I first saw this movie on a Saturday afternoon with my three best friends, thirty years ago. We all wanted to be d'Artagnan, but I guess the closest I came was Planchet...
I have no words to convey how much I love this movie and the follow-up, The Four Musketeers. Filmed back-to-back, they are perhaps the last great big-budget, super-cast adventure movies of the 20th Century. They portray 17th-Century France (and England) in terms far more realistic than Gene Kelly's 1948 production, if not entirely true to Dumas's novel.
Michael York is excellent as the young d'Artagnan, newly arrived in Paris with the expectation of following in his father's footsteps as a King's Musketeer. Along the way he encounters the villainous Comte de Rochefort (Christopher Lee), the musketeers Athos (Oliver Reed in possibly his best role), Porthos (the excellent Frank Finlay) and Aramis (a superbly tongue-in-cheek Richard Chamberlain) and most notably the manipulative Cardinal Richelieu (Charlton Heston) and finds himself emroiled in a plot to disgrace the Queen of France involving the Cardinal's agent, Milady de Winter (Faye Dunaway).
With the assistance of his friends and allies, including his loyal and long-suffering servant, Planchet (the late Roy Kinnear) and mistress Constance (Raquel Welch in a perceptive comedic role), d'Artagnan embarks on a mission to retrieve the diamond studs from the Queen's lover, the Duke of Buckingham, and save the Queen's honour and that of France.
The resulting story by George MacDonald Fraser is, quite simply, a rollicking adventure (never thought I'd use that expression) that no-one should miss.
Latterday remakes such as Disney's Kiefer Sutherland - Charlie Sheen effort cannot hold so much as a match, let alone a candle to this epic.
I've waited since the advent of DVD for these movies to appear - extra features or not, they should be part of every collection.
Buy the movies, then read the book - I guarantee you'll be hooked...