"Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so we ask ourselves: will our actions echo across the centuries?"
The 2004 movie version of the legend of The Trojan War
, starring Brad Pitt
, Eric Bana
, Orlando Bloom
as Paris, Diane Kruger
as Helen, Brian Cox
as Agamemnon, Peter O'Toole
as Priam, and Sean Bean
as Odysseus in one of his rare not-dying roles.
The film is not technically an adaptation of Homer
, despite common misconceptions, as it takes material from other sources as well: the movie covers the entire story of the Trojan War, from the abduction of Helen to the Trojan Horse
and the Sack of Troy
, whereas the Iliad
deals only with a single episode of the war, the wrath of Achilles and the deaths of Patroclus and Hector. While the Iliad
covered only a few weeks of the war, in the process of adapting ten years of war
to the screen, the film deviates from the plot of the Trojan Cycle
in terms of who dies when
in the Ensemble Cast
, and focuses more on Hector (who many see as the Hero Antagonist
of the story).
Other differences include the downplay of supernatural elements
, and Achilles is made into a more honorable (and sometimes womanizing) character instead of a brooding jerkass
. While it doesn't try to claim it is "The True Story
" of The Trojan War
, it is portrayed in a fairly realistic fashion as such that it may very well have happened in a similar way. Achilles is Shrouded in Myth
as being demi-god but it is later clarified to not be the case, he is merely an exceptionally powerful
Tropes! Take them! They're yours :
- Achilles in His Tent: Achilles is extremely pissed off with this version's Agamemnon, refusing to fight until Briseis is returned to him. He spends his time sulking, in an actual tent.
- Achilles' Heel: As a Handwave to the myth, though Achilles dies after being shot repeatedly in the chest by arrows, he pulls them all out before he dies...except the very first one, to his heel. It is also this very injury to his heel that slowed him down, allowing Paris to shoot Achilles repeatedly.
- Adaptation Distillation: Critics of the film often overlook the fact that it's a mythos with a few basic elements (such as Achilles' death and the location of his weak spot) and variant "sequels" exist that kill off different characters. Most of the events of the movie happen either before the Iliad begins or after it ends, not in the Iliad itself. The gods manipulate the outcome of various battles to keep most of the Greek warriors from dying before the end, and their fate is only politely foreshadowed.
- Adaptational Heroism: Paris, of course! The evil-hearted coward of the original mythology has now been replaced by a good-hearted coward.
- Adaptational Wimp: As usual with most modern interpretations, Agamemnon is portrayed here as a cowardly backstabbing armchair general who is sitting behind his troops in the midst of battle. The film even takes it a step further by showing it was his fault why the Greeks were losing the early engagement Trojan War with his arrogance (specifically in the first attempt to besiege Troy) and never portray him clashing in melee with the Trojans. He is even killed by Cassandra at the very end when he threatens her at knife point during the sack of Troy. Where as in the original myths Agamemnon was a CLASS A Badass who could take on Trojan formations singlehandedly and even Achilles had to begrudgingly show respects to the Greek king's martial prowress after an engagement with the Trojans.
- Adaptational Villainy: While not exactly a Nice Guy in the original poem, the film goes to great lengths to portray Agamemnon as little more than a pure evil, mustache twirling tyrant with no redeeming qualities beyond a genuine love for his brother Menelaus, who is not portrayed in the best light either.
- After Action, Villain Analysis: The Trojan priest says this when they find the beach abandoned. (It's a Trap.)
Plague! Don't get too close, my lord.
King Priam: What happened here?
Priest: They desecrated the temple of the gods, and Apollo desecrated their flesh.
Glaucus: They thought they could sack this city in a day. Now look at them... fleeing across the Aegean.
- Anachronism Stew:
- As a movie adaptation of the stories was rather inaccurate, being a "historical interpretation", but one particularly egregious point was that the filmmakers put a llama in the city of Troy. Llamas, of course, being native to the Americas and could not have been in Troy at any time in the past.
- The Trojan War takes place in the Bronze Age but there are several weapons in the film that didn't exist until the Iron Age or later.
- Annoying Arrows:
- Ajax, who simply snaps the arrows and keeps on.
- The first shot goes into the heel, but Achilles gets right back up. It's the five arrows after that that do the trick, but he pulls them out one after another before finally keeling over so when Greek soldiers find him, the only arrow in his body is the one just above his foot.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: In this adaptation, both Paris and Patroclus would qualify as this to their older brother and cousin respectively.
- Armor Is Useless: Mocked by Achilles. A boy comes to his tent to tell him that Agamemnon is calling for him and starts gushing about how amazing Achilles is, saying "they say you can't be harmed in battle," to which Achilles responds "then I wouldn't be bothering with the shield, would I?"
