[[quoteright:303:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the-man-in-the-iron-mask-poster-c10124598_9937.jpeg]]

'''''The Man in the Iron Mask''''' is a 1998 film adaptation of ''[[Literature/TheThreeMusketeers The Vicomte De Bragelonne]]'' (1847-1850) by Creator/AlexandreDumas. The original serial novel was a sequel to ''Literature/TheThreeMusketeers''. The film was the first directed by Creator/RandallWallace, previously known for writing ''Film/{{Braveheart}}''. The main stars were Creator/LeonardoDiCaprio, Creator/JeremyIrons, JohnMalkovich, Creator/GabrielByrne, Creator/GerardDepardieu and Anne Parillaud.

The year is 1662. Gone are Cardinal Richelieu (died 1642) and Louis XIII of France (died 1643). France is ruled by UsefulNotes/LouisXIV ([=DiCaprio=]), son of his predecessor. He is a militarist who is already bankrupting the country with unpopular wars. Privately, Louis follows a hedonistic lifestyle and keeps many mistresses. Meanwhile, the peasants of Paris are starving and a food riot begins. Louis XIV commands one of his advisors to send rotten food to the rioters. The riot stops temporarily, the people get sick and the advisor is executed for "his" crime.

So, what has happened to the Musketeers? Aramis (Irons), Athos (Malkovich) and Porthos (Depardieu) have retired from service. Aramis is now a Jesuit priest. Porthos spends much of his free time frequenting brothels he owns, though his impotence causes him great suffering. Athos has become a single father. His son Raoul (PeterSarsgaard) currently serves in the French Army. Only D'Artagnan (Byrne) is still in the service of the King. Enraged by receiving rotten food, starving people march to the gates of Louis' palace, and the guards prepare to fire. D'Artagnan prevents a massacre from occurring, winning over the crowd with his popularity and promise to speak with Louis over the matter. He also thwarts an assassination attempt on Louis by a man who exhorts "feed your people." However things change abruptly. Raoul is about to marry Christine (Judith Godreche), a woman who Louis wants to add to his mistresses, so Louis gets Raoul killed in a [[TheUriahGambit Uriah Gambit]], leaving Louis free to seduce Christine. Louis also orders the assassination of whoever is the secret leader of the French Jesuits, which happens to be Aramis. Now both Aramis and Athos have reasons to hate Louis. They recruit Porthos in a plot against Louis.

Aramis is aware that Louis has a twin brother. Said brother Philippe ([=DiCaprio=] again) is the titular ManInTheIronMask, kept prisoner to prevent him from claiming the throne. He is gentler and more compassionate than Louis. Their plot involves releasing Philippe and having him impersonate Louis, effectively replacing the King with a new one. They will have to face D'Artagnan, still loyal to Louis. They will also have to learn a secret Anne of Austria (Parillaud), widow of Louis XIII and mother of the boys, has kept to herself.
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!!This film provides examples of:

