Film / The Three Musketeers (1993)

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The Three Musketeers is a 1993 film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and very loosely based on the novel The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. It stars Chris O'Donnell as D'Artagnan, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen and Oliver Platt as the three Musketeers, Tim Curry as the villainous Cardinal Richelieu, and Rebecca De Mornay as Milady de Winter.

D'Artagnan is on his quest to becoming a Musketeer. During his quest he joins the three titular Musketeers in their own quest to stop a plot against the young King. This adaptation greatly simplifies and alters the story.

The relationship between Athos and Anti-Villain Milady de Winter is altered to make the two characters more sympathetic.


This film provides examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Does it have Athos in it? Are Aramis and Porthos absent? Then this is probably happening.
  • Adapted Out: Unlike the book, the Duke of Buckingham is mentioned, but doesn't appear in the film.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Milady's real name is changed from Anne to Sabine. Though in the book "Anne" was probably also an alias. Also, the Queen of France is named Anne in the movie, so it saves on confusion.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Milady is made to be far more sympathetic than her book counterpart. One of her last deeds is to tell Athos of the Cardinal's plan to assassinate the king.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • The Duke of Buckingham, while still technically an enemy of France, is an honorable man in the original book.
    • Richelieu is far more villainous than the Well-Intentioned Extremist Anti-Villain he was in the book, not to mention history.
    • Rochefort, The Dragon, gets no major development, and is killed off at the end of the film. This is despite his starting off as a Worthy Opponent who experiences Defeat Means Friendship. He is killed in the second novel by D'Artagnan, but on accident, with some mourning afterwards.
    • Inverted with Milady, who was more villainous and less sympathetic than she is in the movie. She helps the Musketeers by giving them the information they need to save the king.
  • Ancestral Weapon: D'Artagnan's sword belonged to his father. Part of his quest is getting it back from Rochefort.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: The death of Milady De Winter is presented rather tragically, as the character throws themselves down a cliff rather than face an executioner.
  • Attack on One Is an Attack on All: Girard ends up being chased by the entire musketeer force at the end of the film when he threatens D'Artagnan.
  • Award-Bait Song: "All For Love", sung by Rod Stewart, Sting and Bryan Adams, who co-wrote it.
  • Badass Creed: "All for one and one for all!"
    • Rochefort repeats it sarcastically when announcing the corp is being disolved. The Cardinal accuses him later of trying to start a riot.
  • Band of Brothers: Their Badass Creed is more than just a creed. It's their very lives.
  • Benevolent Boss: King Louis. "These men are not just my personal guards, they are my friends!"
  • Berserk Button: Do not diss D'Artagnan's father. Even Gerard, a Harmless Villain, nearly got himself killed when he called D'Artagnan's father a "disgrace."
    • If you value your life, do not question the Musketeers' loyalty to the King in front of Athos. As well, do not make light of a man's duty to God, or abuse your station as a Man of the Cloth, in front of Aramis. As well, Porthos really doesn't like it when you make light of his fame. Granted, we only get the slightest hint that he actually is as famous as he claims, but he nonetheless becomes very murderous the second you accuse him of lying about any of it.
      • Richelieu doesn't take kindly to people or events that go against his plans.
  • Beta Couple: In an odd way, the king and queen act as this when compared to her lady-in-waiting Constance and D'Artagnan.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Milady throws herself off a cliff after giving the Musketeers the info they need to save the king. Had the character stayed around, they were about to get their head cut off.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: Porthos encounters a Ninja, who pulls out his katana, then pulls it apart into two swords, and proceeds to show off his sword shuffling skills before attacking. Porthos, of course, mocks his show and cuts a rope holding a grille in place, sending the Ninja below deck.
  • Big Fun: Porthos is the life of any party and (he claims) quite successful with the ladies.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite countless sword slashes, stab wounds, and even a character kicked into the spikes of an iron maiden, there's not a single drop of blood.