- Artistic License – Geography: The Troad is not nearly as desert-like (or smooth) as seen in the film.
- Ascended Extra: Achilles's officer Eudorus and Hector's officer Glaucus have more "face time" here.
- Award Bait Song: "Remember" sung by Josh Groban and composed by James Horner, who pretty much deals in these.
- Badass Army: The Myrmidons, Achilles's elite fighters. Who spend much of their time doing nothing because Achilles is sulking. Since there are only 50 of them to begin with and more than half die in the first battle of the war, they're more of a Badass Crew.
- Badass Back: Achilles deflects an arrow to the back without looking.
- Badass Beard: Glaucus
- Badass Boast: Achilles to Hector; see To the Pain, below.
- Berserk Button: The younger cousin of Achilles, Patroclus, is definitely this. After learning of the boy's relation, Hector's facial expression says enough about what his fate will be once Achilles learns of his cousin's death at Hector's hands. He guesses right....
- The Berserker: Ajax
- Big Badass Battle Sequence: Several. First is when the Greek army takes the beach of Troy, second is the battle that occurs at the gates of Troy around halfway through the film, and lastly, the fall of Troy at the end of the film could possibly count.
- The Big Guy: Ajax
- Boisterous Bruiser: Menelaus
- Breakout Character: Hector. While the film is often heavily criticized, one of its selling points is that it diverts from Hector's characterization in the original epic poems where he resorts to stealing, bragging about people he's murdered, and runs from Achilles at their final engagement to the point where the gods themselves have to convince him to fight. In this film, however, he is loyal, level headed, kind, noble, and remarkably down to earth. It is easy to see why everyone is so upset when he dies fighting Achilles.
- Broad Strokes: The classic tale by Homer has Achilles and Paris die before the Greeks even penetrate Troy. However since the creators cast Brad Pitt as Achilles, the hero of the film, he doesn't die until the very end. This change allows no fewer than four characters who were supposed to die or be captured to escape.
- Technically this is true to the Iliad's portrayal, since the book is all about Achilles and Hector, and The Iliad ends with Hector's death.
- Also, many scenes in The Iliad were altered, such as the scene with Achilles chasing Hector around the city walls until Hector decided to stop running and fight Achilles. That scene probably wouldn't have fit the tone.
- Several of the characters changed: Agamemnon and Menelaus were not the stock villains they're portrayed as, and escaped the wrath of the gods or women at least until they got home in Agamemnon's case; Hector would have let Paris die, not saved him, because of his sense of honor; Ajax was a civil defensive fighter, not a barbaric berserker.
- Also: Achilles wasn't a misotheist, he honored the Gods; Patroclus was older and wiser than Achilles (Iliad XI, 780-790), not his whiny baby cousin, and the latter was famous for being among the youngest warriors in the war. And Hector actually tried at great lengths to desecrate Patroclus' corpse throughout the battle. (When Patroclus died the fight actually continued, and wasn't suddenly canceled like a football match).
- Achilles' soldiers fought tooth and nail to defend Patroclus' body. They were driven off long enough for the body to be looted, but fought their way back to claim the actual corpse.
- The Brute: Canon Foreigner Boagrius
- Byronic Hero: Achilles
- California Doubling: Set in Greece and Turkey, shot in Malta and Mexico.
- Call That A Formation: Averted. In the battle following Menelaus' death, the disorganized Greeks basically lose because they can't break the Trojan ranks.
- Averted by the Trojans in general, but the Greeks tend to play it straight.
- Cassandra Truth: Inverted (!) by the Trojan priests, who always give exactly the wrong advice and are always believed. Interestingly, their prophecies are always literally true! Cassandra herself does not appear (merged with Briseis.)
- Amusingly subverted in the actual myths, as the priests actually foretell that the Trojan Horse will be the doom of Troy. Poseidon, being on the side of the Greeks, "shuts up" the priest Laocoön, and the Trojans swiftly take the horse inside to avoid being next to feel the god's wrath.
- Played straight with Hector.
- Casting Gag: Sort of. Menelaus is played by Brendan Gleeson, a native of Dublin, Ireland. In the 1956 film Helen of Troy, Menelaus is played by Niall MacGinnis who is also a native of Dublin, Ireland. Both men are red haired, muscular and were in their forties when they portrayed the Spartan King. Gleeson does seem to bear quite the resemblance to MacGinnis. It seemed Wolfgang Petersen had been inspired by the Robert Wise film more than just a little.
- Chekhov's Skill: The movie shows that Paris is hopelessly outmatched in sword and shield combat, but he is an excellent archer.
