The Three Musketeers (1993 film)

The Three Musketeers

Promotional film poster by John Alvin.
Directed by Stephen Herek
Produced by Roger Birnbaum
Joe Roth
Jon Avnet
Screenplay by David Loughery
Based on The Three Musketeers
by Alexandre Dumas père
Music by Michael Kamen
Cinematography Dean Semler
Edited by John F. Link
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • November 12, 1993 (1993-11-12)
Running time
105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million
Box office $53.9 million

The Three Musketeers is a 1993 Austrian-American 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 and starring 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.

Plot summary

In 1625 France, following in his late father's footsteps, d'Artagnan (Chris O'Donnell) sets off to Paris in hopes of becoming a member of the Musketeers, a band of men sworn to serve and protect the King of France. d'Artagnan is pursued by Gérard and his brothers, who accuse him of blemishing their sister's honor. Gérard saw his sister kissing d'Artagnan goodbye or as d'Artagnan put it "she wanted to give me something to remember her by!" At Musketeer Headquarters, Captain Rochefort (Michael Wincott) and the Cardinal's Guards have disbanded the Musketeers as per the orders of Cardinal Richelieu (Tim Curry), the King's Minister, ostensibly to help fight in an impending war with England. Rochefort confides to the Cardinal that there are three Musketeers that have refused to relinquish their duties: Athos (Kiefer Sutherland), Porthos (Oliver Platt), and Aramis (Charlie Sheen).

Upon reaching Paris, the headstrong d'Artagnan has a series of chance physical encounters with these same three Musketeers, resulting in d'Artagnan's accepting a duel with each one that very day. D'Artagnan arrives at the Ruins for his first duel; and, much to his surprise, Athos, Porthos and Aramis reveal themselves as Musketeers. But, before the duels can commence, the Captain of the Cardinal's Guard appears with orders to arrest the resistant Musketeers. Although d'Artagnan himself is not under arrest, he joins the three Musketeers in the ensuing skirmish, aligning himself with them. Displeased (but still impressed) by d'Artagnan's involvement, the Three Musketeers leave d'Artagnan behind. More of the Cardinal's Guards, led by Rochefort, arrive; and d'Artagnan is captured.

During an escape attempt, d'Artagnan is able to eavesdrop on a conversation between Cardinal Richelieu and Milady de Winter (Rebecca De Mornay), as the Cardinal asks that she deliver a signed treaty to the Duke of Buckingham of England. Before he can get a view of the Cardinal's spy, d'Artagnan is caught at the doorway by Rochefort, interrogated by the Cardinal, and ultimately sent for execution the next morning. At the execution, d'Artagnan is saved by Porthos and Aramis; and the three make a getaway in the Cardinal's personal coach, driven by Athos. While d'Artagnan reveals Richelieu's plans, the Three Musketeers decide to intercept Richelieu's spy to prove that the Cardinal is guilty of treason.

That night, d'Artagnan and the three musketeers stop at an inn to rest. Athos tells the story of a Count who fell in love with a beautiful woman; but, upon discovering that she was branded for execution, he betrayed her by giving her up to the authorities. The party decides to split up during a skirmish. Athos sends d'Artagnan to ride ahead and intercept the Cardinal's spy and the treaty, but d'Artagnan passes out from exhaustion in the middle of the road. When he wakes up, he finds he is stripped of his weapons and clothes and Milady de Winter is there to rouse and seduce him. Not knowing who the spy is, d'Artagnan tells her of his plans, whereupon she tries to kill him. Instead, d'Artagnan convinces her to keep him alive. When Milady de Winter's party tries to escape by boat to England, they find that the crew has been killed by Porthos and Aramis, and another skirmish ensues. Milady attempts to run away; but she is confronted by the newly arrived Athos, who recognizes her and calls her Sabine. He is astonished to see her, as he thought she was dead. It is revealed that he was the Count of his story and that Sabine was the wife he betrayed. Milady de Winter is then apprehended by her last husband, as Sabine is accused for killing her first husband, Lord de Winter, and sentenced to death by execution.

