The Three Musketeers (1993 film)

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The Three Musketeers
Promotional film poster by John Alvin.
Directed byStephen Herek
Produced byRoger Birnbaum
Joe Roth
Jon Avnet
Screenplay byDavid Loughery
Based onThe Three Musketeers
by Alexandre Dumas père
Music byMichael Kamen
CinematographyDean Semler
Edited byJohn F. Link
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • November 12, 1993 (1993-11-12)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$30 million
Box office$53.9 million

The Three Musketeers is a 1993 American-Austrian action-adventure comedy film from Walt Disney Pictures, Caravan Pictures, and The Kerner Entertainment Company, directed by Stephen Herek from a screenplay by David Loughery. It stars Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O'Donnell, Oliver Platt, Tim Curry, and Rebecca De Mornay.[2]

The film is loosely based on the novel The Three Musketeers (Les Trois Mousquetaires) by Alexandre Dumas. It recounts the adventures of d'Artagnan on his quest to join the three title characters in becoming a musketeer. However, this adaptation simplifies and alters the story.


In 1625, young-but-skilled fencer d'Artagnan sets off for Paris, France in hopes to follow in his murdered father's footsteps and become a member of the musketeers: the personal guard of the King of France. He is pursued by Gérard and his brothers, accused of blemishing their sister's honor. Unfortunately, Captain Rochefort of the Cardinal's Guards has disbanded the musketeers per the orders of Cardinal Richelieu, the King's Minister, ostensibly to help fight in an impending war with England. Rochefort informs Richelieu that three musketeers refused to relinquish their duties: Athos, Porthos, and Aramis.

In Paris, d’Artagnan “rescues” the queen’s handmaidens from their own bodyguards, and after a scolding, takes a liking to one, Constance. In the city d’Artagnan has a series of physical encounters with the Three Musketeers, though he doesn't know they are musketeers, resulting in a duel with each. At the Ruins, Athos, Porthos and Aramis reveal themselves as musketeers to d'Artagnan's surprise. Before they can duel, a Captain of the Cardinal's Guard arrives to arrest the musketeers with five other cardinal’s guards; although d'Artagnan is not under arrest, he allies with the musketeers during the skirmish. The Musketeers kill four guards, while d’Artagnan accidentally hurls the Captain of the Guard down a huge cliff. Impressed but displeased at d'Artagnan's involvement, the musketeers leave d'Artagnan behind after encouraging him to flee and maintain his innocence. When more of the Cardinal's Guards arrive, d'Artagnan is captured.

d'Artagnan eavesdrops on a conversation between Richelieu and the mysterious Milady de Winter whereupon he tasks her with delivering a signed treaty to England's Duke of Buckingham. d'Artagnan is unable to see her face before being caught by Rochefort; Richelieu orders him executed for refusing to give up the musketeers' location, but he is saved by the musketeers. As they flee, d'Artagnan reveals Richelieu's plans; they decide to find the spy and get the treaty to prove Richelieu's guilt.

During a skirmish, the party splits up; d'Artagnan rides ahead to intercept the spy, but passes out from exhaustion. He wakes in a bed stripped of his weapons and clothes as Milady de Winter tries to seduce him. d'Artagnan speaks freely of his plans, not knowing she is the spy, and she seduces him to kiss her. She tries to kill him, but he convinces her to keep him alive. As her party tries to escape by boat to England, they are confronted by the musketeers. Milady attempts to run away but is stopped by Athos, who calls her Sabine; they had been lovers, but he regretfully betrayed her to the authorities when he found out she was branded for execution. The musketeers retrieve the treaty and Sabine is sentenced to beheading for killing her first husband, Lord de Winter; just before she is executed, Athos begs her forgiveness. Moved, she reveals the Cardinal's plans to assassinate the king at his birthday celebration before throwing herself off a cliff to her death.

Athos, Porthos and Aramis send missives to rally the rest of the musketeers. Richelieu and Rochefort hired a sharpshooter; during the assembly, d'Artagnan makes the sniper's shot go wide, narrowly missing the king. Richelieu deflects blame to the three musketeers in the crowd for the attempted assassination.

As the three face off with the Cardinal's guards, men rush to their sides and reveal themselves as musketeers. The two forces battle as Richelieu takes the king and queen hostage, shooting Aramis in the chest before fleeing to the dungeon with Athos and Porthos in pursuit. d'Artagnan duels Rochefort and is disarmed; as Rochefort gloats about having killed d'Artagnan's father, Constance passes his sword back and d'Artagnan promptly kills Rochefort.

Athos and Porthos arrive just as Richelieu's boat leaves on an underground river. Although his plans are foiled, Richelieu claims he will be back. The boatman then reveals himself as Aramis, his crucifix having stopped the bullet. Aramis attempts to apprehend the Cardinal, but King Louis stops him to punch Richelieu himself, knocking him into the river.

