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The Three Musketeers - on the Screen

Updated on February 20, 2014
Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas


Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) was a French writer best known for historical adventure novels such as - The Three Musketeers (1844), The Count of Monte Cristo (1845) and The Man in the Iron Mask (1847).

Dumas was partly of African descent, his mother was French and his father was the son of a French nobleman and a Haitian slave.

2002 was the bicentennial of Alexandre Dumas' birth and there was a ceremony in Paris honoring the author.

French President, Jacques Chirac in his speech at the ceremony said: "With you, we were D'Artagnan, Monte Cristo, or Balsamo, riding along the roads of France, touring battlefields, visiting palaces and castles—with you, we dream."

This hub looks at movies based on Dumas' The Three Musketeers and it's sequels - 20 Years After and The Man in the Iron Mask.

The Three Musketeers (1921)
The Three Musketeers (1921)
The Three Musketeers (1921) poster
The Three Musketeers (1921) poster

The Three Musketeers (1921) Directed by Fred Niblo. 119mins.

D'Artagnan - Douglas Fairbanks
Athos - Léon Bary
Porthos - George Siegmann
Aramis - Eugene Pallette

Also starring Barbara La Marr, Nigel De Brulier, Boyd Irwin and Adolphe Menjou.

One of Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939) first historical epics of the silent era. Fairbanks was Hollywood's greatest star of the 1920s, starring in blockbusters such as Robin Hood (1922), The Thief of Baghdad (1924) and The Black Pirate (1926). His career went into decline in the 1930s, dying of a heart attack in 1939 aged 56.

IMDB rating 6.9

The Iron Mask (1929)
The Iron Mask (1929)
The Iron Mask (1929) poster
The Iron Mask (1929) poster

The Iron Mask (1929) Directed by Allan Dwan. 103mins.

D'Artagnan - Douglas Fairbanks
Athos - Léon Bary
Porthos - Tiny Sandford
Aramis - Gino Corrado

Also starring William Bakewell, Rolfe Sedan, Dorothy Revier and Nigel De Brulier.

Based on The Man in the Iron Mask which was the last section of Dumas epic historical novel The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later, serialized from 1847-1850 and consisted of 269 chapters!

Douglas Fairbanks reprises his role of D'Artagnan 8 years after The Three Musketeers (1921), it was Fairbanks first talking picture.

IMDB rating 7.4

The Three Musketeers (1939) poster
The Three Musketeers (1939) poster
The Three Musketeers (1939) Lobby card
The Three Musketeers (1939) Lobby card
The Ritz Brothers in The Three Musketeers (1939) Lobby card
The Ritz Brothers in The Three Musketeers (1939) Lobby card

The Three Musketeers (1939) Directed by Allan Dwan. 73mins.

D'Artagnan - Don Ameche
Athos - Douglas Dumbrille
Porthos - Russell Hicks
Aramis - John King

Also starring The Ritz Brothers, Binnie Barnes, Miles Mander, Lionel Atwill and Joseph Schildkraut.

A musical-comedy adaptation of Dumas novel.

The Ritz Brothers - Al, Jimmy and Harry, now almost forgotten, were a popular comedy team of the 30's and 40's, The Three Musketeers was their biggest hit.

IMDB rating 5.7

The Man in the Iron Mask (1939) poster
The Man in the Iron Mask (1939) poster
The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)
The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)

The Man in the Iron Mask (1939) Directed by James Whale. 112mins.

D'Artagnan - Warren William
Athos - Bert Roach
Porthos - Alan Hale
Aramis - Miles Mander

Starring Louis Hayward as King Louis XIV / Philippe, Joan Bennett and Albert Dekker.

James Whale was the celebrated director of Frankenstein (1931), The Invisible Man (1933) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

Oscar Nomination for Best Music (Lud Gluskin & Lucien Moraweck)

IMDB rating 7.1

The Three Musketeers (1948) poster
The Three Musketeers (1948) poster
The Three Musketeers (1948) Lobby card
The Three Musketeers (1948) Lobby card
The Three Musketeers (1948) Spanish poster
The Three Musketeers (1948) Spanish poster

The Three Musketeers (1948) Directed by George Sidney. 125mins.

D'Artagnan - Gene Kelly
Athos - Van Heflin
Porthos - Gig Young
Aramis - Robert Coote

Also starring Lana Turner, June Allyson, Angela Lansbury and Vincent Price as Richelieu..