* AluminumChristmasTrees: Many viewers probably laughed at the "anachronistic" fountains on the grounds of the French royal palace. Truth is, not only were they real, but they're also OlderThanTheyThink: the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhambra Alhambra]] in Granada, Spain, (constructed in the 14th century) has fountains powered not by electricity, but by gravity, with an aqueduct that brings water from the uphill Darro river.
** There was an actual Man in the Iron Mask imprisoned in the Bastille. His identity is very much speculated on.
* AnachronismStew: Part of the action takes place in the Palace of Versailles. While the palace construction did start in 1661, the initial building phase finished in 1664. That means that it is way too early for the King to move in.
** Louis XIV's chamber has a hanging portrait... of Louis XV.
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: The ending narration says that Louis XIV brought his country and his subjects prosperity and peace. In real life, Louis spent most of his reign waging war, never changing his ways.
** It makes more sense that this should be understood as an alternative history/fairytale, not a mistake per se. A sort of "if our dear heroes had been there, they could have saved the other prince and we would have known peace and prosperity!"
** At no point is it made clear that the Jesuits are a religious order of priests and brothers. Besides Aramis, the other Jesuits in the film don't wear clerical clothing, so it makes them look like a cabal akin to the Assassins or Templars in ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'' - especially since a Jesuit (or suspected Jesuit) in disguise tries to kill Louis.
* AssShove: Porthos shoves a pistol up the behind of a belligerent brothel patron.
* BadassBoast: "I wear the mask. The mask does not wear me."
** Also:
--> '''Porthos:''' I am Porthos! I defy the king!
* BecomingTheMask: After the coup, Philippe reigns under Louis' identity for the rest of his life.
* BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy: [[spoiler: Louis XIV had a twin brother that was imprisoned from birth and became the ([[AluminiumChristmasTrees historical]]) Man in the Iron Mask. He was then abducted and substitued with this brother by the Musketeers. Also, D'Artagnan (''another'' historical figure) was the real father of both.]]
* BriarPatching: Philippe does some impromptu and rather inspired Briar Patching after he's been recaptured, begging his JerkAss brother to kill him rather than put him back in prison. With predictable results. When Athos, Porthos and Aramis arrive to rescue Philippe, he's ready and waiting for them rather than being the emotional wreck they were expecting. When asked, he just reminds them that "I wear the mask, it does not wear me."
** Appropriately Louis ''does'' have a complete [[VillainousBreakdown mental breakdown]] after ''he'' is forced to wear the mask.
* BungledSuicide: At some point, Porthos gets depressed and believes he has nothing to go on living for. He kisses the tavern girls goodbye and goes into the barn to hang himself. Naked. We hear a big thud, and Porthos swearing. Aramis knew Porthos would try to commit suicide and sawed through the beam.
** Then the barn roof collapses on top of him.
* ButtMonkey: Pierre, Louis' chief adviser. [[spoiler: At least until about halfway through the film.]]
* TheCavalierYears: Obviously.
* TheCoup: The plot centers around a group of musketeers who want to substitute their tyrannical king Louis XIV with his more compassionate twin brother Phillippe, who was kept prisoner to prevent him from taking the throne. They break him out of prison to perform a Coup.
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: Louis. Not only does he correctly predict [[spoiler:D'Artagnan's coming betrayal, he also predicts the escape method D'Artagnan will provide his friends and cuts him off with a large force of musketeers.]]
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler: Christine, when she finds out about Louis' UriahGambit.]]
* FakeKing: Philippe.
* FamedInStory: The elder Musketeers.
* FateWorseThanDeath: Philippe begs Louis to kill him rather than sending him back to prison. [[spoiler:Because he knows that this is the only way the cruel Louis will consider leaving him alive.]]
* HappilyFailedSuicide: After Athos prevents his suicide attempt, Porthos recovers his spirit and decides to live after all.
* HiddenBackupPrince: Philippe.
* HiredToHuntYourself: The Jesuits are actively opposing the king, so he decides to put a man in charge of finding their father general and killing him. Of course, he chooses one of his close allies: Aramis, who turns out to be the Jesuit father general.
* IfYouKillHimYouWillBeJustLikeHim: Or rather, If You Imprison Him In An Iron Mask For The Rest Of His Life, You Will Be Just Like Him. Phillipe ultimately pardons Louis and allows him to retire to the country in comfortable exile, utterly proving himself the better man.
* ImADoctorNotAPlaceholder
--> '''Aramis:''' I'm a genius, not an engineer! (after the aforementioned beam sawing and barn collapsing)
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] because the firing squad were Musketeers and we see them deliberately missing. They are firing at not only their on captain, but probably the most famous men in all France besides the king himself. Leading directly too...
* LivingLegend: All of them, but specially D'Artagnan: "The corridor nullifies our numbers, and nobody has the stomach to fight the captain!"
* LockedInTheDungeon: Philippe, until the Musketeers rescue him.
* LukeIAmYourFather: [[spoiler:D'Artagnan is the real father of Louis and Philippe]].