- Chewing the Scenery:
- "I will smash their walls to the ground... if it costs me 40,000 Greeks! Hear Me, Zeus!"
- Cox's Agamemnon swans around in the kind of crazy-colored vestments favored by overweight middle-aged fiber artists, leaving half-chewed crumbs of scenery in his wake. At one point a character scolds, "You can't have the whole world, Agamemnon. It's too big — even for you!" But Cox gnaws so relentlessly at everything around him, you're sure he could nibble it down to size in no time. — Stephanie Zacharek, Salon
- Coitus Ensues: Achilles and Briseis.
- Combat by Champion: Achilles vs. Boagrius, Paris vs. Menelaus. The Iliad is Trope Codifier of this one.
- Subverted with Paris vs. Menelaus, as both Menelaus and Agamemnon make it clear they are going to sack Troy after the duel anyway. Hector is well aware of this and lists it as reason to not have the duel.
- Composite Character: Briseis. She's combined with Chryseis, Cassandra, and Clytemnestra. Paris gets Laocoön's lines at the end of the film, and most of the competing Greek heroes such as Diomedes are not seen.
- Hector with advice-giver Polydamas, which actually makes Hector even more tragic because while in the book, Hector dies as an indirect result of NOT taking Polydamas' advice, while in the movie he dies because everyone else doesn't take HIS advice.
- Compressed Adaptation: the entire ten years of war appear to take place in less than a fortnight.
- Which is a little more accurate to the source material in some ways. The Iliad itself only deals with four days near end of the war. For the first 9 years and a bit, the Greeks mostly attacked the surrounding cities that were allied with Troy, and dealing with the unfavorable winds and such.
- Continuity Cameo:
- Paris hands off the sword of Troy to an escaping Aeneas, to the delight of Latin geeks in the audience... though Aeneas is a random teen civilian in the movie instead of a Trojan warrior. For bonus points, Aeneas is also guiding his aged father. His wife is nowhere to be seen, but maybe he already lost her.
- In the extended version, Odysseus's first scene shows him in Ithaca with his faithful dog. His wife and son are still not mentioned, though.
- Cool Old Guy: Glaucus, second-in command for the Trojan armies.
- Costume Porn: The men have kickass armor and often clean up nicely, but the women naturally get pounds of jewelry. Helen's circlet of golden laurel leaves is especially notable.
- Coup de Grâce: Achilles vs. Hector; attempted by Menelaus.
- Curb-Stomp Battle (Menelaus vs. Paris)
- Averted with Achilles vs. Hector. Hector is clearly outclassed and knows it, but is the only character in the entire film to even come close to wounding Achilles in hand to hand combat. At one point he manages to scratch Achilles' breastplate causing the Greek to look astonished, implying no one had ever managed that before.
- Achilles vs. Boagrius. That's if you can even call it a battle.
- Dead Unicorn Trope: The Trojan Horse.
- Deadpan Snarker: In a movie with Odysseus in it, can anyone else possibly deserve the Deadpan Snarker label?!
- Hector (to a degree) is the only one to give sound military advice and point out the flaws in the plans of everyone else. When all of Priam's generals are standing up and saying how the gods favored them, Hector says something along the lines of: "We are really outnumbered, and considering Achilles cut off the statue of Apollo's head and he didn't react, I really don't think the gods are going to fight this one for us."
- Odysseus definitely earns it as well (and also gives sound military advice), he's just in the film less than Hector. Sean Bean manages to convey snark without speech, making silly faces at Achilles while people pay homage to Agamemnon.
- Odysseus has the most snarky line in the movie: 'The men believe we came here for Menelaus' wife. We won't be needing her any more.'
- Achilles is pretty snarky himself in this adaptation. Not as snarky as Odysseus, mind you, but he has his moments.
- Death by Adaptation: Agamemnon, who in the original myths ends up going home with Cassandra as his slave, only to be killed by his wife.
- Menelaus' death is even more egregious, as all the myths make him survive the war and go back to Sparta with Helen, having a daughter after their return. It's easy to see why they changed it, though.
- Ajax, too. In the poem, he actually kills himself out of shame for having slaughtered a flock of sheep (believing it to have been Odysseus, Agamemnon, and other leaders who had agreed to give Odysseys Achilles' armor).
- Death by Irony: Achilles is forewarned by Eudorus that he should not offend Apollo, who is known as the Sun God, as he sees everything. After being warned by Eudorus about Apollo, Achilles decides to be ignorant, choosing to ignore his advice. Achilles then arrogantly chops the head off of the statue of Apollo, which ironically, shows that he is a God that is an archer. By doing this, Achilles basically signed his doom because at the end of the movie, Achilles ends up meeting his foretold doom when he is killed by arrows, which are shot by Paris. One could say that Apollo had killed Achilles through Paris and his arrows.