The three musketeers retrieve the treaty and learn that the Cardinal is planning something on King Louis' birthday, though it does not specify what in the treaty. Athos attempts to learn what it is by visiting Sabine in her cell. She asks if he can stop her execution tomorrow. Athos cannot and Sabine does not reveal what the Cardinal's plan is. During the execution, just as Sabine is lowering her head for the executioner, Athos stops him and begs forgiveness from Sabine for his betrayal. She accepts and whispers to Athos Richelieu's plans to assassinate King Louis before jumping off a cliff to her death. After learning of the Cardinal's plan, the three musketeers set out to re-band the rest of the musketeers, in secret, for the king's birthday celebration. Richelieu and Rochefort hire a sharpshooter to assassinate the king. During the assembly, D'Artagnan is able to stop the sniper from killing the king, but the shot narrowly misses its target and the Cardinal blames the musketeers in the crowd for the attempted assassination.

Athos, Porthos and Aramis drop their cloaks to show their musketeer tunics and face the Cardinal's guards. Meanwhile, men from the crowd rush to their sides and reveal that they are musketeers. A battle between the musketeers and the Cardinal's guards engulfs the palace. Richelieu takes the king and queen as hostages and tries to take them to the dungeon below. Aramis confronts the Cardinal to stop him, but Richelieu shoots him in the chest with a pistol and makes his way into the passage to the dungeon. Athos duels Rochefort and D'Artagnan interrupts the battle to fight Rochefort himself. During D'Artagnan's duel, Rochefort reveals that he was the one that murdered D'Artagnan's father, and D'Artagnan, from anger, renews his efforts to kill him. Rochefort fights back and is able to disarm D'Artagnan. Just as Rochefort is about to deal D'Artagnan the final blow, D'Artagnan's sword is jettisoned back to him and Rochefort is killed before he can strike. D'Artagnan has finally avenged his father's death. Constance, on the stairs, slides the sword away and puts her hands in his, smiling.

Athos joins Porthos, who is at the unconscious Aramis' side, and as they search for his wound, Aramis suddenly wakes, and it is revealed that the bullet was stopped by the huge cross that Aramis wears. They follow Richelieu into the dungeons and split up to stop him from killing the king and queen. In the dungeon, Porthos is confronted by the brutal jailer but after a brief fight, manages to defeat him. Afterwards, Athos and Porthos just miss the Cardinal as his boat starts on the underground river. Athos says that they have proof of Richelieu's treason, but Richelieu does not seem to care. The boatman then casts off his cloak and the Cardinal is astonished to see that it is Aramis. Aramis attempts to apprehend the Cardinal, but King Louis stops him and punches Richelieu, knocking him in to the river. It is the last time Richelieu appears in the film.

The musketeers are reinstated by the king. Accompanied by Athos, Aramis, and Porthos, D'Artagnan is honored in a ceremony. King Louis offers him anything he wants, and all D'Artagnan wants - at Athos' request - is to serve Louis as a musketeer. King Louis does so. Constance, who has remained by the queen's side, runs to him and gives him a passionate kiss, impressing both Aramis and Porthos. Outside Musketeer Headquarters, Gérard and his brothers once again challenge D'Artagnan to an immediate duel. D'Artagnan tells his new friends that he will take care of this problem and Porthos stops him from continuing, stating that in addition to protecting King and country, musketeers protect each other. D'Artagnan calls out, "All for one..." and the rest of the musketeers shout out, "One for all!" The scene ends with Gérard and his brothers being chased by the entire division of musketeers.



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

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 harbour village of Charlestown is home to the galleon that was used in a night-shoot.[3]


Movie 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 6.3/10 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

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 in November 12, 1994 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 adaption


  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. 1 2 3 4 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 (1993) at RottenTomatoes
  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

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