The musketeers are reinstated by the king, and d'Artagnan is offered anything he wants; he chooses to serve Louis as a musketeer. Outside the musketeer headquarters, Gérard and his brothers arrive and challenge d'Artagnan to a duel; Porthos reminds him that musketeers not only protect King and country, but also each other. Gérard and his brothers are then chased off by the entire musketeer division.



Charlie Sheen was originally sought for the role of Porthos before he was cast as Aramis. Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O'Donnell and Oliver Platt all endured six weeks of fencing and riding lessons. Sheen missed this training as he was still filming Hot Shots! Part Deux. Brad Pitt and Stephen Dorff turned down the role of d'Artagnan, which ultimately went to O'Donnell. William Baldwin, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Cary Elwes and Gary Oldman were also sought out by Disney for parts in the film. Winona Ryder was considered for the role of Milady de Winter, but dropped out and Rebecca De Mornay was cast. The Three Musketeers was mostly shot in Perchtoldsdorf, Austria, where De Mornay attended high school and college. A rival TriStar version was also in development at the same time as this film, with Depp and director Jeremiah S. Chechik attached. Ultimately, it fell through. Oliver Platt had also been approached to play Porthos in that version as well.[3]

Filming locations[edit]

Filming locations included Charlestown, Cornwall, UK, and Castle Landsee (Burgenland); Burg Liechtenstein, Maria Enzersdorf, Hinterbrühl, Korneuburg (Lower Austria); and Vienna (particularly Hofburg) in Austria. Some sequences were shot in Cornwall, UK. A small woods called Golitha Falls was used in one sequence when the musketeers are being pursued by guards. The small harbor village of Charlestown is home to the galleon that was used in a night-shoot.[3]


Film critic Leonard Maltin christened this version Young Swords, as it reunited Sheen and Sutherland, both of Young Guns fame. Janet Maslin of The New York Times described the movie as "Conceived frankly as a product, complete with hit-to-be theme song over the closing credits, this adventure film cares less about storytelling than about keeping the Musketeers' feathered hats on straight whenever they go galloping."[4]

The film received a generally negative reception from critics but a more mixed reception from the general public. The Rotten Tomatoes website gives only a 31% rating,[3][5][6][7] but on the IMDb website it holds a more favorable 6.4/10 and on it currently holds a rating of 4.3/5.

Chris O'Donnell was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award as Worst Supporting Actor for his work in the film, but lost to Woody Harrelson for Indecent Proposal.

Box office[edit]

The film grossed $11.5 million for the Friday to Sunday weekend, placing it at number 1 at the box office.[3]


Bryan Adams co-wrote "All for Love" with Robert John "Mutt" Lange and Michael Kamen for the movie's end credits, performing it with Rod Stewart and Sting. As Janet Maslin predicted, the song was a big hit (reaching #1 in North America and several other territories). Kamen also composed the movie's score,[8] conducting the Greater Los Angeles All Star Orchestra.

The soundtrack album was released on compact disc and cassette on November 12, 1993 by Hollywood Records in North America and A&M Records (the label to which both Adams and Sting were signed at the time) elsewhere.

  1. All For Love – Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart & Sting (4:45)
  2. The Cavern Of Cardinal Richelieu (Overture & Passacaille) (2:58)
  3. D'Artagnan (Galliard & Air) (3:19)
  4. Athos, Porthos And Aramis (Courante) (5:24)
  5. Sword Fight (Bransle) (3:20)
  6. King Louis XIII, Queen Anne And Constance/Lady In Waiting (Gavotte) (5:05)
  7. The Cardinal's Coach (Estampie) (4:45)
  8. Cannonballs (Rigadoon) (3:29)
  9. M'Lady DeWinter (Lament) (4:16)
  10. The Fourth Musketeer (Concert Royaux) (5:19)

Comic book adaptation[edit]


  1. ^ "The Three Musketeers". BFI Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
  2. ^ Friedman, Roger D. (1993-11-04). "Just Horsing Around". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
  3. ^ a b c d Fox, David J. (1993-11-15). "Swords Duel Carlito : Box office: The Three Musketeers draws $11.5 million, while Al Pacino's mobster has his "Way" for $9.3 million". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
  4. ^ Maslin, Janet (1993-11-12). "Reviews/ Film; Once More Into the Fray For Athos, Porthos et al". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
  5. ^ "The Three Musketeers".
  6. ^ Wilmington, Michael (1993-11-12). "Saber Prattling". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
  7. ^ "The Three Musketeers". Entertainment Weekly. 1993-11-19. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
  8. ^ Snow, Shauna (1993-10-26). "POP/ROCK Hoping Three's a Hit: Three pop musketeers have..." The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
  9. ^ "Marvel Comics: Disney's The Three Musketeers". Grand Comics Database.
  10. ^ Marvel Comics: Disney's The Three Musketeers at the Comic Book DB

External links[edit]