  • Bond One-Liner: Villain example at the start of the movie: After Rochefort executes a thief under Cardinal Richelieu's orders (after promising forgiveness to him "in the name of God"), Richelieu chillingly says "One less mouth to feed."
  • Book Safe: Aramis (who trained to be a priest) at one point pulls a pistol out of a hollowed-out Bible and shoots one of the Cardinal's guards with it.
  • Brick Joke:
    • "The axe was a gift to me from the Czarina of Tokyo."
    • Also from Porthos: "Told you I was famous."
  • Burning the Flag: As the Musketeer corps is disbanded and the Cardinal's guards ask what to do with the Musketeer flag, Rochefort tells his men to burn it.
  • Camp Gay: Girard, who even Screams Like a Little Girl.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Cardinal Richelieu's men give chase after the Musketeers hijack the Cardinal's coach:
    Porthos(discovering a chest containing wine and gold coins in the back seat): Ah ha! The Cardinal's sacred snack chamber.
    Aramis: And what have we here? Is he a man of God or a man of gold?
    Porthos: Champagne?
    Athos: We're in the middle of a chase, Porthos.
    Porthos: You're right. Something red. For a chase, the Cardinal recommends his excellent '24 Cabernet. (to D'Artagnan) You can't have any, you're too young.
    (after escaping the Cardinal's men)
    Porthos: The picnic was delicious, the champagne was excellent, remind me to send the Cardinal a note.
    (to Aramis after a particularly hard turn, spilling wine on his tunic)
    Porthos: That's it. Next time, you drive.
  • The Cavalry: The other Musketeers in the final act.
  • Chased Off into the Sunset: The film ends with D'Artagnan and all the musketeers chasing off Girard and his men. This is also a Book Ends as D'Artagnan's introduction showed him being chased by Girard and his men.
  • Chastity Dagger: This is a favorite tactic of Milady De Winter.
  • The Chessmaster: Cardinal Richelieu, of course.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: The king is portrayed this way (as well as something of a Wide-Eyed Idealist), easily manipulated by Richelieu because of his piety and having to turn to his equally young though much more savvy queen for assistance in navigating the murky political waters of the court. There are indications he isn't quite as naive as he seems and is aware of the manipulations going on, but he still seems fairly helpless and uncertain how to escape them and become an assertive king until he is bolstered by the queen's advice (and inspired by the examples of the Musketeers and D'Artagnan).
  • Clean Cut: When Richelieu dispatches Rochefort to take care of the Three Musketeers, Rochefort slashes his sword across the top of a candelabra. The candles are undisturbed until, one by one, Rochefort nudges the cleanly-severed tops of the candles off, each accompanied by the names of his enemies.
  • Crash-Into Hello: This is how d'Artagnan first meets Porthos and Aramis, resulting in him being challenged to two duels.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Rochefort is killed in a climatic duel with d'Artagnan. In the original book he survives to be fought and killed in one of the sequels.
    • D'Artagnan's father is alive in the book.
  • Deathbed Confession: Milady tells Athos what she knows about the assassination plot against the King moments before her execution. While the information she shared was not about herself, it was symbolic in her bringing her soul clean and becoming the woman she was when married to Athos.
  • Demoted to Extra: Constance has hardly any screentime, and basically only exists to throw D'Artagnan his sword at the end.
  • Disney Villain Death:
    • D'Artagnan fights one of the Cardinal's men on top of some ruins, and knocks him off to his death.
    • Lady De Winter, the femme fatale, chooses to fling herself off a cliff rather than suffer a beheading.
    • Later in the film D'Artganan surprises the King's assassin on the palace roof, and the fight ends with the assassin getting a crossbow bolt to the heart and falling to the ground below.
    • Averted with Rochefort's death; he is clearly stabbed and dies in full view of the audience.
  • The Dragon: Rochefort to Richelieu.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • D'Artagnan comes to Paris to join the Musketeers...right as they are being disbanded by order of Richelieu.
