Three Kings


Three Kings

Critics Consensus

Three Kings successfully blends elements of action, drama, and comedy into a thoughtful, exciting movie on the Gulf War.



Reviews Counted: 128

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 186,039


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.3/5

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Movie Info

The Gulf War is over, and three soldiers want to go home rich. Major Archie Gates retires in two weeks. Sergeant Troy Barlow is a new father. Chief Elgin is on a four-month paid vacation from Detroit. Saddam Hussein stole a great deal of gold from Kuwait, and these soldiers have no problem with stealing it from him. But on their way to collect their booty, they bear witness to the the disturbing results of the war effort. President Bush has encouraged Iraqi citizens to fight back against Saddam and pledged to support them, but when they rise up, they get NO American support, and they're getting slaughtered. As the soldiers realize the true situation in Iraq, they're confronted with their own humanity, and they're forced to rethink who they are and what they're doing.

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Ice Cube
as Chief
Nora Dunn
as Adrianna
Mykelti Williamson
as Colonel Horn
Cliff Curtis
as Amir Abdullah
Said Taghmaoui
as Captain Said
Holt McCallany
as Captain Van Meter
Pete Antico
as [uncredited] Oasis Bunker Guard
Ali Alkind
as Deserter No. 1
Jim Gaffigan
as Soldier
Sam Hassan
as Oasis Bunker Sniper
Peter Macdissi
as Oasis Bunker Lieutenant
Basim Ridha
as Black Robe Leader
Mohammed Sharafi
as Iraqi Soldier
Marsha Horan
as Amir's Wife
Alia Shawkat
as Amir's Daughter
Jabir Algarawi
as Hairdressing Twin
Ghanem Algarawi
as Hairdressing Twin
Bonnie Afsary
as Western Dressed Village Woman
Jacqueline Abi-Ad
as Traditional Village Woman
Fadil Al-Badri
as Deserter Leader
Sayed Badreya
as Iraqi Tank Major
Magdi Rashwan
as Iraqi Troop Carrier Major
Alex Dodd
as Iraqi First Kill Soldier
Larry "Tank" Jones
as Berm. Soldier/Truck Driver
Patrick O'Neal Jones
as Berm. Soldier
Shawn Pilot
as Berm. Soldier
Bret Bassett
as Berm. Soldier
Al Whiting
as Camp Soldier/Truck Driver
Brian Patterson
as Camp Soldier/Truck Driver
Scott Dillon
as Camp Soldier
Kwesi Okai Hazel
as Camp Soldier
Randy W. McCoy
as Camp Soldier
Mark Rhodes
as Camp Soldier
Scott Pearce
as Camp Soldier
Gary Parker
as Civil Affairs Company Clerk
Haidar Alatowa
as Saudi Translator
Salah Salea
as Iraqi Soldier with Map
Doug Jones
as Dead Iraqi Soldier
Farinaz Farrokh
as Iraqi Civilian Mother With Baby
Omar 'Freefly' Alhegelan
as Bunker 1 Lying Iraqi
Hassan Allawati
as Bunker 1 Friendly Iraqi
Sara Aziz
as Pleading Civilian Woman
A. Halim Mostafa
as Iraqi Civilian Man
Mustafa Al Bakhti
as Bunker 2 Store Room Captain
Anthony Batarse
as Iraqi Interrogation Sergeant
Mohamad Al-Jalahma
as Bunker 2 Iraqi Rifle Loader
Hillel Michael Shamam
as Bunker 2 Store Room Guard
Joey Naber
as Iraqi Radio Operator
Tony Shawkat
as Oasis Bunker Iraqi Republican Guard
Joseph Abi-Ad
as Oasis Bunker Iraqi Republican Guard
Fahd Al-Ujaimy
as Oasis Bunker Troy's Interrogation
Derick Qaqish
as Oasis Bunker Troy's Interrogation Guard
Hassan Bach-Agha Fadi Sitto
as Oasis Bunker Troy's Republican
Rick Mendoza
as Deserter
Jassim Al-Khazraji
as Oasis Bunker Republican Roof Guard
Haider Alkindi
as Oasis Bunker Fleeing Republican Guard
Kalid Mustafa
as Oasis Bunker Fleeing Republican Guard
Ghazwyn Ramiawi
as Oasis Bunker Fleeing Republican Guard
Raad Thomasian
as Oasis Bunker Fleeing Republican Guard
Wessam Saleh
as Oasis Bunker Fleeing Republican Guard
Brian Bosworth
as Action Star
Donte Delila
as Iraqi Child
Cheryl Rusa
as Iraqi Villager
Dylan Brown
as Iraqi Child
Troy Hartman
as Military Film Actor (uncredited)
Brad Martin
as Military Film Actor (uncredited)
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News & Interviews for Three Kings

Critic Reviews for Three Kings

All Critics (128) | Top Critics (29)

  • A damning yet idealistic satire about the motives behind U.S. foreign policy.

    Aug 25, 2008 | Full Review…
  • The last reel descends into a muddle of trade-offs, heroic about-turns and romanticised rebels, but this is defiant, provocative cinema; Russell may yet prove a film-maker to treasure.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • No, Three Kings is not a great picture, but it is a very good one, perhaps the first feature of merit to come out of the Gulf War.

    Apr 25, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Interesting and occasionally exhilarating.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Russell does so well by his sub-text that the flaws in the text itself become less bothersome. What he is after fundamentally is ... war is insane.

    Jan 1, 2000
  • Three Kings is one of the most exciting Hollywood action films in years, and the best Vietnam movie since Apocalypse Now.

    Jan 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Three Kings

This is quite simply the best anti-war movie since Catch 22. Wild, whacko, irreverent, chaotic, you are never sure what will happen next or where your loyalties lie. The innate utter stupidity of war is beautifully exposed, as are the often all too ordinary motivations of those who participate in it - lust for adventure, fame, promotion, wealth, but also sudden compassion, honesty and reflection. A roller coaster ride of action and thrills with sudden counterpoints of instant horror that make you think and ashamed of yourself for laughing out loud just a moment before. If this doesn't shake some holy beliefs in the truth of what we are told, and the justification for what we are doing, nothing will. Highly recommended! 4 Stars 4-2-14

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


A great war film with flawed, unheroic characters. Captures the mercenary spirit of (some) soldiers which undoubtedly exists but is rarely portrayed in war films. There is a beautiful sense of isolation and desperation depicted in this gritty film.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer


I thought I had previously rated and reviewed this, but I guess not. Directed by David O. Russell, this is a movie based on a true story about three American servicemen during the Gulf War who hatch a plan to make off with a stash of Kuwaiti gold stolen by Saddam Hussein. The three initially decide to make off with the fortune, but the closer they get to finding it, the more they realize the truth and consequences about the role of the U.S. in the part of the world, and the realities of American foreign policy. These revelations have profound impacts on the men, forcing them all to make some tough choices and evaluations. While the set up alone is great, what makes the movie really shine is how ambitious it is in terms of genre classification. It's humorous (at times), quite serious and dramatic at others, and in general a really scathing socio/political satire. Oh eyah, it's also a war film, too. It's a mix that doesn't always work, but manages to in this case, thanks in no small part to the skill of the director. It's not all on him, though. The script is quite great, and very intelligent, the casting is top notch, with the three leads of George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube all delivering very fine work, providing nicely rounded and developed characters. Yes, even Ice Cube (for those who doubt he actually does having acting skills). The action scenes are well done, and don't upstage the meat of the picture, the camerawork and editing are pretty good, and the fact that the film finds a nice balance between entertaining and enlightening is remarkable. Definitely give this one a shot, it's terrific.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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