- Death by Woman Scorned: Agamemnon; see Troy for details.
- Demoted to Extra: Lysander. He has just enough dialogue with Hector to indicate that most of his scenes were left on the cutting-room floor.
- Demythtification: Portrayed as more of a "what inspired the legend" reenactment. Gods are kept on the down-low here, although Achilles claims to have seen them.
Messenger Boy: They say your mother was an immortal goddess. They say you can't be killed.
- In The Iliad, Achilles's mother is a river goddess. In this film, she's a woman of questionable sanity who believes she's a river goddess. We're never quite sure whether she really is a goddess or not.
- Myths say Priam infiltrated the Greek camp because the god Hermes guided him. Here its because he knows the lay of the land better than the Greeks.
- Deus Exit Machina: Achilles sulks in his tent for half of the story.
- Diamonds in the Buff: Paris gives Helen a necklace while she is otherwise nude.
- Dirty Coward: Paris. He instigates a war, volunteers to fight as the Champion to end said war quickly, and then runs away after losing the fight. His lust and cowardice ultimately cause his entire city to burn.
- Doomed by Canon: The fact that Paris didn't die was what really hurt some fans of Hector. (He didn't even get mortally injured!) Of course, Hector kind of has to die before him....
- Drop the Hammer: Ajax.
- Duel to the Death: Hector vs. Ajax, Hector vs. Patroclus dressed as Achilles, Hector vs. Achilles.
- El Cid Ploy: As in the Iliad, Patroclus pulls one by pretending to be Achilles.
- Ensemble Cast
- Epic Movie: The poster art says it all.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Agamemnon is genuinely devastated by the death of his brother Menelaus.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Brad Pitt as Achilles, in-universe example.
- Evil Counterpart: There is a "trifecta" so to speak that have parallels that could go into this category involving three sets of familial duos.
- When you really think about it, Agamemnon actually serves this role to Achilles. In how both have a massive ego, both desperately desire to make their names immortal through the annals of history, both have a younger relative who they are very close to (Patroclus and Menelaus) whose death (both at the hands of Hector ironically enough) sends them into a vengeful rage, and both have a desire for Briseis.
- It can also be said that Agamemnon and Menelaus parallel Hector and Paris as well. Both sets being royal brothers with genuine bonds of affection towards each other, with an older sibling who is more successful and glorified but also defensive of his younger sibling. The feud over Helen is also notably rooted in the younger sibling of either pair, both of whom are illustrated to have been notorious womanizers.
- There are also parallels between the duos of Achilles/Patroclus and Hector/Paris. While none of them are evil per se, they do fall into opposite sides of the conflict. Achilles and Hector are the older of the two, and each is renowned as the greatest warrior on his side as well as one of the greatest warriors who ever lived. Both are also respected military commanders. Patroclus and Paris are the impulsive and naive younger members of the pair who make certain mistakes because of those flaws. (Each of their biggest being taking on an opponent who was far out of their league in combat)
- Famed In-Story: Take a wild guess.
- Fanservice: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom all get some glistening, well-muscled shirtless scenes, and most of the male cast wear Dangerously Short Tunics during their fighting scenes. The guys get (an almost nude) Diane Kruger, Rose Byrne and Saffron Burrows.
- The extended cut shows off more, particularly Diane Kruger.
- The Fatalist: Achilles, among others.
The Gods you speak of — I've met them. I'll tell you a secret: The Gods envy us
. They envy us because we're mortal
— because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we're doomed
. You will never be lovelier than you are now — and we shall never be here again.
- A Father to His Men: Both Achilles and Hector.
- The Film of the Book
- Flaunting Your Fleets: the scene of the allied Greek fleet.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: Ajax vs. horse. Any horse.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Hector and Paris with Hector being the Responsible Sibling to Paris' Foolish Sibling. While Hector has shown and proven himself to be an upstanding, honourable, noble and dutiful person who understands the meaning of responsibility and duty, Paris has shown that he is the opposite of his brother, someone who is selfish, cowardly, self centred, spoiled and does not even begin to comprehend or understand what it means to be responsible and a good and competent son or person. Instead, Hec tor ends up being the one to fight Paris' battles for him.
- Giant Mook: Boagrius! Played by Nathan Jones, who seems to specialize in this.