MGM's lavish Technicolor adventure was it's second biggest hit of the 1940s (no.1 was Meet Me in St. Louis (1944).

An acrobatic Gene Kelly was a memorable D'Artagnan, Douglas Fairbanks Jr was originally considered for the role.

The sinister Richelieu is never referred to as Cardinal in the film in case it offended Roman Catholics.

Athos: To die among friends. Can a man ask more? Can the world offer less? Who wants to live 'till the last bottle is empty? It's all-for one, d'Artagnan, and one for all.

IMDB rating 7.2

The Three Musketeers (1973) poster
The Three Musketeers (1973) poster
Raquel Welch and Michael York in The Three Musketeers (1973)
Raquel Welch and Michael York in The Three Musketeers (1973)

The Three Musketeers (1973) Directed by Richard Lester. 105mins.

D'Artagnan - Michael York
Athos - Oliver Reed
Porthos - Frank Finlay
Aramis - Richard Chamberlain

Also starring Faye Dunaway, Raquel Welch, Simon Ward, Charlton Heston and Christopher Lee as Rochefort.

The full title is - The Three Musketeers: The Queen's Diamonds.

Originally planned to be an epic 3 hour plus movie, the producers decided to cut it in two and release it as two films, The Four Musketeers was released a year later. The actors took the producers to court demanding more pay for appearing in two films instead of one.

Nominated for 5 British Academy Awards - Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Constume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Music Score.

D'Artagnan: [to Constance] I love you and you love me... or if you do not, there's something wrong with you.

Athos: I fight just as well with my left hand. If you find that this places you at a disadvantage, I do apologize.

IMDB rating 7.3

The Four Musketeers (1974)
The Four Musketeers (1974)
The Four Musketeers (1974) poster
The Four Musketeers (1974) poster

The Four Musketeers (1974) Directed by Richard Lester. 108mins.

D'Artagnan - Michael York
Athos - Oliver Reed
Porthos - Frank Finlay
Aramis - Richard Chamberlain

Also starring Faye Dunaway, Christopher Lee, Raquel Welch, Roy Kinnear and Charlton Heston as Cardinal Richelieu.

Based on the last half of Dumas The Three Musketeers (1844).

The full title was - The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge.

Oscar Nomination for Best Costume Design.

D'Artagnan: I love Milady with my head. But my Constance, snatched from my side, I love with my heart.
Athos: You have a conveniently discriminating anatomy.

IMDB rating 6.9

The Man in the Iron Mask (1977) German poster
The Man in the Iron Mask (1977) German poster

The Man in the Iron Mask (1977) Directed by Mike Newell. 100mins

D'Artagnan - Louis Jourdan

Starring Richard Chamberlain as Louis XIV / Philippe, Patrick McGoohan, Jenny Agutter, Ian Holm and Ralph Richardson.

A made for TV movie filmed in actual locations in France.

Nominated for 2 Emmy Awards, Best Writing and Best Costume Design

Phillipe: Back there you called me "my lord", and you risked your own life to save mine. I must understand! What is it you want of me? Who am I?
D'Artagnan: You, my prince, are the true King of France.

IMDB rating 6.6

The Fifth Musketeer (1979) poster
The Fifth Musketeer (1979) poster

The Fifth Musketeer (1979) Directed by Ken Annakin. 115mins.

D'Artagnan - Cornel Wilde
Athos - Jose Ferrer
Porthos - Alan Hale Jr
Aramis - Lloyd Bridges

Also starring Beau Bridges as Louis XIV / Philippe, Ian McShane, Ursula Andress, Sylvia Kristel, Olivia de Havilland and Rex Harrison.

Based on the novel The Vicomte of Bragelonne - Ten Years Later by Dumas, first published in 1847.

Alan Hale Jr plays Porthos, the same role his father Alan Hale played in The Man in the Iron Mask (1939).

IMDB rating 5.2

Kim Catrall and C. Thomas Howell in The Return of the Musketeers (1989)
Kim Catrall and C. Thomas Howell in The Return of the Musketeers (1989)
The Return of the Musketeers (1989) poster
The Return of the Musketeers (1989) poster

The Return of the Musketeers (1989) Directed by Richard Lester. 102mins.

