Troy is a 2004 epic historical war drama film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and written by David Benioff.
It is loosely based on Homer’s Iliad in its narration of the entire story of the decade-long Trojan War – condensed into little more than a couple of weeks, rather than just the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon in the ninth year. Achilles leads his Myrmidons along with the rest of the Greek army invading the historical city of Troy, defended by Hector’s Trojan army. The end of the film (the sack of Troy) is not taken from the Iliad, but rather from Quintus Smyrnaeus’s Posthomerica as the Iliad concludes with Hector’s death and funeral.
A battle between the armies of King Agamemnon of Mycenae and King Triopas of Thessaly is averted when the great warrior Achilles, fighting for Agamemnon, defeats Boagrius, Triopas’ champion, in single combat. Thessaly joins Agamemnon’s loose alliance of all the Greek kingdoms.
Prince Hector of Troy and his younger brother Paris negotiate a peace treaty with Menelaus, King of Sparta. However, Paris is having an affair with Menelaus’ wife, Queen Helen, and smuggles her aboard their home-bound vessel. Upon learning of this, Menelaus meets with Agamemnon, his elder brother, and asks him to help take Troy. Agamemnon agrees, as conquering Troy will give him control of the Aegean Sea. Agamemnon has Odysseus, King of Ithaca, persuade Achilles to join them. Achilles, who strongly dislikes Agamemnon, eventually decides to go after his mother Thetis tells him that though he will die, he will be forever glorified.
In Troy, King Priam is dismayed when Hector and Paris introduce Helen, but welcomes her and decides to prepare for war. The Greeks eventually invade and take the Trojan beach, thanks largely to Achilles and his Myrmidons. Achilles has the temple of Apollo sacked, and claims Briseis – a priestess and the cousin of Paris and Hector – as a prisoner. He is angered when Agamemnon spitefully takes her from him, and decides that he will not aid Agamemnon in the siege.
The Trojan and Greek armies meet outside the walls of Troy; during a parley, Paris offers to duel Menelaus personally for Helen’s hand in exchange for the city being spared. Agamemnon, intending to take the city regardless of the outcome, accepts. Menelaus wounds Paris, causing him to cower behind Hector; when Menelaus attempts to kill Paris despite his victory, he himself is killed by Hector. In the ensuing battle, Hector kills Ajax and many Greek soldiers fall to the Trojan defences. On Odysseus’ insistence, Agamemnon gives the order to fall back. He gives Briseis to the Greek soldiers for their amusement, but Achilles saves her. Later that night, Briseis sneaks into Achilles’ quarters to kill him; instead, she falls for him and they become lovers. Achilles then resolves to leave Troy, much to the dismay of Patroclus, his cousin and protégé.
Despite Hector’s objections, Priam orders him to retake the Trojan beach and force the Greeks home; the attack unifies the Greeks and the Myrmidons enter the battle. Hector duels a man he believes to be Achilles and kills him, only to discover it was actually Patroclus. Distraught, both armies agree to stop fighting for the day. Achilles is informed of his cousin’s death and vows revenge. Wary of Achilles, Hector shows his wife Andromache a secret tunnel beneath Troy; should he die and the city fall, he instructs her to take their child and any survivors out of the city to Mount Ida.
The next day, Achilles arrives outside Troy and challenges Hector; the two duel until Hector is killed, and Achilles drags his corpse back to the Trojan beach. Priam, in disguise, sneaks into the camp and implores Achilles to return Hector’s body for a proper funeral. Ashamed of his actions, Achilles agrees and allows Briseis to return to Troy with Priam, promising a twelve-day truce so that Hector’s funeral rites may be held in peace. He also orders his men to return home without him.
Agamemnon declares that he will take Troy regardless of the cost. Concerned, Odysseus concocts a plan to infiltrate the city: he has the Greeks build a gigantic wooden horse as a peace offering and abandon the Trojan beach, hiding their ships in a nearby cove. Despite objections from Paris who requests for it to be burned down, Priam orders the horse be brought into the city after Archeptolemus views it as a gift intended for calming the gods. That night, Greeks hiding inside the horse emerge and open the city gates for the Greek army, commencing the Sack of Troy. While Andromache and Helen guide the Trojans to safety through the tunnel, Paris gives the Sword of Troy to a young boy named Aeneas, instructing him to protect the Trojans and find them a new home. Agamemnon kills Priam and captures Briseis, who then kills Agamemnon. Achilles fights his way through the city and reunites with Briseis. Paris, seeking to avenge his brother, shoots an arrow through Achilles’ heel and then several into his body. Achilles extracts all the arrows but the one in his heel. He then bids farewell to Briseis, and watches her flee with Paris before dying.
In the aftermath, Troy is finally taken by the Greeks and a funeral is held for Achilles, where Odysseus personally cremates his body.
- Produced by units in Malta, Mexico and Britain’s Shepperton Studios, the film features an ensemble cast led by Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, and Orlando Bloom.
- Troy made over $497 million worldwide, temporarily placing it in the #60 spot of top box office hits of all time.
- It received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design and was the 8th highest-grossing film of 2004.
- The city of Troy was built in the Mediterranean island of Malta at Fort Ricasoli from April to June 2003.
- Other important scenes were shot in Mellieħa, a small town in the north of Malta, and on the small island of Comino. The outer walls of Troy were built and filmed in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
- Film production was disrupted for a period after Hurricane Marty affected filming areas.
- The role of Briseis was initially offered to Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai, but she refused it because she was not comfortable doing the lovemaking scenes that were included. The role eventually went to Rose Byrne.
Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Wolfgang Petersen.
- Producer(s): Wolfgang Petersen, Diana Rathburn, and Colin Wilson.
- Writer(s): David Benioff.
- Music: James Horner.
- Cinematography: Roger Pratt.
- Editor(s): Peter Honess.
- Production: Warner Bros. Pictures, Helena Productions, Latina Pictures, Radiant Productions, Plan B Entertainment, and Nimar Studios.
- Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures.
- Release Date: 13 May 2004 (Cannes).
- Running Time: 163 minutes.
- Country: UK, US and Malta.
- Language: English.