- The Good Chancellor: Nestor
- Grey and Grey Morality: Neither side is particularly virtuous, with Agamemnon simply using Helen to justify the war and Menelaus clearly cared for her only as a trophy wife while Paris was a scrupulous womanizer who knew what the consequences would be for taking Helen. Much of the Trojan royal court and military is dismissive of the war and the fact of people dying just because they believe the Gods will allow them to win. Hector and Odysseus are the only people who come across as noble and respectful at all times, while Achilles is generally portrayed as better than most of the royal Greeks.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: It is repeatedly emphasized that Achilles and Patroclus have a close relationship because they are COUSINS. Which they were in the Iliad, too. Whether or not the two were actually lovers in a sexual sense has been controversial for 2,400 years, in a debate that goes back at least as far as Classical Athens.
- Regardless of the intent of the source material, the movie's slightly awkward belaboring of the point that they're COUSINS DAMMIT falls squarely under this trope - since the goal seems to be to avert even the possibility that they could be less than 100% heterosexual.
- Technically, they were half-cousins.note It just didn't matter to the Greeks. Achilles' womanizing is also accurate to the original stories, where much of the plot is motivated by Achilles' desire for various women as well as men: he lusted after Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazon women from Ethiopia, in a subplot that shall sadly be missed.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Averted, for the most part, then enforced when Achilles fights Hector, as the former knows the latter killed his cousin because said cousin was disguised as Achilles. As they're squaring off, Achilles removes his helmet with, "Now you know who you're fighting."
- And then Hector removes his to keep the fight fair.
- The Hero: YMMV between Hector and Achilles. There is often a lot of debate about who, between Hector and Achilles, is the actual true hero of the story or of the film. Although, this is often determined by whom the audience sympathizes with more in the story. Achilles is a Blood Knight who is known to be the greatest warrior of the Greeks and Hector is a Warrior Prince who is known to be the greatest warrior of the Trojans. In the original story, Iliad, it is well known that overall, Hector is a much more sympathetic character than Achilles (although in the original story, Hector is actually more of a Hero Antagonist). In this film adaptation, however, Hector shows that he is much more noble, loyal, upstanding, brave, and honourable than his original counterpart. Achilles is also more humanized in this film adaptation, although Achilles still shows his original traits of arrogance, pride, boastfulness, and brashness. Overall, and from the general consensus of the audience who have seen the film, the majority of people (whether they liked the film or not) seem to come to an agreement that Hector holds the title of the actual true 'hero' of the film, as he comes across as a very noble and sympathetic character; much more sympathetic than the rest of the characters in the film, such as the arrogant and brash Achilles, the power-hungry and greedy Agamemnon, the vengeful and spiteful Menelaus, the selfish and cowardly Paris and the vain and self-centred Helen. Hector also possesses all of the traits that a traditional hero would have (family man, noble, dutiful, respectable, upstanding, honourable, humble, empathetic towards others, etc).
- Hero of Another Story: Odysseus, obviously.
- Honor Before Reason: Priam (and to a lesser extent Hector). This is really in the culture. On the flip side, Paris did Menelaus a massive dishonor by stealing his wife while a guest in his home.
- Idiot Ball: The Trojan priests.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: "Perhaps I'll have her give me a bath."
- Implacable Man: Ajax with a shield.
- Informed Attractiveness: Inevitable, since an actual, you know, human being got cast as Helen of Troy (in this case, Diane Kruger). Nobody thinks she's unattractive, but opinions on her vary from "drop-dead gorgeous" to "lovely, but she'll probably disappoint SOMEONE."
- Diane Kruger is lovely but Helen of Troy was more than a face. She was a woman of considerable wit and charisma as well - at least in the Iliad.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: One of the more well done parts of the film is Achilles as this trope. He is arrogant, often rude, selfish, and impatient, but on the other hand, he genuinely seems to respect women (or at least Briseis), he values honor above all, and he cares about the men who serve alongside him and under his command. The character is actually much more sympathetic than in the source material it takes its inspiration from.
- The Juggernaut: Achilles.
- Kill Me Now or Forever Stay Your Hand: Achilles to Briseis. More like "kill me or have sex with me, your choice." Seeing as it's Brad Pitt her choice was not surprisingly the latter.
- King Incognito: In the extended Director's Cut, Odysseus is introduced this way. He's mistaken for a shepherd by Agamemnon's messengers looking for the king of Ithaca and tells them that "Actually, I Am Him".
- Knight Templar Big Brother: Both Achilles and Hector to their younger cousin and brother respectively.
- Achilles doesn't take his eventual failure of this trope very well at all.
- Large Ham: Brian Cox out-hams Brendan Gleeson. He taught an entire generation of filmgoers how to spell AGAMEMNON! by helpfully shouting it at key points in the film. Not a complaint, mind you...
- In interviews, you can see him grinning like a kid in a candy store throughout the shoot. Though some of his lines are straight from the Iliad itself.
