Everyone knows the classic story, and it is told with a joy and verve in this film. The times are faithfully recreated, it's obvious the makers had a real passion for the era. So many little period details are clustered on screen you have to watch it many times to get the full enjoyment. The film feels like chaos, background action mixing with foreground, the characters on the fringes getting some classic lines as they watch the musketeers and cardinal's guards demolishing the scenery. The fight scenes are a world away from the clean stylised kung fu based scrapping so prevalent nowadays. Instead the duelling often degenerates into brawls, feeling much more real and human than anything before or since (except possibly for THAT scene in Bridget Jones!). The stars of the film evoke their characters perfectly, from Faye Dunaway as the duplicitous Milady to Oliver Reed as the tortured Athos (a signature role for Reed). Michael York is perhaps a little old for D'Artangnan, but he carries the passionate naivety wonderfully. The film is a fabulous blend of comedy and darkness, the two complementing and highlighting each other. It is a perfect adventure film and you should buy it now!
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...
This version of The Three Musketeers is still probably the best of the bunch, that includes the dismal new remake,which is more steampunk than Alexandre Dumas. The Richard Lester directed movie is quite faithfull to the Dumas classic. With a great cast the humour and adventure move along with brilliant pace. The production design and costumes are outstanding, as is the excellent score by Michel Legrand, all in all great fun. The Digtally restored Blu-Ray Trasfer is very good, some outdoor scenes seem a little on the bright side, but this is soon adjusted.
I can't help wondering how much of an influence this film had on the Monty Python team, as it has a similar look (warts and all portrayal of history in exquisite period detail), and sound (much post-dubbing and exaggerated effects) to Holy Grail and Life of Brian. Of course, this is more Carry On than Python, but is still excellent. Performances by Christopher Lee and Frank Finlay in particular are priceless; they obviously have a fine understanding of comedy they are rarely given the opportunity to utilise. The rest of the (formidable) cast are also very likable. It's the perfect Hollywood feel-good film in most respects; plenty of well orchestrated action, a gripping story, and lashings of bawdy slapstick interspersed with witty one liners.
It's release to DVD though is not so worthy. You do have a choice of languages and subtitles, but apart from the trailer, there are no extras. Sound is mono only, which although disappointing isn't quite that bad (it was originally made in mono after all). Image quality is fair; you do have an anamorphic wide-screen transfer, and the raw image appears to have good detail, contrast and colour, but it is unfortunately hiding beneath an unpleasant veil of grain and noise. I've no doubt that with a small amount of work the image could be spectacular - here's hoping for a BRD release sometime soon.
I read this book at the age of 10 and fell in love with its characters, made all the more alive by the basis in fact of the story. I have also seen several versions on TV and via Hollywood right up to date with the current latest rendition. None of them comes up to the quality of this production and its Part 2 - The Four Musketeers. I like the comedic moments that so beautifully offset the dramatic ones, the costumes, the settings and above all, the acting produced by some of the best actors and actresses of the day in their prime. Despite every effort to surpass this version in the ensuing years, it is still by far and away the best one there is and well worth watching.
An all time favorite of mine ... more than enough reviews of the film elswhere without my 2 cents. The reviewer sites are no doubt correct that the potential is there for a better blu-ray transfer, but it's such a wonderful upgrade from the DVD, that I consider that nitpicking. blu-ray.com had indicated that, in spite of the listing saying Region B, it did in fact play on region A players, and they were correct (sigh of relief). Plays fine on my sony blu-ray player, in the U.S.