    • D'Artagnan, after overhearing of the assassination plot with the Duke of Buckingham, rushes off to warn the other Musketeers and the King, only to collapse from exhaustion on the road and is rescued by Milady de Winter. He then tells her everything he overheard to obtain her help in stopping the horrible scheme...completely unaware, thanks to the hooded cloak the courier had worn when meeting with Richelieu, that she was the courier.
  • The Dreaded: Played for laughs when some Mooks run into Porthos.
    Mook: It's Porthos the Pirate!
    (A few Mooks scream and run for it)
    D'Artagnan: Pirate?
    Porthos: I told you I was famous.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Athos does this.
  • Drunk Driver: Defied (it is a Disney movie). When Athos takes a bottle of '24 Cabernet, he makes a point to hand the reigns to D'Artagnan before he starts drinking.
  • Duel to the Death: Between D'Artagnan and Rochefort.
  • Establishing Character Moment: For each of the Musketeers.
    • D'Artagnan is introduced duelling the brother of one of his, er, "romantic conquests" and loses his temper when the man insults his father.
    • Athos is introduced in the former Musketeer headquarters, showing that he's both cynical and broody and affected by his past.
    • Porthos is introduced surrounded by adoring fans, partying and being a clown.
    • Aramis is introduced seducing his married theology student.
  • Excuse Me, Coming Through!: Subverted when D'Artagnan throws the Cardinal's gold off his coach to the crowd so the crowd blocks the Cardinal's men that are chasing them.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Rochefort wears one, because he lost an eye fighting D'Artagnan's father.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Done with Porthos riding the chandelier down:
    [after dropping a group of the Cardinal's guards with a chandelier]
    Porthos: Did I miss anyone?
    Aramis: Congratulations, Porthos. You brought down the house.
    Porthos: Oh, drat. I was trying to hit Rochefort.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The huge, ugly guard in the dungeons. Porthos manages to simultaneously impale and crush the guy using some kind of twisted execution device that consists of two walls fitted with iron spikes. This is a Disney film, right? We even see Blood from the Mouth dribble down his lips, as though the audience might not be sure he's actually dead after being skewered in multiple places by deadly, deadly spikes.
  • Fanservice: The D'Artagnan/DeWinter scene is shot with the emphasis on Chris O'Donnell's shirtless chest for the girls/moms and Rebecca DeMornay's cleavage for the boys/dads.
  • Fatal Attraction: The (double) crux of the backstory - Athos married the former Lady de Winter, only to turn her over to the authorities when realizing she'd been condemned for murder - then realizing she probably HAD been innocent - but was, by the time he met her again, guilty of far worse things. And right after they sorted things out, she DIED. On purpose. To avoid being executed.
  • Flynning: Pretty much every fight, but Platt and Wincott above all others.
  • Freudian Threat: When Cardinal Richelieu starts making advances on Lady DeWinter she pulls a knife and holds it to his crotch. Richelieu warns that he can have her executed with "a snap of [his] fingers" to which she replies, "And with a flick of my wrist I could change your religion"; he laughs and backs off.
  • Giant Mook: The deformed guard whom Porthos fights in the dungeons when pursuing the fleeing Richelieu.
  • Give Me a Sword: How D'Artagnan wins his fight against Rochefort, when Constance slides it to him.
  • Global Ignorance: Porthos claims certain items were gifts from non-existent royalty (sash from the "Queen of America", an axe from the "Czarina of Tokyo"....). It's implied that he knows they don't exist, but is just trying to make himself seem more important.
  • Graceful Loser: Oddly enough, Rochefort accepts his death, admitting that he was wrong about D'Artagnan not being musketeer material.
  • Greed: Cardinal Richelieu.
    All for one... and more for me!
  • I Like Those Odds: The Musketeers comment amongst themselves that five soldiers against the three of them is hardly fair. D'Artagnan, Completely Missing the Point, tries to point out that there's four of them.
    Porthos: Five of them, three of us. hardly seems fair.
    Aramis: Maybe we should give them a chance to surrender.
  • In-Name-Only: Aside from the character names, the film has virtually nothing in common with the book, going so far as to have an entirely different plot.
