In an interview published in the March edition of Australia's GQ magazine, Crowe said FBI agents told him of the threat in 2001, in the months before he won a best actor Oscar for his role as Maximus in "Gladiator."
"That was the first (time) I'd ever heard the phrase 'al Qaeda,' Crowe said. "It was about — and here's another little touch of irony — taking iconographic Americans out of the picture as sort of a cultural destabilization plot," he added.
Crowe was born in New Zealand and has a ranch in eastern Australia but made his name in Hollywood.
It was not clear if there were other targets in the plot.
Crowe said he was shadowed by FBI agents after the threat and hired private security guards.