Three Kings is a 1999 Gulf War film set during the waning days of Operation Desert Storm. In the film, three US Army reservists, Sergeant First Class Barlow (Mark Wahlberg), Staff Sergeant "Chief" Elgin (Ice Cube), and Private First Class Vig (Spike Jonze), find a map while searching Iraqi POWs that may lead to an Iraqi bunker filled with captured Kuwaiti gold. A retiring Special Forces Major (George Clooney) gets wind of the discovery and leads them on a search for the gold.
The following weapons were used in the film Three Kings:
- 1 Rifles/Carbines
- 2 Handguns
- 3 Machine Guns
- 4 Submachine Guns
- 5 Shotguns
- 6 Other
- 7 Trivia
Colt Model 727
MAJ Archie Gates (George Clooney), the former Delta Force Operator and now soon-to-be-retired Green Beret, is seen armed with an Colt Model 727 carbine in the film and in promotional pictures. This is accurate for a Special Forces soldier during the time period of the film to carry, because the M4 carbine had not yet been adopted.
An AKMSU carbine can be seen in the hands of the Iraqi officer in the "moving of the gold" scene at the Karbala bunker. He is later shot in the leg with his own weapon during a struggle with Major Archie Gates (George Clooney), the incident leading to a shootout between the protagonists and the Iraqis.
The Lee-Enfield rifle is seen being carried and fired by one of the Shiite refugees.
Mauser Gewehr 98 / Mauser Karabiner 98k
Many of the Shiite refugees are seen armed with Mauser 98 bolt-action rifles - both the Gewehr 98 rifle and the Karabiner 98k rifle. The brother of the Shiite refugee with the SMLE is armed with a k98k.
Lee-Enfield No.5 "Jungle Carbine"
A fighter is shown carrying what appears to be a Lee-Enfield No.5 "Jungle Carbine".
Many of the Shiite refugees and rebel Iraqi troops can be seen armed with Mosin-Nagant M91/30 rifles and M1944 carbines. Most notably in the scene where a child rebel uses a scoped version to shoot an Iraqi soldier shortly before the gas scene. He was then killed by the Iraqi tank in the village. It appears that the Mosin Nagant rifle has a folding bayonet. Some inconsistencies are present with the rifle in the scene (Notably the boy has the rifle seemingly stuck out too far in some shots). It appears as if a scoped M44 was used in the scene and the sequence was then filmed again with a M91/30 Sniper and shots were mixed together.
The AKM can be seen throughout the movie in use by Iraqi forces. After the accident, MAJ Gates, SSG Elgin, PFC Vig, and several other refugees use these weapons as well.
The Beretta 92FS can be seen throughout the movie as well. Used by SFC Troy Barlow (Mark Wahlberg), SSG Chief Elgin (Ice Cube), PFC Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze), MAJ Gates (George Clooney), as well as several other characters. When raiding the Karbala bunker, Chief pistol-whips an Iraqi soldier with his Beretta, causing him to accidentally fire the weapon since he had his finger on the trigger. The stray round thankfully doesn't harm anyone, Gates chastising him for his lack of firearm handling proficiency.
The Thunder 5 is the peculiar-looking "big revolver" carried by PFC Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze). He uses it throughout the movie, but loses it when he is shot. As the revolver obviously is not Army-issue, Vig is seen receiving (in a deleted scene) the weapon inside a chocolate bunny from his parents. He specifically calls it a Thunder 5, and it shoots .410 shotgun shells and .45 Long Colt cartridges.
The Makarov PM pistol can be seen being used by Iraqi Officers. Maj. Gates also disarms a soldier who was carrying one and later gives one to SFG Barlow (Mark Wahlberg) to confront the Iraqi soldier who was his torturer.
An Iraqi officer points a vintage Nagant M1895 revolver in the face of Adriana Cruz (Nora Dunn) to deter her from wanting her video tape back. (The character of Cruz is likely inspired by real-life journalist Christiane Amanpour).
When Gates is seen working as a Hollywood military adviser, he is seen showing an action star how to disarm an enemy of what appears to be a CZ 52.
The M60 machine gun is seen mounted on top of the Humvee, and is fired a few times during the confrontation between the main characters and the Iraqi soldiers at the Karbala bunker. The same Humvee-mounted M60 machine gun struck the windscreen of a van driven by SFC Troy Barlow (Mark Wahlberg) after the Humvee ran over a land mine and exploded.
The Browning M2HB is seen mounted on a UH-1 Huey Helicopter.
During the mission to rescue Barlow from the Iraqis, one of the Iraqis can be seen with an RPK light machine gun, which he discards when fleeing from the ruse of Saddam's arrival.
During the rescue, an Iraqi helicopter arrives, firing its M134 Minigun.
A DShK 12.7mm Soviet Heavy Machine Gun is seen mounted atop the Iraqi tank. It should be noted that the T-72 tank, which the vehicle in the film is supposed to simulate, is normally armed with an NSV heavy machine gun, not a DShK.
Heckler & Koch MP5A3
When Gates is seen on a movie set, Heckler & Koch MP5A3's are carried by some of the actors portraying commandos.
A Remington 870 with a sawed-off barrel and stock can be seen in one of the flashback scenes where Conrad Vig is blasting away at objects arranged in a makeshift shooting range during his civilian life.
Type 69 RPG
The Type 69 RPG launcher, fitted with a PGO-7 scope, can be seen used by Iraqi soldiers in two scenes; first to blow up a tanker truck full of milk at the Karbala bunker, then to destroy one of the cars in the convoy pretending to be "Saddam’s” entourage.
An Iraqi T-72 tank is seen arriving at the bunker. Because the production was filmed in Arizona, the tank is the same one seen in the film Red Dawn (1984) and Rambo III that was manufactured by Veluzat Armored Vehicles out of Newhall, California.
Bullet Wound Description
In a very rare un-Hollywood moment, MAJ Gates (George Clooney) explains what a bullet does, when it enters a human body. His finger, which he uses to point at SFG Barlow as a demonstration, seems to “shoot” a 9x19mm bullet. Gates explains penetrating abdominal trauma accurately; the abdomen has a number of organs with large blood supplies, and several which accommodate normally benign bacterial colonies that can become severe infections outside them.
Three Kings does provide some interesting military details in regards to the first Gulf War.
Major Gates' appearance
MAJ Archie Gates (George Clooney) is a Special Forces officer, who appears to have been in Delta Force as well. Also, his patches, skill tabs, and general appearance is exactly what a SF soldier would have. He uses the Colt M727, which Delta uses, as seen in the film Black Hawk Down.
Major Gates' hand to hand combat techniques
MAJ Gates also uses the hand-to-hand combat that is taught to Special Forces as well, as seen here when he disarms an Iraqi soldier who has a knife.
While it may look unusual, these are accurate representations of the "surrender" cards that the US forces dropped over Iraqi forces during Operation: Desert Storm.
In this deleted scene, the characters confront a fake bunker, but they spread out properly, using hand signals and tactics (Clooney and the other actors underwent extensive training in military tactics before filming commenced).