- Don't forget the moment right after Menelaus dies. You can see Brian Cox's face almost literally turn about eight shades of red as he screams for his soldiers to fight.
- Last Stand: Glaucus.
Soldiers of Troy! To LEAD you men has been my Honah!
waits for us! Let's make him wait... a little Longah!
- Leeroy Jenkins: Technically, Achilles and the Myrmidons do this when the Greeks first reach Troy. They're awesome enough that, despite a copious helping of Hollywood Tactics, they actually succeed.
- Lock and Load Montage: Achilles and Hector prepare to battle each other. Doubles as a Shirtless Scene.
- Mercy Kill: Hector vs. Patroclus after he discovers it's not Achilles. This is a bit of Values Dissonance from the Iliad, where Patroclus is older and Hector attempts to steal Achilles' armor!
- Mickey Mousing: James Horner's score during the climactic duel; Gabriel Yared's rejected score during the first fight.
- Misplaced Wildlife: In the scene where the Trojans first flee from the Greeks into the city, you can see one handling a pair of South American llamas. Fridge Logic sets in when you realize that the film was shot in Malta and Mexico, where llamas are not native, either - meaning that someone actually went deliberately looking for llamas for... some reason.
- Morality Pet: Briseis seemed to be one for Achilles. She eventually also became his Berserk Button after Patroclus' death. Briseis seemed to have humanized Achilles, who is known to only care about fighting for glory and recognition. She brought out the much kinder and gentler side of Achilles. Achilles even tells Briseis as he is dying that "she had given him peace in a lifetime of war".
- Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Technically an example since the Epic Hero is the ancestor of the Super Hero. In the myths, Achilles is stated to wear gold armour. Here it is black.
- Mythology Gag: Toward the end of the movie, Odysseus realizes that the story of this war will be a story told and retold forever...and he wonders briefly if anyone will ever tell his story. Well...
- My God, What Have I Done?: Hector, when he realizes that he had slain Achilles' younger cousin, Patroclus instead of Achilles himself. The look and the reaction that Hector has when he realizes this truth is heartbreaking. This moment makes Hector an even more sympathetic character than he already is, showing that Hector has a conscience and empathy for others. It also confirmed that Hector does not like violence and war but only involves himself in battle for the love and protection of his family and his country. One can automatically see the guilt and the remorse on Hector's face for having killed one so young. Hector is so distraught over Patroclus' suffering (he had his throat slit) that he commits a Mercy Kill by stabbing him with his sword to stop Patroclus from suffering and to put him out of his misery. When Odysseus tells Hector that he had killed Achilles' cousin, Hector basically knew that his fate was sealed. Hector even expresses to Andromache that he had killed someone so young in Patroclus, all the while showing deep regret and remorse for what he had done through his expression.
- Achilles also has a moment likes this. After Priam politely scolds Achilles for the way that he had treated the dead body of his son after fighting him and killing him and when he asks to have his son's body back for proper burial rites, Achilles cries over Hector's dead body, showing that he feels remorse and guilt for killing the Trojan prince. Achilles even tells a dead Hector "that they will meet again soon". It was in this moment that Achilles finally showed Hector, his rival, the respect that he deserved.
- Nay-Theist: Achilles (film only). See The Fatalist, above.
- Nigh Invulnerable: Achilles.
- No Bisexuals: Achilles was Ambiguously Bi in the original story, to the point of Lampshade Hanging; a not-so-uncommon thing with Ancient Greek warriors. The film downplays his relationship with Patroclus and plays up his relationship with Briseis.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: As a review on IMDB put it, "Congratulations Sean Bean, for making me realize Odysseus was actually a native of Sheffield." But no one else in the cast seems to bother, either. Weirdly, it still kind of works - the most jarring voice is that of American Brad Pitt, compared to his mostly British, Scottish, Irish, and Australian co-stars.
- It is not like the target audience (and probably not anyone else) actually has the slightest idea what Bronze Age Greeks sounded like, and American actors trying to sound like modern Greeks would have just been absurd.
- Achilles having the sole American accent actually works, as it helps mark him an outsider to the other Greeks.
- Offhand Backhand: Achilles' fighting style.
- One-Man Army: Achilles' 300-esque assault on the beach. Of course, it's freaking Achilles.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Sort of. "Go back to your woman and tomorrow we'll have our war... It's too early in the day for killing princes."
- Basically, he was averting an anticlimax.
- Only Sane Man: Hector on one side, Odysseus on the other. They only meet for about fifteen seconds, but the respect is instant.
