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The Man in the Iron Mask

4.2 out of 5 stars 638 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

It has been many years since Aramis, Athos, Porthos and d'Artagnan fought together as the bravest and the best of the King's Royal Guards, known as The Musketeers. It is 1660 and France is starving. The once great King has been succeeded by his arrogant and cruel heir, King Louis XIV (DiCaprio). While at the Bastille, a mysterious prisoner has lived for nearly a decade encased in an iron mask. To save a nation, the Musketeers must reunite and embark on their most dangerous mission ever: to free the prisoner and unlock the secret of his identity. Only through this will they rebuild the kingdom.


Footnotes in movie books are likely to reduce this swashbuckling adventure down to a simple description: it was the first movie to star Leonardo DiCaprio after the phenomenal success of Titanic. As such it automatically attracted a box-office stampede of Leo's young female fans, but critical reaction was deservedly mixed. Having earned his directorial debut after writing the Oscar-winning script for Mel Gibson's Braveheart, Randall Wallace wrote and directed this ambitious version of the often-filmed classic novel by Alexandre Dumas. DiCaprio plays dual roles as the despotic King Louis XIV, who rules France with an iron fist, and the king's twin brother, Philippe, who languishes in prison under an iron mask, his identity concealed to prevent an overthrow of Louis' throne. But Louis' abuse of power ultimately enrages Athos (John Malkovich), one of the original Four Musketeers, who recruits his former partners (Gabriel Byrne, Gérard Depardieu, and Jeremy Irons) in a plot to liberate Philippe and install him as the king's identical replacement. Once this plot is set in motion and the Musketeers are each given moments in the spotlight, the film kicks into gear and offers plenty of entertainment in the grand style of vintage swashbucklers. But it's also sidetracked by excessive length and disposable subplots, and for all his post-Titanic star power, the boyish DiCaprio just isn't yet "man" enough to be fully convincing in his title role. Still, this is an entertaining movie, no less enjoyable for falling short of the greatness to which it aspired. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • Alternate mask prototypes and conceptual drawings
  • 8-page booklet featuring trivia, production notes and a revealing look at the making of the movie

Product Details

  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Gérard Depardieu, Gabriel Byrne
  • Directors: Randall Wallace
  • Writers: Randall Wallace, Alexandre Dumas père
  • Producers: Randall Wallace, Alan Ladd Jr., Paul Hitchcock, René Dupont, Russell Smith
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: January 31, 2006
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (638 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792839137
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,884 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Man in the Iron Mask" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I don't know why I did not see the 1998 version of Man in the Iron Mask while it played in theaters. In a way I'm glad I didn't see it then - I surely would have embarrassed myself, because it would not have occurred to me that I would need a half-box of Kleenex at the end! I finally watched the movie in my own living room when it came to HBO several years ago, but while I enjoyed the movie at the time, it did not leave me with the urgent desire to see it again. However, I did watch the movie again recently, and now for some unexplainable reason, I can't seem to get enough of it. I have the DVD, and it is the movie I most often reach for on a quiet evening of lousy television.

Those who are expecting a faithful adaptation of the book will come away sorely disappointed, and if that is their measure of the movie, they will do best to avoid this one. However, those who love the characters, who don't mind seeing new adaptations and interesting plot twists, and who love rich costumes and set designs will find this movie wonderfully entertaining. And that is what it is all about, isn't it? Entertainment.

I have read many reviews regarding this movie, and am puzzled, even dismayed at times, by some of the criticisms levied at various aspects of it. Some people have complained about the dialogue in the movie, calling it "flowery", but truthfully I loved the fact that Randall Wallace did not modernize it. So many new films and TV series are "dumbing down" the dialogue of period pieces to make them more compatible with today's manner of speaking. I applaud Mr. Wallace for keeping the dialogue consistent with how it likely would have been spoken in the 17th century.
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Format: DVD
I know why I like this movie and it is simply because "The Man in the Iron Mask" does for swordplay movies what "Space Cowboys" did for space movies. It allowed a bunch of older actors to have fun in parts usually reserved for the younger set. I can just imagine John Malkovich's eyes lighting up at the thought of somebody asking him to play one of the Three Musketeers (Athos). The same goes for Jeremy Irons (Aramis), Gerard Depardieu (Porthos) and Gabriel Byrne (D'Artagnan). The key line for me in the movie is when Lieutenant Andre (Edward Atterton) points to D'Artagnan and says "All of my life all I ever wanted to be was HIM." But you can substitute any one of the Musketeers in that statement. I just cannot imagine any Hollywood actor of my age turning down this script. You get to be one of the Three Musketeers!
So I am onboard for the fun. This is a solid "B" movie and I do not care that Leonardo DiCaprio is the big name at the top of the cast list. He is a talent actor, but as in "William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet" he once again shows he does not have a feel for the diction of costume drama; but his Phillippe is a much richer performance than his King Louis. Yes, I can list lots of other problems with this film. Depardieu and Judith Godreche as Christine are the only ones running around with "real" French accents for one thing. But the film is, all things considered, fairly faithful to the Alexandre Dumas novel (by Hollywood standards) until the final act. I actually liked the "twist" by writer-director Randall Wallace and was not bothered that the survival rate of the Musketeer quarter is the exact opposite in the film that it was in the novel.
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Format: VHS Tape
The only reason I rented this video is because the new releases I wanted to see were checked out. To begin with, I'm not a big fan of period pieces featuring performers speaking in an accent appropriate for their role. Even if the performer masters a particular dialect, I still find it a distracting affectation. Also, a little of one accent goes a long way, especially if you're not too fond of a particular accent; I like a french accent well enough, but am still glad the whole cast didn't speak in one. I found it refreshing that the performers in this film weren't required to speak in a foreign accent, or more precisely, an accent foreign to them. I don't think it took anything away from their characters' authenticity; all the actors were very convincing, even moreso, without an affected accent.
Since I'm not a big fan of swashbucking, action type movies or romantic movies, I wasn't attracted to the subject matter of this movie, nor to Leonardo DiCaprio's face on the jacket (although I'm not on the Leonardo-bashing bandwagon; I don't think he deserves all the bashing he gets). I hadn't even heard of Gabriel Byrne or the supporting actresses, but had seen Malkovich, Irons and Depardieu enough to know there would be quality acting in this film. So, having grown bored with browsing, I rented it, having no idea that I was in for such a pleasant surprise which would bring about a few first time experiences for me.
My first "first" was that I wanted to see it again - and again & again! I don't ususally want to see a movie again (especially within a short period of time), but this movie more than just impressed me, it enchanted me. I thought every performer in it, even those with bit parts, was outstanding -- yes, including Leonardo DiCaprio.
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