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Lord of War (2005)



Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 142
Fresh: 87 | Rotten: 55

While Lord of War is an intelligent examination of the gun trade, it is too scattershot in its plotting to connect.


Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 20

While Lord of War is an intelligent examination of the gun trade, it is too scattershot in its plotting to connect.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 387,811

My Rating

Movie Info

One man demonstrates how to get rich selling warring nations the tools of their deadly trade in this dark comedy drama. Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage) is an opportunistic businessman who stumbled into a gold mine after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Huge caches of Soviet weapons became available at bargain prices (and even for free if one wasn't above stealing), and as literally billions of dollars' worth of Soviet military technology disappeared, it began finding its


Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense

Andrew Niccol

Jan 17, 2006


Lions Gate - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (146) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (87) | Rotten (55) | DVD (23)

Niccol is no stranger to hot-button issues, but he outdoes his previous efforts by injecting this satire of war profiteering in the Halliburton age with a wicked arsenic wit.

August 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

ELord Of War drops the hammer slowly, laying out the fascinating parameters of Cage's world before opening up its argument in an astonishing denouement.

October 7, 2006 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A caustic satire masquerading as an action adventure.

September 24, 2005 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A raffishly ironic and insinuating movie -- and probably the most sheerly enjoyable film of the year so far.

September 20, 2005
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are the makings here of a really good feature or an even better documentary, but as it stands, Lord of War is not quite either.

September 16, 2005 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Nicolas Cage is enormously, paradoxically likable as a genuine monster.

September 16, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A carefully choreographed devil's dance in which Nicolas Cage finds fleet-footed rejuvenation as a man aware evil can't exist without good, but that evil often wins. This uniquely unsympathetic, world-weary film earns the right to fling that truth.

September 19, 2010 Full Review Source:

A fine, grown-up movie, half thriller, half black comedy.

September 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

The movie ultimately crushes itself in a vise of self-loathing.

March 11, 2008 Full Review Source:

I'm beginning to get discouraged about Andrew Niccol.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

Satire is rarely so hard-hitting, or high calibre.

July 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

This film fails so miserably don't be surprised to find yourself often rooting against the supposed good guy.

May 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Upstage Magazine | Comments (10)
Upstage Magazine

That the CIA engages in these activities with all sorts of Orlovs no doubt slithering around in the mix somewhere, is a far more intriguing huge chunk of vital information that sadly never made it to the screen.

February 8, 2007 Full Review Source: WBAI Web Radio
WBAI Web Radio

Lord of War has a surreal edge, despite being enmeshed in world events, with absurdity and dark humor laced throughout.

September 27, 2006
Christianity Today

Una película frívola y superficial sobre un tema serio e importante como el tráfico de armas. Entretiene, pero como denuncia cínica se queda corta.

September 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total | Comment (1)
Uruguay Total

The movie's too flippant for good drama and not funny enough for satire, but the morbidly fascinating subject and Cage's reptilian performance hold our interest.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Impressive performances, fascinating info-bytes and pertinent editorial, but in the end, it feels too much like an illustrated lecture.

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The film's approach to violence is unflinching: this is what poor people are doing to each other with the guns the West sells them, it screams -- but there's no suggestion it might be stopped, or slowed.

February 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald | Comments (9)
Sydney Morning Herald

The film is totally engaging, even though not always on an emotional level; there are so many issues striding through the screenplay it's hard to relate too closely to Yuri, although there are moments.

February 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Unlike most Hollywood movies being made today, Lord of War actually has something to say even though it goes about saying it clumsily . . .

February 8, 2006
SA Movie & DVD Magazine

Niccol seems to have bitten off more than he can chew here, substituting feverishness for character development...

January 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

The high point is Niccol's script, which turns weighty subject matter into dark comedy.

January 27, 2006 Full Review Source: Reno Gazette-Journal

This film entertained me throughout, but it also provided me with a truly insightful look at the amoral world of trading man-killers.

December 23, 2005 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium | Comment (1)
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

O anti-herói complexo oferece ao brilhante roteiro a oportunidade de analisar, de forma inventiva e fascinante, o mercado negro (abastecido por grandes governos) das armas de fogo.

December 20, 2005
Cinema em Cena

Audience Reviews for Lord of War

September 8, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

An criative and intelligent, Lord of War is an interesting view to the world of weapons dealers, dispite some scenes look poorly wrote and that the writer/director Andrew Niccol could present much more better his talent. Anyway, Lord of War become one of the few films that I really liked with Nicolas Cage. Fresh.
September 10, 2012
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Nicolas Cage is an arms dealer who is at the top of his profession but when he wants to give it up, but it's not that easy.
July 9, 2011
T Tsang

Super Reviewer

One of my friends told me that this film had one of (if not THE) best/coolest opening credits sequence ever. He wasn't kidding. It's awesome. So is the rest of the movie. Taking a break from Sci-Fi, the imaginative and brilliant Andrew Niccol directed this biting and sardonic satire concerning the life and career of an arms dealer who makes his living selling weapons used for not nice things.

A great thing about it is how the film is complex, well balanced, and is never overly preachey (or preachey period) in a general way or for either side of the issues being displayed here. It [resents both sides in a fair and balanced way, and does so in an entertaining and smart manner that blends a strong script, tons of wittiness, sharp direction, great music, intelligence, and lots of creativity.

Oh yeah, it's also got a great cast who give excellent performances. Nicolas Cage may not always be in good moivies, but his peformances are a different story. Some of his work may not be as good sometimes, but he's never been bad. This is one of his best, and that's saying something given the movies and roles he's had. He brigns depth, charm, weariness, and that craziness we've come to expect from him. Leto is quite good as Cage'sscrewup brother with tons of demons. Despite the limited nature of her role, Moynahan is pretty damn good, and although her character is one of the least interesting, she's far from unnecessary. Ethan Hawke is also great, and I enjoyed seeing him work with Niccol again.

No matter how you feel about guns and genocide, you owe it to yourself to see tyhis film. It is important, touching, stylish, and just a joy to watch. It does the difficult task of blending technique with importance in an accessible fashion. My only real complaint (and the thing keeping it from getting another half star) is that the film just gets a little draggy in the middle from time to time.

Other than that, this is a wild, unique, and very amazing film.
December 30, 2010
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

    1. Yuri Orlov: There are only two tragedies in life. One is not getting what you want, the other is getting it.
    – Submitted by Dann M (20 months ago)
    1. Yuri Orlov: They say, 'Evil prevails when good men fail to act.' What they oughta say is, 'Evil prevails.'
    – Submitted by Dann M (20 months ago)
    1. Yuri Orlov: Often, the most barbaric atrocities occur when both combatants proclaim themselves 'freedom fighters.'
    – Submitted by Dann M (20 months ago)
    1. Yuri Orlov: That's the trouble with falling in love with a dream girl. They have a habit of becoming real.
    – Submitted by Dann M (20 months ago)
    1. Yuri Orlov: You can't force someone to fall in love with you, but you can definitely improve your odds.
    – Submitted by Dann M (20 months ago)
    1. Yuri Orlov: You know who's going to inherit the Earth? Arms dealers. Because everyone else is too busy killing each other. That's the secret to survival. Never go to war, especially with yourself.
    – Submitted by Daniel K (2 years ago)
View all quotes (8)

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Foreign Titles

  • Lord of War - Händler des Todes (DE)
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