NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by dassempiowho says... "The movie is really "inspired" by the Iliad, Mr. Petersen has made some alterations which do not subtract to the beauty of the movie"
Movie starts with the ancient map of Greece showing the different kingdoms. Text chronicles how Agamemnon has unified Greece under one banner. With Achilles, the greatest of the Greeks fighting for Agamemnon, one kingdom after another has fallen. The last kingdom standing is Thessaly, at the northern part of Greece.
At Thessaly, the Thessalian army is dwarfed by the numbers of the allied Greek army. The Thessalian king and Agamemnon (Brian Cox) meet at the middle of the two armies. Agamemnon offers a single combat between the greatest warriors of each army, to prevent a "massacre" of the Thessalians. The winner will decide the fate of the war. The greeks will go home, or Thessaly will become under Agamemnonís rule. The Thessalian king agrees, calling a warrior the size of Jermaine O'Neal (Indiana pacers) to the great cheers of the Thessalians. Agamemnon calls for Achilles, who was not there. A boy dispatched earlier goes back to the Greek camp to call Achilles in his tent. Achilles (Brad Pitt) has overslept, after spending the night with two women.
He prepares for battle while the boy tells him of the fearsome Thessalian warrior waiting for him. Achilles tells the boy, "Being afraid will make no one remember your name."
Achilles arrives at the battle where Agamemnon gives him a few choice words. Achilles then charges the giant Thessalian, who throws a javelin. Achilles, not stopping his charge, blocks the missile, leaps into the air and strikes the warrior near the base of his neck, instantly killing him. Achilles then walks across the front of the Thessalians shouting if there are no other challengers. He is met with silence. The Thessalian king then offers his scepter to Achilles, who does not take it but disdainfully tells him to give it to Agamemnon.
In Sparta, King Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson) hosts a peace pact with the Trojan princes Hector (Eric Bana) and Paris (Orlando Bloom). Helen (Diane Kruger), the queen, goes upstairs at the start of the party, when Menelaus start carousing with one of the dancers. Paris, stealthily follows her, but is noticed by Hector, his brother.It seems that the two are already lovers for some time. Paris and Helen decide to return together to Troy, since with the peace treaty, the Trojan army in Sparta will sail back to Troy for good. While at sea, Paris reveals to his brother what he has done, to Hector's dismay. Hector's first instinct was to return Helen. Paris offers to return with her, and probably die with her. Hector then reluctantly countermands his initial order and stay on course to Troy.
Menelaus goes to his older brother Agamemnon, who agrees with that they will go to Troy to bring Helen back, if only just to kill her personally. Agamemnon, privately with king Nestor, thinks it is a good excuse to conquer troy and add its land to Greece. He dispatches Odysseus (Sean Bean), king of Ithaca, and Achilles' friend, to persuade Achilles to go to troy. the greatest war of Greece needs its greatest warrior intones Nestor.
On Mycenea, Achilles is training his young cousin Patroculus (Garrett Hedlund), in swordfighting. Patroculus is good, but greatly pales in comparison to Achilles. Odysseus arrives and persuades both cousins to join the Greek army, with Achilles admonishing Odysseus to refrain from using his tricks on Patroculus. Odysseus replies, "One uses the gifts god gave to men" War was to Achilles and brains were to Odysseus.
Achilles consults his mother, Thetis (Julie Christie), on whether to join the Greek army. She replies, "If you stay, your name will be remembered as long as you have descendants, but if you go you will never return to Greece but your name will be remembered forever." Next scene shows Achilles aboard his ship, one of the thousand going to Troy.
At Troy, the returning warriors are given a heroes welcome. At King Priamís court, Priam (Peter O'Toole), welcomes all, including Helen and gives a brave face. The brothers rejoice to see their cousin, Briseis, a temple acolyte. Afterward, alone privately with Hector, Priam wants to send Helen back to Greece. Hector tells him that Paris has finally found his true love, and sending Helen back is useless. Hector knows that Agamemnon has his excuse to wage war on troy, something that Agamemnon wanted to do for a long time and there will be no stopping him. The Trojans prepare for war, fortifying their beaches. Hector leads them, after spending the night with his wife Andromache (Saffron Burrows) and his infant boy. Paris joins them after spending the night with Helen. Helen refuses to abandon Troy for it will be useless, they will still be hunted down and Troy will still be destroyed by the to spite them.
