeers. Making this into 2 movies from one shoot is what has caused Hollywood to create the Salkind Clause which makes it mandatory for filmmakers to let the actors know ahead of time that they are making more than one film. Obviously, they made money off of two films, but paid the actors for one. In this movie, M’Lady de Winter (Faye Dunaway) and Rochefort (Christopher Lee) go after D’Artagnan (Reed) and his love, Constance (Raquel Welch). There is a lot of the same sword fighting and comedy that we saw in the first portion of this movie. Great flick!
The Three Musketeers (1948)
This movie is possibly the closest rendition to the original book out of all of these films. Gene Kelly plays the starring role of D’Artagnan and did a fabulous job. Gig Young was Porthos and you probably aren’t familiar with the rest of the cast, but they do a fantastic job. What really struck me about this movie is the quality of the villains. Vincent Price portrays Richelieu, who was never addressed as Cardinal in the film so they wouldn’t offend any Catholics (see? Political correctness is NOT a new thing!). The beautiful Lana Turner portrays the Lady de Winter. This film is a lively adaptation of the film and a must see.
If you are interested in seeing any of these films, you can find them right here!