- Especially Hector, who seems to be the only Trojan with any idea of what real tactics in such a war would be. Any time his fellow Trojans decide to do something stupid because of 'favorable omens', he seems to be fighting the urge to Facepalm.
- Paris takes up his brother's mantle later, being the one who advises Priam to just burn the Trojan Horse. Of course...
- Ordinary High-School Student: Aeneas is just a teen, which is why he flees with the Sword of Troy rather than protect Troy to the end. In the Iliad, he was Troy's best warrior after Hector and his fate is unknown, leaving room for a Sequel Hook in The Aeneid.
- Pet the Dog: After demonstrating just how much of a Jerk Ass he can be at his worst (by showing the least possible respect to an opponent who fought honorably), Achillles lets King Priam take back Hector's body, give him a proper burial and promises that no Greek will attack Troy for the 12 day funeral rites to be properly performed. He also tells the King that Hector was the best warrior he had ever fought and frees Briseis to him.
- Prescience Is Predictable: "One day I will look upon your corpse and smile!" Also, Achilles' mom, the sea-nymph Thetis. And the Trojan priests, oddly enough.
- Prevent The War: Paris and Helen try to defuse the conflict by personal duel and just giving herself up, respectively. Sadly the war is politically motivated rather than over honor.
- Proper Lady: Briseis, Helen, and Andromache all fit the trope. Briseis could be considered a Princess Classic (through her relation to the Princes Hector and Paris), and also, being a priestess who serves Apollo; Helen is one considering she is first the Queen Of Sparta and then becomes princess of Troy and fianlly, Andromache, for being the wife of Prince Hector, automatically making her a princess of Troy. Helen, Briseis and Andromache are all refined and poised women who are of high status.
- Punch Clock Villain: Achilles
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Immortality! Take it! It's YOURS!!!!"
- Then Every... Son of Troy... Shall DIE!!
- But the GODS... Favor ONLY!! THE STRONG!!!
- The Queen's Latin: With the exception of Achilles, who has a peculiar mid-Atlantic accent, fully enforced. Eric Bana and Rose Byrne don't seem to be using their native accents either.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: "BURN! BURN TROY!" Troy gets this treatment at the end.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: A brief one: after curb-stomping Paris in their one-on-one duel and watching him try to crawl away, Menelaus looks up at the walls of Troy where Helen is watching and shouts, "Is this what you left me for!?"
- Reality Ensues: Paris thinks that he can beat Menelaus in a duel because of the love he and Helen share (or something like that). The old but incredibly strong and experienced war veteran beats the shit out of the wimpy spoiled prince.
- Redemption Equals Death: Achilles' ultimate fate.
- Refusal of the Call: Achilles' initial reaction when Odysseus tries to convince him to take part in The Trojan War.
- Regal Ringlets: Helen, Briseis and Andromache all have curly hair, representing their regality and their royal statuses.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Achilles goes on one of these against Hector after learning of Patroclus's death.
- Rousing Speech: Each of the major characters gets at least one, even Glaucus. Well, except Paris.
- Rule of Cool: Historically inaccurate, but what the heck.
- Sadly Mythtaken: Sort of. While the Greek gods don't appear directly as in the original, the statue of Apollo looks distinctly Mesopotamian.
- Probably referencing Greece's relative cultural dependence on Egypt at the time; Troy was a Hittite dependency, and we don't know if it was a "Mycenaean" kingdom or not. You'd think the Greek structures would look more like those of Knossos, though.
- The carved statues outside of the Temple of Apollo are Egyptian right down to the pastiche beards: interestingly, they're still done wrong, as their left feet are shown to be forward, signifying divine mortals instead of gods.
- Say My Name: "AGA-memnon!" "Ach-ILLES!"a
- "Hector! Hector! Hector!"... and on and on.
- Scenery Porn: The city of Troy before the war begins... just beautiful...
- Senseless Sacrifice: Averted for that very reason. Helen is so overcome with grief and guilt at how many soldiers of Troy have died, that she attempts to give herself up while the Greeks are still on the beach. Hector points out to her if she did, the Greeks would still sack Troy anyway. So she should go back to Paris.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Achilles. He seems to have found a way to cope with it, but mentions that he sees his victims waiting for him in the Underworld in his dreams.
- Shining City: Troy, especially during Helen's arrival.
- Shirtless Scene: You could say there was... one or two.
- Wait, does a leather breastplate count as a shirt?
- Shout-Out: Now, it's kind of a given that the original Achilles was smitten with glory and fame and all that but Achilles' repeated declarations of immortality and posthumous recognition seemed to have been put there mostly for the savvy viewers' benefit.
- Shrouded in Myth: Most of Achilles' origins is fabricated.