Achilles leads his ship first to the Trojan beach. Agamemnon asks Nestor, "will he take the beach with just 50 men?" Achilles spurs his men on, but holds Patroculus back, for he is not yet a Myrmidon and he is to guard the ship. Achilles lands with his men, the Myrmidons, amidst a rain of arrows. They close ranks and form a single shield as they advance to the enemy positions. At close range, they break ranks and take the beach before any other Greek ship has landed. Aboard one of the ships, the giant Ajax (Tyler Mane), take the oars to hasten to join the battle. On the beach, Achilles and his men sack a Trojan temple of Apollo, the sun god patron of the Trojans, kill the priest and take his acolyte. Hector, rides to the temple with some men, Achilles throws a javelin which hits a rider so hard he is thrown off his horse. Hector, amazed, continues to the temple. He sees and follows Achilles where his men fall to an ambush by the Myrmidons. Achilles sends Hector home, saying it ! is too early in the day to kill princes. Hector, all alone, rides back to the city. The Greeks have taken the beaches of Troy.
At Priam's court, the kings advisers bet that they will defeat the Greeks, no army has ever breached the walls of troy. A seer reads an omen that foretells victory, which Hector mocks. He tells them of the Greek champion who throws men off their horses with a javelin. Paris offers to fight Menelaus in single combat to spare the city from war. It was reluctantly accepted.
At the Greek camp, Achilles find Briseis (Rose Byrne), the temple acolyte, was brought to his tent as his prize of war. Achilles treats her well, saying she is the only Trojan that need not fear him. Achilles was "requested" by Agamemnon to attend the victory party. Achilles arrives in Agamemnon's tent where he finds the other kings giving gifts to commemorate the victory of the "King of Kings." Seeing Achilles, Agamemnon dismisses everyone. Odysseus provides some good advice to Achilles before leaving. Agamemnon impresses to Achilles that kings, not soldiers, win wars. Achilles is simply not impressed. Achilles then tells Agamemnon to pick among the objects taken from the temple inside Achilles' tent. Agamemnon shows him that he already has, Briseis was taken to Agamemnon's tent. Achilles would have massacred the soldiers were not for Briseis saying that she would not let anyone die for her. Sulking, Achilles tells his soldiers to stand down and prepare to leave for Greece.
In the morning, soldiers with tower shields guard the gates of troy. Archers stand on the top of the walls. Priam, with Andromache and Helen, have a royal box for themselves. A multitude of Greeks swarm near the gates, as a nervous Priam watches. As custom, the leaders of the opposite sides meet at the middle. Agamemnon tells Hector, for troy to survive, Helen must be restored to Menelaus and troy be made a vassal of Greece. Hector disagrees. Paris offers single combat for Helen. Menelaus secretly tells Agamemnon to agree, after he kills Paris Agamemnon was to start the attack.
Menelaus throws his shield aside when he sees an inexperienced opponent facing him. Paris was beaten soundly. Threatened with the sword, he changes his mind about dying for Helen and clings to Hector's feet (a universal sign of sanctuary). Menelaus mocks Helen of her choice and orders Hector to stand aside. Hector disagrees, saying the contest is over, Menelaus is victorious. Menelaus tries to attack Paris but meets his end at Hector's blade (this is different in the Iliad where Menelaus lived). Agamemnon attacks but was slowed down by the foot soldiers. Achilles, with the unarmed Myrmidons, watches from a hill, muttering strategies that Agamemnon should be doing but does not. When in range of the archers, arrows fly to start decimating the Greeks. The giant Ajax was slain by Hector in a one-on-one combat. Agamemnon, following Odysseus' plea, calls for a retreat. Round two for Troy.
Back at camp, Agamemnon follows Odysseus' advice and returns Briseis to Achilles. Achilles rescues her from some of Agamemnon's soldiers in time. At Achilles' tent, he receives her but still prepares to leave for Greece. This is after being influenced by the actions of Briseis. Briseis is unable to kill him and they make love (not war). Patroculus was dismayed of the "lets go home"order but still unable to convince his cousin to fight.
At Priam's court, great cheers were sounded for the victory. Only Hector gave a gloomy opinion, he has observed that Achilles and the Myrmidons did not join the battle and to attack the Greeks now would be folly. Priam, swayed by his seer's prediction of victory, decides to attack the Greek ships at night.
The Trojans, under cover of darkness, got close enough to the Greek ships to start a fiery attack on them. Flaming arrows dotted the front of the Greek camp. Giant balls of twine was rolled and caught fire as the balls rolled over the arrows. The balls continued rolling until some had hit targets. Some Greek ships and tents were damaged.
