The Man in the Iron Mask

March 13th, 1998


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Still of Gabriel Byrne, Gérard Depardieu, Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich in The Man in the Iron MaskStill of Leonardo DiCaprio and Randall Wallace in The Man in the Iron MaskStill of Gabriel Byrne and Anne Parillaud in The Man in the Iron MaskStill of Leonardo DiCaprio and Judith Godrèche in The Man in the Iron MaskStill of Leonardo DiCaprio and John Malkovich in The Man in the Iron MaskStill of Leonardo DiCaprio in The Man in the Iron Mask

The cruel King Louis XIV of France has a secret twin brother who he keeps imprisoned. Can the twin be substituted for the real king?

Release Year: 1998

Rating: 6.2/10 (55,322 voted)

Critic's Score: 48/100

Director: Randall Wallace

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich

Paris is starving, but the King of France is more interested in money and bedding women. When a young soldier dies for the sake of a shag, Aramis, Athos and Porthos band together with a plan to replace the king. Unknown to many, there is a 2nd king, a twin, hidden at birth, then imprisoned for 6 years behind an iron mask. All that remains now is D'Artagnan, will he stand against his long time friends, or do what is best for his country?

Writers: Alexandre Dumas père, Randall Wallace

Leonardo DiCaprio - King Louis XIV / Philippe
Jeremy Irons - Aramis
John Malkovich - Athos
Gérard Depardieu - Porthos
Gabriel Byrne - D'Artagnan
Anne Parillaud - Queen Mother Anne
Judith Godrèche - Christine (as Judith Godreche)
Edward Atterton - Lt. Andre
Peter Sarsgaard - Raoul
Hugh Laurie - King's Advisor
David Lowe - King's Advisor
Brigitte Boucher - Madame Rotund
Matthew Jocelyn - Assassin
Karine Belly - Wench
Emmanuel Guttierez - King's Friend

Taglines: For the honor of a king. And the destiny of a country. All for one.


Official Website: MGM |

Release Date: 13 March 1998

Filming Locations: Château de Pierrefonds, Pierrefonds, Oise, France

Box Office Details

Budget: $35,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $17,271,450 (USA) (15 March 1998) (3101 Screens)

Gross: $182,968,902 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Louis XIV did have a brother named Philippe, but he was not a twin. He was several years younger.

Anachronisms: In the (young) King Louis XIV's bedroom we can see a portrait of Louis XIV when he was about 50.

Lt. Andre: Musketeers, SALUTE
[they raise flags and draw swords into an arch]

User Review

A film done with pride and conviction...

Rating: 9/10

Without ever attaining indisputable literary merit, Alexandre Dumas, succeeded in gaining a great reputation first as a dramatist and then as a historical novelist, especially for such works as 'The Count of Monte Cristo,' and 'The Three Musketeers.' He was among the first, along with Honoré de Balzac and Eugène Sue, who fully presented a rich, detailed picture of life in early 19th century - France, creating characters of formidable individuality and willpower...

'The Man in the Iron Mask' takes place in 1662, where a spoiled young king rules in decadent luxury while his subjects are starving in the streets... His armies fight unjust wars... His selfish actions result in deep resentment by the people... He is currently under siege by rebellions... His tyrannical disposition prompts the original 'Three Musketeers' to believe that France will never prosper unless a change is made... Our musketeers have all grown into middle age, and their exploits have become legendary...

When the son of Athos is sent to the front lines of battle, and killed the aging 'Three Musketeers' (Athos, Porthos and Aramis ) are forced to haul out their old uniforms into active rebellion against the crown... They come up with a plan to expel the tyrant from his throne... A carefully guarded secret works to their advantage...

Aramis knows of an enigmatic Bastille prisoner, a helpless victim of the king's justice, whose true identity and existence is unknown to most... This mysterious young man has been thrown into loneliness and pain in a dungeon for six years, forced to wear an affixed iron mask so no-one can notice how much he looks like the king...

In a risky maneuver to save France, the 'Three Musketeers' break the title character out of prison, teach him to behave exactly like the king, and then set off to make the 'switch' in a masquerade ball...

As their plan unfolds, they must confront their friend, the great D'Artagan, one-time "fourth Musketeer," now head of the king's bodyguards, who has sworn an oath to protect the king with his life...

DiCaprio plays two characters so distinctly and effectively that you absolutely hate one and love the other...

He is King Louis, a non-caring leader who lets his subjects starve and riot in the streets of Paris... He is a vile ice-hearted seducer mostly interested in bedding attractive young women... He displays, with talent, King Louis' arrogance and cruelty... DiCaprio is also the gentle Philippe, the polar opposite of Louis... Philippe has the heart of a king, with eyes asking too much...

Gerard Depardieu is delightful as the old and weak Porthos, the womanizer, more concerned with the pains of growing older... Porthos feels useless unable even to "straighten his sword" when in the hay with three women...

John Malkovich is the straightforward Athos, now an impulsive widower and an angry father who has his own need for revenge against the King's treachery... Two time Oscar nominee for "Places in the Heart" and "In the Line of Fire," Malkovich makes the point that ideally, they should have a king worthy of their service...

Jeremy Irons is the contemplative Aramis, the justice leader of a silent rebellion.... As the Jesuits oppose Louis' wars, and the starvation that results, Aramis is ordered to discover the true identity of the general of the Jesuit's order and to execute him... In one moment, Jeremy Irons (an Oscar winner for 1990's "Reversal of Fortune"), dignifies the true mission of a Musketeer when he states: 'When we were young men, and we saw injustice, we fought it!'

Gabriel Byrne is the faithful D'Artagnan who carries a mysterious secret with him... His dark romantic secrets are hidden in his sad look... Byrne has the right combination of gravity and flair for the conflicted D'Artagnan, especially in the scene where he placates an angry mob... He projects his character's romantic frustration and his crisis of conscience, and desperately tries to find a balance between his loyalty to the king and his ability to live up to the code of the Musketeers...

Anne Parillaud is the twins' mother, Anne d'Autriche, torn between her passion and her maternal love toward a son completely far from the path of compassion and honor...

Judith Godrèche is the damsel in distress, the beautiful Christine torn between being faithful to her dead love and helping out her poor family by basically selling her body to a lusting king...

The film's authenticity and visual presentation are as glorious in the decadent luxury surrounding the King of France as grotesque in the terrible place occupied by the man in the iron mask...

Randall Wallace (Oscar-nominated for "Braveheart's" script) brings the great palace of Versailles to life with elegance and finesse... The beauty of the gardens defies verbal explanation... The music is beautiful and epic, and the motion picture is done with pride and conviction...

The masked prisoner actually existed in reality... But his identity was never known and it's of little consequence here... The film, however, is not exactly faithful when it comes to historical facts... It has been created for pleasant entertainment purposes... Louis XIV of France, whose great prestige earned him the title of 'the Sun King', ruled France in one of its most brilliant periods and remains the symbol of absolute monarchy of the classic age...