* MasqueradeBall: Figures prominently in the attempt to replace Louis with Philippe. With the added bonus that the hidden twin had spent his entire life wearing a heavy iron mask, which he flashes to the king from under the decorative gold one to freak him out, along with the Three Musketeers.
** It works.
* MeaninglessMeaningfulWords: In reply to a perfectly sensible lament of Queen Anne, Aramis came out with a memorable bit of important-sounding nonsense.
-->'''Anne:''' "I have raised a son who destroys lives instead of saving them, and I have failed to save a son who died within an iron mask.\\
'''Aramis:''' "No! That mask was Louis' creation. Now we have a chance to make a miracle. To strip all masks away forever."
** Considering the extent of his plan is to replace the nasty-creep brother on the throne with his nice-guy brother, that last statement makes absolutely no sense.
* MelancholyMoon: Shortly after his first escape from prison, Philippe is unable to sleep and spends time gazing at the [[WeirdMoon full moon]]. Not only is he overcome with the beauty of the moon he had been unable to fully witness while in prison, but he's also burdened by the sheer weight of responsibility and expectations demanded of him by his rescuers.
* MyMasterRightOrWrong: D'Artagnan is blindly loyal to Louis, despite his evil and capricious nature, because [[spoiler:he is Louis' father]]. Eventually he comes around to the other musketeers' viewpoint that he must go, when he learns that [[spoiler:their look-alike for the king is Louis' twin brother. Thus another son of his]].
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: The character of "Christine" is based on a historical figure: Louise de La Vallière (1644-1710), the chief mistress of Louis XIV of France from 1661 to 1667. The character is clearly identified in the novel but renamed in the film. Probably, the scriptwriters thought that having a relationship between characters named Louis and Louise would be [[ViewersAreMorons too confusing for the viewers]]. Which ended up giving the film a love triangle between [[ThePhantomOfTheOpera wide-eyed Christine, all-around good guy Raoul and a villainous third party (who ends up) wearing a mask.]]
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: Some characters sport JustAStupidAccent with more or less success, while Leonardo [=DiCaprio=] doesn't seem to even try while playing the ''King of France''. Gerard Depardieu's actual French accent puts the lie to everyone else, though. As do Anne Parillaud and Judith Godreche's.
* OutOfCharacterAlert / SpottingTheThread: What first tips off D'Artagnan that Phillipe has replaced Louis is when Phillipe tries to help up a noblewoman who tripped in front of him, while the real Louise would have probably just laughed at her.
* PapaWolf: Athos, leading to his attempted RoaringRampageOfRevenge.
** [[spoiler: D'Artagnan]]
--> [[spoiler: '''D'Artagnan:''' Even if I could give up my king, I can not give up my son.]]
* PersonWithTheClothing
* PolarOppositeTwins: Louis is extremely cruel, uncaring, and selfish, while Philippe is a much nicer person and even pardons Louis at the end of the film.
* RetiredBadassRoundup: Getting the Three Musketeers back together.
* SanctuaryOfSolitude: Anne of Austria does this.
* ShoutOut: The young lovers Raoul and Christine share the names of the main characters of ''ThePhantomOfTheOpera'', though Christine was named Louise in the novel.
* StillWearingTheOldColors: At the climax, the musketeers don their old uniforms to demonstrate loyalty to a higher, older, and more principled calling [[spoiler: as they rise in rebellion to depose the king and replace him with his twin brother.]]
* {{Swashbuckler}}: With the Musketeers involved, this was hardly a surprise.
* TrueCompanions[=/=]BandOfBrothers: The Three Musketeers, of course. The "Fourth Musketeer" D'Artagnan is opposed to them out of loyalty to the King, but sides with them at the end. ''All for one, one for all!''
** Notably, Porthos doesn't have a personal grievance with Louis (Aramis is the Jesuit head who Louis wants dead, and Athos lost his son because of Louis) but he goes along with their plot because of their fellowship and for the greater good (and because he's bored out of his fucking mind and wants to experience adventure again).
* ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks: D'Artagnan uses this move.
* UriahGambit: King Louis XIV, upon finding out that one of the women he desires is already engaged to a soldier, sends him to the front lines to die in battle. Though the plan succeeds, it also backfires since it gains Louis the enmity of the soldier's father, one of the legendary Three Musketeers. (And he doesn't get what he wanted, either, because [[spoiler:the woman he planned to seduce figures out his plot and decides to commit suicide rather than live with him]].)
* VillainousBreakdown: Louis has a protracted one during the film's second and third acts; he leaves the ball when he sees the iron mask in the crowd, is shouting at and shoving everyone who comes close to him (including his mother) after the Musketeers' failed attempt to depose him, actually ''goes to the battle himself'' when the heroes are cornered in the Bastille, and devolves into incoherent screaming when he's forced into the iron mask and carried off to prison.
* WeirdMoon: Just after he's been freed from the prison for the first time, Philippe can't sleep and ends up at the window gazing at the full moon that he had struggled so hard to see while in prison. The moon is ''huge''. Doubles as a MelancholyMoon given the poignancy of the emotions in the scene.

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