In the morning, the Greek army awaken to a shout from Achilles' tent, Achilles has donned his armor and the Myrmidons were following their leader's battle cry. The Trojans meet the Greeks where Achilles and Hector face each other in combat. The fighting stops as soldiers witness the combat. After a series of moves and thrusts, Hector slices Achilles' throat and Achilles goes down (unbelievable). He kneels over Achilles body and removes the helmet. It was Patroculus who was inside the armor! Dismayed Hector plunges his sword in the chest of Patroculus to end his suffering. He tells Odysseus, "enough fighting for one day". Both armies retreat and Odysseus brings Patroculus body back to camp.
Outside Achilles tent, his second in command calls out to Achilles from a safe distance. Achilles goes out and sees in the Myrmidons signs of recent battle. After accusing his second of usurping his command, he was told that they were all fooled by Patroculus with the armor, the sound of his voice and some of his moves (which was taught by Achilles). Achilles goes berserk and decides to kill Hector, despite Briseis saying that her cousin was a good man. Agamemnon sees this death as "The boy saving the war."
Back at troy, Hector realizes his end is near. He shows Andromache a secret tunnel leading outside the city. He tells his wife, he is not long for this world and without him, troy will fall soon. Helen sees Paris at archery training (Legolas?). Paris wants to make up for shaming his city.
In the morning, Achilles (after burning Patroculus) sets out to the gates of troy alone. He shouts Hector's name again and again. Hector bids farewell to his family before meeting Achilles. He implores Achilles that a pact be made on the burial of the body of the loser but Achilles would have none of it. "There is no pact between men and lions". They fight with Hector getting the worse of it. He even falls backward over a stone but Achilles waited for him to stand up. "I will not let a stone steal my glory." Hector manages a hit on Achilles armor before falling. Achilles then drags Hectors body back to the Greek camp where Briseis cries over the deed.
At night Achilles is surprised by a hooded visitor in his tent who kneels down and kisses his hands. It was Priam! In Greek tradition, Priam by kissing Achilles hands, was also guilty of the death of Hector. He begs Achilles to give him the body of Hector for proper burial. Achilles agrees and sends Briseis to Priam, free. Achilles also offers a cease-fire for twelve days, as accordance to the mourning traditions of Greece and troy.
Agamemnon is furious when he learns of the deal but cannot do anything. Odysseus still cautions that, despite Hector's death, the walls of troy is still unassailable. At a campfire, Odysseus watches a man carving a toy horse to give to his son upon returning and gives him an idea. Men start collecting wood as Agamemnon remarked to Odysseus, You have found a way for the Trojans to invite you in"
In the morning, a rider gallops to the Trojan gates shouting good news. The Greek ships have left! All that was in the camp was a giant wooden horse. The seer says the Greeks built it as an offering to Poseidon the sun god for a safe journey home. Paris wants to burn it but was overruled by the seer who made Priam to take it inside troy. The Trojans celebrated the end of the war, drinking, with only Paris gloomy. "As if they have not lost a prince". A Trojan rider sees the greek ships hiding but falls to a hail of arrows before he can tell anybody about it.
In the deep of the night, the horse began to unravel; Greek commandos were inside and started to attack the city, led by Odysseus and Achilles. Opening the gates, the Greek army surprised the Trojans who were overwhelmed. Priam, watching from a tower, watched his city burn and Apollo's monuments inside his palace tumble to the ground with the help of the Greeks. The Greeks finally put an end to Priam's litany of insults and complaints.
Achilles meanwhile is racing through the city, but he is not killing anyone! He is looking for Briseis to save her from the massacre. Andromache leads Helen and others to the secret tunnel Paris gives the sword of troy to Aeneas (who will someday start Rome but that's another movie) then returns topside.
Agamemnon, finds Briseis in Apollo's temple (where else?). As he was musing on what to do to her, Briseis strikes him down with a dagger (not in the Iliad). As Agamemnon falls, his soldiers try to kill Briseis who is saved by Achilles. As the two reunite, Paris shoots an arrow to Achilles' heel (shades of Legolas) despite Briseis shouts of NO! Paris then finishes off Achilles with a couple of more shots. Achilles, before dying, added that he has found peace at last thanks to Briseis urges her to escape with Paris. The Greeks come upon dead body of Achilles.
Final scene shows Odysseus burning Achilles' body in a funeral pyre. A voice over tells of the time in the future where men will refer to having lived in the days of Achilles and Hector tamer of horses.