- Silly Reason for War: "I suppose love is a better reason than all the rest."
- Single-Stroke Battle: Achilles vs. Boagrius (almost everyone he fights, really.) Then he walks away.
- Skyward Scream: Agamemnon's Signal: To charge after seeing his brother get killed.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Paris and Astyanax
- Spiritual Successor: This movie to the miniseries Helen of Troy.
- Starcrossed Lovers: Achilles/Briseis. Achilles and Briseis are from opposing sides yet they fall in love with each other. Achilles is a Greek while Briseis is a Trojan, cousin of Princes Hector and Paris. Hector unknowingly kills Patroclus (Achilles' cousin) and to get revenge, Achilles kills Hector in return (Briseis' cousin). Towards the end of the film as Troy is falling, Achilles goes on a mission to save Briseis from possibly getting killed. Sadly, Briseis' other cousin Paris ends up killing Achilles through the use of a bow and arrows and Achilles meets his foretold doom. Briseis refuses to leave a dying Achilles and as he is dying, he confesses that he loves her and that amidst all of the violence, she had given him peace in a lifetime of war. Briseis flees with Paris and Achilles dies alone.
- Paris/Helen. Prince Paris is a Trojan prince who falls deeply in love with Helen, the Queen of Sparta, who is also married to Menelaus. Because of this, their love is strongly forbidden. Menelaus discovers Paris and Helen's betrayal and asks his brother, Agamemnon to go to war with him. Basically, the entire Trojan war was started because of Paris and Helen's love for each other and many unnecessary deaths and casualties had occurred because of Paris' love for one woman.
- Sword And Sandal: Wolfgang Peterson said he wanted it to be a throwback to classic sword-n-sandal films like Spartacus.
- And it was a success up to a point. Large Ham, Badass fights, stars in period clothing. Just needed some writing polish.
- Sword Fight: Considered one of the best Sword Fights on film (Achilles vs. Hector) even by people who hate the film.) And the spear duel that preceded the sword fight was pretty memorable too.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: The Sword of Troy.
- Sticks to the Back: Achilles' shield, most of the time. The movie may actually be right about that one.
- Teeth Flying: Paris manages to knock a tooth loose from Menelaus, the only good jab he gets in the fight.
- Trademark Finisher: Achilles' "Superman jump."
- Trojan Horse: Check. In this version it's made out of the charred remains of a trireme, so it has a Darker and Edgier look.
- Minus the charring, that's pretty much where the lumber is always said to come from. The empty ships that the diminished number of Greeks couldn't sail home.
- Tempting Fate
- This Loser Is You
The Thessalonian you're fighting... he's the biggest man
I've ever seen. *I* wouldn't want to fight him....
Achilles: And that is why no one will remember your name.
- Thwarted Coup de Grâce: Menelaus vs. Paris.
- Too Dumb to Live: Achilles is warned that he shouldn't offend the Sun God known as Apollo. Seconds later, he decapitates the Statue of Apollo, which shows the god as an archer. If the viewers imagine that the Gods are actually influencing the events of the movie, then Achilles pretty much signed his death warrant, resulting in Apollo using Paris's arrows to kill Achilles. Sure took his time, though.
- To the Pain: Achilles' promise to Hector.
- Unflinching Walk: Achilles after dispatching enemies; he doesn't look back. See Single-Stroke Battle.
- Prone to breaking out the walk in mid-battle during the lulls, too.
- Watching Troy Burn: Trope Namer.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Achilles. Hector. Paris. A lot, actually.
- War Was Beginning: Opens over a map.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Hector gives a scathing one to Paris for taking Helen with him without considering the consequences.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Hector explicitly commands the archers not to fire on Achilles when he rides up to Troy's walls alone, a completely exposed target.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Paris.
- The Worf Effect: Inverted with Boagrius, who shows up only to prove how badass Achilles is.
- World of Ham: Peter O'Toole, Brian Cox, Brendan Gleeson and even Brad Pitt all seem to be competing in a scenery-devouring contest.
- World's Most Beautiful Woman: Subverted in that Agamemnon is not so much interested in Helen as he is in Troy.
- Worthy Opponent: Hector considers Achilles to be this. Achilles does not agree until later. Also Hector vs. Ajax (in The Iliad).
- You Can't Fight Fate: Lampshaded.
- There Is Only One Possible Outcome in a Greek story. Even if you have American actors, or conflicting source material, the narrator and characters in each version of the story will agree that their outcome could not have happened any other way, and the characters forsee it. See The Fatalist, above.
- Zen Survivor: Achilles. "At night, I see the faces of all the men I've killed. They're waiting for me on the other side of the River Styx. They say, 'Welcome, Brother'."