D'Artagnan - Michael York
Athos - Oliver Reed
Porthos - Frank Finlay
Aramis - Richard Chamberlain

Also starring C. Thomas Howell, Kim Cattrall, Geraldine Chaplin and Christopher Lee as Rochefort.

Based on the book "Twenty Years After" by Dumas, first published in 1845.

Followup to Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers (1973) and The Four Musketeers (1974).

Actor Roy Kinnear (Planchet) fell off his horse and broke his pelvis, he was taken to hospital and died of a heart attack the next day. His scenes were finished by a double.

IMDB rating 5.7

The Three Musketeers (1993) poster
The Three Musketeers (1993) poster
Gabrielle Anwar and Tim Curry in The Three Musketeers (1993)
Gabrielle Anwar and Tim Curry in The Three Musketeers (1993)
Sutherland, Platt, Sheen and O' Donnell in The Three Musketeers (1993)
Sutherland, Platt, Sheen and O' Donnell in The Three Musketeers (1993)

Jussac: You Musketeers are under arrest. Are you coming peacefully or do you intend to resist?
Porthos: Oh don't be so stupid, of course we intend to resist! Just give us a moment, all right?
Athos: Five of them, three of us. Hardly seems fair.
Aramis: Maybe we should give them a chance to surrender.
D'Artagnan: Excuse me, but there's four of us.
Athos: It's not your fight. You're not a Musketeer.
D'Artagnan: I may not wear the tunic, but I believe I have the heart of a Musketeer.
Athos: You got a name, boy?
D'Artagnan: D'Artagnan.
Athos: Athos, Porthos, Aramis. Everyone acquainted?
[the four turn round and unsheathe their swords]
Porthos: NOW, we are prepared to resist you!

The Three Musketeers (1993) Directed by Stephen Herek. 105mins.

D'Artagnan - Chris O'Donnell
Athos - Kiefer Sutherland
Porthos - Oliver Platt
Aramis - Charlie Sheen

Also starring Rebecca De Mornay, Gabrielle Anwar, Julie Delpy, Michael Wincott and Tim Curry as Cardinal Richelieu.

Brad Pitt was considered for the role of D'Artagnan, taken by Chris O'Donnell.

Winona Ryder was up for the role of Milady De Winter which went to Rebecca De Mornay.

The film was dubbed "Young Swords" by critics because Sheen and Sutherland had starred in Young Guns (1988).

Cost $30m - Box Office $54m

IMDB rating 6.2

The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) poster
The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) poster
The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)

The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) Directed by Randall Wallace. 132mins.

D'Artagnan - Gabriel Byrne
Athos - John Malkovich
Porthos - Gerard Depardieu
Aramis - Jeremy Irons

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as King Louis XIV / Philippe, Anne Parillaud, Judith Godreche and Peter Sarsgaard.

Despite a critical drubbing the movie was a big success, thanks to DiCaprio's post-Titanic superstardom.

There were many deviations from the original novel, one major change is that in the movie D'Artagnan is revealed to be the father of Louis and Philippe.

Razzie Award Winner for Worst Screen Couple (DiCaprio & DiCaprio)

Louis: D'Artagnan, you will hunt down Porthos, Athos, and Aramis, and bring me their heads, or I will have yours. And as for you, my brother, back to the prison you will go, and into the mask you hate. Wear it 'til you love it! And die in it.

Cost $35m - Box Office $183m

IMDB rating 6.3

The Musketeer (2001) Italian poster
The Musketeer (2001) Italian poster
The Musketeer (2001) poster
The Musketeer (2001) poster

The Musketeer (2001) Directed by Peter Hyams. 104mins.

D'Artagnan - Justin Chambers
Athos - Jan-Gregor Kremp
Porthos - Steve Speirs
Aramis - Nick Moran

Also starring Catherine Deneuve, Mena Suvari, Stephen Rea and Tim Roth.

An unusual entry in the group in that martial arts are used to spice up the sword fights, martial artist Xin Xin Xiong is credited as stunt choreographer.

Cost $40m - Box Office $35m

Rochefort: You have an interesting fighting style. Where did you acquire it?
D'Artagnan: Here and there.
Rochefort: Perhaps there. Certainly not here.