  • Intimidation Demonstration: Pothos runs into a Japanese mook who twirls his sword around while shouting a Kiai. Unimpressed, Pothos mockingly imitates him and then drops him down a Trap Door.
  • Ironic Echo: Richelieu, during one of his more smarmy scenes, echoes (but twists) the Musketeers' Badass Creed: "All for one...and more for me!" Used in many a trailer.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Rochefort killed D'Artagnan's father.
  • I Want Them Alive: Averted with Cardinal Richelieu declaring a bounty on the titular Musketeers: "One thousand gold pieces on each of their heads, dead or alive!" (Steps away, then returns) "...I prefer dead!"
  • Jerkass: D'Artagnan is pretty rude and obnoxious to start off with.
  • Lady-in-Waiting: Constance specifically refers to herself as a lady in waiting to the Queen of France.
  • Land in the Saddle: Done early in the film, as part of a chase scene. It also included the stock parody of one of the characters missing the horse.
  • Large Ham:
    • The Cardinal, but since Tim Curry plays him, it's to be expected.
    • Oliver Platt as Porthos. Like Tim Curry, he seems to be there just for the fun of Chewing the Scenery.
  • Leave Him to Me: Rochefort says "He's mine!" to his Cardinal's Guard troops before charging D'Artagnan.
  • Let Me Tell You a Story: "Love? Let me tell you about love."
  • Love Makes You Evil: Arthos has a bit of a story about love. It doesn't end well.
  • Money to Throw Away: The heroes use this ploy to block pursuers, after discovering a great deal of money in the Cardinal's carriage (which they appropriated).
  • The Munchausen: Porthos does this constantly, his claims to fame including such arrant nonsense as his romance with "the Queen of America". However, during a battle on a ship, two of the Bad Guy's Goons recognize him as "Porthos the Pirate!", scream in terror, and jump into the ocean. Porthos's response: "I told you I was famous."
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: With the exception of Oliver Platt as Porthos, nobody bothers to pronounce "D'Artagnan" the French way. As a result, it ends up sounding like an insouciant affectation on Porthos' part.
    • Despite being set in France, there are a lot of American and British accents, but no French ones.
  • Obviously Evil: The Cardinal is played by Tim Curry. Enough said really.
  • Off with Her Head!: What almost happened to Milady before Athos stopped it.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Two mooks realize they're facing Porthos the legendary pirate and instantly jump off the ship the fight is taking place on.
    • In the final scene, Girard again tries to demand satisfaction from D'Artagnan, only to realize he's made a de facto challenge to the entire musketeer corps.
  • Playing Cyrano: D'Artagnan tries to woo a bar wench using words Aramis had previous used. When he messed up twice in the first few lines, he abandons all attempts and favors Porthos's approach
  • Pocket Protector: Aramis is shot, but his crucifix stops the bullet. From this he quips, "See? There is a God!"
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: After the heroes defeat Cardinal Richelieu and Rochefort and save the King and Queen, they're confronted by a group of thugs who started pursuing D'Artagnan at the beginning of the movie. It's been so long since the audience saw them that their appearance is a surprise.
  • Price on Their Head: The Cardinal offers a bounty for the each of the Musketeers after they free D'Artagnan.
    Cardinal Richelieu: One thousand gold pieces on each of their heads, dead or alive!
    [beat]
    Cardinal Richelieu: I prefer dead!
  • Quoting Myself: Aramis recites poetry to a tavern wench. D'Artagnan asks if it's Shakespeare and Aramis replies that it's Aramis.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Milady gives the Musketeers the information they need... and then throws herself off a cliff.
  • Red Herring Shirt: When D'Artagnan is led to the chopping block, two of the execution personnel turn out to be Porthos and Aramis in disguise, and they're there to rescue him with help from Athos (who takes care of the escape transportation by appropriating the Cardinal's carriage).
