Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis Richelieu

Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis Richelieu

Very well, in the name of God.
~ Cardinal Richelieu's famous quote in the 1993 Dsiney movie The Three Musketeers.
Evil is just a point of view.
~ Cardinal Richelieu's famous catchphrase in the 2011 steampunk film The Three Musketeers.

Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal-Duke of Richelieu and of Fronsac, commonly referred to as Cardinal Richelieu (French: Cardinal de Richelieu [kaʁdinal d(ə) ʁiʃ(ə)ljø]), also known as Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis, is a French clergyman, noble and statesman, who serves as the leading main antagonist of the 1894 historical novel The Three Musketeers (French: Les Trois Mousquetaires [le tʁwa muskətɛʁ]) by Alexandre Dumas. he was the King's chief minister, who plots against the Queen in resentment at having his advances rebuffed. In spite of using his position to gain considerable wealth and political influence, "His Eminence" himself was by no mean a plotter nor a traitor and can hardly be regarded as a villain. Dumas describes him as being "36 or 37" though in 1625 Richelieu was 40.


"Is he a man of God, or a man of gold?" This is an appropriate question about the religious leader of France, Cardinal Richelieu. His Eminence is supposed to provide spiritual guidance for the people of France and their King, but instead plots and schemes for money and power and, most of all, to satisfy his sexual desires. It is quite rare to see a man so close to God lusting to be so close to beautiful women, particularly the lovely Queen Anne.

The ruthless Cardinal's self-serving conduct and his association with the wicked Captain Rochefort provide plenty of underhanded resistance against everything King Louis is trying to accomplish in his own country. The Cardinal, meanwhile, hopes to reach an agreement with England's Duke of Buckingham to bring their two countries together under their power. Installed as the religious and political leader of the nation, the Cardinal believes he can be unstoppable. Before that can happen, however, the King's guards have something to say about that.

The Musketeers have served the throne for years, but upon Rochefort's orders to disband the guard, there appears to be no stopping the Cardinal's evil plans. Enter The Three Musketeers: Aramis, Athos, and Porthos. They defy the Cardinal by keeping the Musketeers' spirit alive and together with a young Musketeer wannabe, D'Artagnan, thwart his plans to bring the secret alliance with England to bear. However, the plans are more elaborate than they first believed the Cardinal plans to have the King assassinated as well.

Rushing home to France, the Three Musketeers and D'Artagnan foil the assassination attempt. The Musketeers reunite with their guard brothers to fight off the Cardinal's loyal guards and storm the castle, where the King and Queen are being held. At one point, the Cardinal himself pulls out a gun and shoots Aramis, allowing for an escape attempt. In the end, though, Aramis would return to capture the man of God, and the King himself would punch his lights out.

Cardinal Richelieu admits freely to those he hopes to ensnare how much of a man he is, a man driven by greed, power, and lust. He schemes to get his hands on everything and everyone and does not abide failure or dissent. He is not as charming as he thinks he is, but he certainly is intimidating. And his years in the service of France and God have taught him a thing or two, particularly: you don't want the Musketeers in your way. It is such a pity for him that he could never execute his plans - and his King - in time.

Appearances in other media

As of April 2013, the Internet Movie Database lists 94 films and television programs in which Cardinal Richelieu is a character. Richelieu is one of the clergymen most frequently portrayed in film, notably in the many versions of Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers. He is usually portrayed as a sinister character, but the 1950 Cyrano de Bergerac showed him (in a scene not from Rostand's original verse drama), as compassionate to Cyrano's financial plight, and playfully having enjoyed the duel at the theatre.

Geroge Arliss portrayed as Caridinal Richelieu in the 1935 film The Three Musketeers.

Raymond Massey played Richelieu in Under the Red Robe (1937), based on Stanley J. Weyman's swashbuckling novel of the same title. Likewise an earlier 1923 silent film was produced Under the Red Robe directed by Alan Crosland.

The 1839 play "Richelieu"; Or the "Conspiracy", by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, portrayed Richelieu uttering the now famous line, "The pen is mightier than the sword." The 1935 Cardinal Richelieu, a semi-fictional film treatment of incidents in his career with George Arliss in the role, was based on the play.

Vincent Price played the role of Richelieu in the 1948 Technicolor adventure film The Three Musketeers. Not wanting to risk offending Roman Catholics, MGM ensured that the character was never referred to as a cardinal.

Poet Christopher Logue portrayed Richelieu in the 1971 Ken Russell film The Devils, which is based on Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudun. He is depicted as cruel and scheming, the true power behind the throne, and also as wheelchair-bound, although at the time of the events depicted, Richelieu was not bed-ridden, as he later became. The role was especially created for this film version.

Cardinal Armand Richelieu serves as the main villain of the 1993 action-adventure comedy Disney film The Three Musketeers where he is portrayed by Tim Curry.

Umberto Eco's novel The Island of the Day Before (1995) (L'isola del giorno prima, 1994), a story about a 17th-century nobleman marooned across the international date line.

Michael Praed in the television series The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne (2000).

In the first series of Monty Python's Flying Circus, a surrealist-comic courtroom scene featured Michael Palin playing Cardinal Richelieu as a character witness for the defendant; the character was subsequently shown to be a Cardinal Richelieu impersonator. In a later episode, the cardinal—again played by Michael Palin – is shortly seen doing an impersonation of Petula Clark singing Don't Sleep in the Subway. The opening of the first series also featured the painting "Portrait of Cardinal Richelieu" by Philippe de Champaigne, with the Cardinal Richelieu cut-out riding a unicycle chasing a woman.

Cardinal Richelieu made an appearance in the Dinosaur King anime series' second season for a few episodes as an antagonist.

Cardinal Richelieu's most recent appearances have been in the 2011 film The Three Musketeers where he was played by Christopher Waltz.

The Cardinal appears in the first series of the BBC One series The Musketeers where he was portrayed by Peter Capaldi (who also plays Malcolm Tucker). He had a mistress named Adele whom he later had killed after learning that she was cheating on him with another man (whom he later learned to be Aramis). Sometime before the events of the second series, the Cardinal died and his funeral was attended by the King and the Musketeers whilst his position as First Minister was given to Rochefort. The reason why the Cardinal was killed off was due to Peter Capaldi being unable to continue the role due his commitments to Doctor Who (where he plays The Twelfth Doctor).


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