IMDB rating 4.5

The Three Musketeers (2011) poster
The Three Musketeers (2011) poster
The Three Musketeers (2011)
The Three Musketeers (2011)
Milla Jovovich in The Three Musketeers (2011)
Milla Jovovich in The Three Musketeers (2011)

The Three Musketeers (2011) Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. 110mins.

D'Artagnan - Logan Lerman
Athos - Matthew Macfadyen
Porthos - Ray Stevenson
Aramis - Luke Evans

Also starring Milla Jovovich, Orlando Bloom, Christoph Waltz and Mads Mikkelsen as Rochefort.

A stylised adaptation very loosely based on Dumas novel and featuring airships armed with cannons in battle over the skies of 17th century France.

Milla Jovovich is married to the director Paul W.S. Anderson.

The film did well overseas but tanked in the US.

Filmed in 3D

Cost $75m - Box Office $132.2m

Queen Anne: Four against 40? Or was it 400?
Athos: Just 40, Your Majesty... it was an off day.

IMDB rating 5.7

The Three Musketeers (2011) South Korean poster
The Three Musketeers (2011) South Korean poster

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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Another excellent choice Steve! I can only agree with the Pres. of France, we did ride with them and share their adventures and it was always fun to see it on the big screen. Of course some movies were better than others but they were all good. Thank you for your well researched information on a classic author!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Steve Lensman profile image
      Author

      Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England

      Thanks Mary, appreciate the comment and votes. Dumas is one of the great classic authors, read by millions especially in the 19th century. In the 20th century his stories were adapted to film and watched by millions.

      There is an interest in these kind of hubs, my Dracula hub has had a thousand views since I published it a couple of months ago and Tarzan is about to pass 2k. Plus I must admit I enjoy putting these together. :)

      Thanks for posting

    • Tonyx35 profile image

      J Antonio Marcelino 4 years ago from Illinois, USA

      Interesting, The 1993 film (distributed by Walt Disney) and starring Sheen, Sutherland, Platt, O'Donnell has always been my favorite. Musketeers were funny, each of the three had a "cool" solo moment. I really enjoyed the musical score, and Gabrielle Anwar was a plus. Tim Curry played the villain you just wanted to punch.

      That 1973 version has one heck of an "All-Star" cast. Will check that out a some point and probably the 2011 version also. Another great hub +1 Useful, +1 Interesting,

    • Steve Lensman profile image
      Author

      Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England

      Thanks for the comment and votes Tonyx35, much appreciated.

      I watched the Richard Lester films a couple of weeks ago, it's been a while since I saw the 1993 Disney version I have it on DVD. And I wouldn't mind seeing Milla in action again and in 3D.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. A college fencer.

    • Geekdom profile image

      Geekdom 4 years ago

      I knew there were a lot of Three Musketeer Movies but I had no idea there were so many prior to the 1940s. Although a big musketeer fan in both books and film, I am not sure I can bring myself to see the 2011 one.

    • Steve Lensman profile image
      Author

      Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England

      Mhatter99, Geekdom, thanks for commenting on my Musketeer hub, it is most appreciated mon ami.

      Geekdom, you don't want to see lovely Milla spinning around 360 degrees in slow motion while swordfighting four men? Oh dear. :)

      It's funny seeing photo's of Four Musketeers with the caption "The Three Musketeers", blame the author not me. :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      These are extra awesome posters, Steve.....Some of the older ones have so many of the great actors from the classics! This type of movie is one that I enjoy......UP+++

    • Steve Lensman profile image
      Author

      Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England

      Thanks Paula. You can't beat a good swashbuckler. Errol Flynn would have made a great D'Artagnan or Athos but didn't get the chance. Thanks for posting!

    • profile image

      Cogerson 4 years ago

      Nice addition to your hub series. I actually think the Charlie Sheen/Keifer Sutherland 3 Musketeers is the best one....sorry about that Chucky H. I recently saw the new 3D version....and thought that it had way too much Milla J. and not enough of the 3 Musketeers....the benefits of being married to the director. Voted up and interesting.

    • Steve Lensman profile image
      Author

      Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England

      Hello Bruce, thanks for commenting on my Three... no Four Musketeers hub, most appreciated.

      Still trying to figure who Chucky H is that you mentioned, someone in the room with you?

      Highest rated movie here is The Iron Mask which I haven't seen followed by The Three Musketeers (1973). Lowest rated is The Musketeer.

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