  • Red Shirt Army: One of the most literal examples of this trope with the Cardinal's guards.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Cardinal Richelieu tells his Evil Plan to usurp the throne directly to the king, then throws in a few more ludicrous (some of which are also true, or he wishes they were) claims:
    Ah, yes. That is usually the first. Let me see if I remember it correctly. While the English attack from without, the wicked Cardinal undermines from within, forging a secret alliance with Buckingham and placing himself on the throne. But really, Your Majesty, why stop there? I have heard much more festive variations. I make oaths with pagan gods, seduce the queen in her own chamber, teach pigs to dance and horses to fly, and keep the moon carefully hidden within the folds of my robe. Have I forgotten anything?
    • These lines are delivered in Tim Curry's delightful sneer, from which anyone should run like the wind.
  • Regent for Life: Cardinal Richelieu has elements of this. (Not so in the book, where he is an Evil Chancellor but Louis XIII is already grown up.)
  • Running Gag: Girard and his men, pursuing D'Artagnan to defend the honor of his sister.
  • Sarcastic Confession: When the king ventures to confront Cardinal Richelieu about the rumors of his betrayal, the Cardinal sarcastically rattles off the entire list of his misdeeds and treacherous plans that typically come with such rumors. He starts spicing it up with "more festive variations" involving teaching pigs to dance and horses to fly, hiding the moon in his robes, and seducing the queen in her chamber, the latter of which he had recently attempted. The king's misgivings are thus (temporarily) disarmed.
  • Scared of What's Behind You: When Gerard and his brothers, who have been looking to fight D'Artagnan throughout the movie, finally confront him at the end of the film, they suddenly scream and run away, because the entire Musketeer corps comes to back D'Artagnan and starts chasing them.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Two of Lady DeWinter's thugs run for it when they realize they're facing Porthos the Pirate.
  • Second Person Attack: After Rochefort knocks D'artagnan off his horse, the guards surround him and he looks up. Cue a fist flying down at the camera. Pow!
  • See You in Hell: A variant appears as the group splits up:
    Aramis: See you in Calais!
    Athos: Or hell!
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: Used when Rochefort skewers a hapless thief in the Bastille's dungeons.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Richelieu and D'Artagnan have a brief moment in the scene where Richelieu questions D'Artagnan when D'Artagnan mentions his desire to join the Musketeers.
    Richelieu: [in a tone that suggests "you haven't read the news much lately, have you?"] Bad timing.
    D'Artagnan: So I've heard.
  • Soft Water: Averted. Milady throws herself off a cliff rather than suffer a beheading. Given the rocks in the water below, the distance, and the obvious reactions of the witnesses, it was a real death.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Constance doesn't die.
  • Spiritual Successor:
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: D'Artagnan plays it straight. Complete with open window.
  • Take the Wheel: Athos orders D'Artagnan to take the reins of the carriage they're driving so that he can start drinking.
  • There Is a God!: Aramis says "See? There is a God," after The Reveal that his cross stopped the Cardinal's bullet and saved his life.
  • Those Two Guys: Porthos and Aramis are this in the movie. While Athos is dark and broody, they're much more snarky, and their roles are more comic-relief than plot-important.
  • The Unreveal: We're never told exactly why Aramis went from being one of the Cardinal's students to having a vendetta against him.
  • Warrior Poet: D'Artagnan gets the Musketeers to like him by tossing out a one-liner.
    D'Artagnan: I may not wear the tunic, but I believe I have the heart of a Musketeer.
    Porthos: Warrior.
    Aramis: Poet.
  • The Worf Effect: Rochefort defeats Athos to prove how scary he is, only for D'Artagnan to beat him.
  • Truth in Television: All the dueling. Duels were often planned out in advance and occurred because of very minor slights. It was also common enough that several hundred French nobles died every year in duels. And the Musketeers were all nobles.
  • You Killed My Father: D'Artagnan to Rochefort, after that the later taunts him with
    "How pathetic, killed by the same man that killed your father".
  • You Remind Me of X: "You, boy, are arrogant, hot-tempered, and entirely too bold. I like that, you remind me of me."

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