Dangerous Beauty (1998)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Romance  |  20 February 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 11,861 users  
Reviews: 113 user | 37 critic

A Venetian courtesan becomes a hero to her city, but later becomes the target of an inquisition by the Church for witchcraft.

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2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Serafino Franco
Elena Franco
Minister Ramberti
Grant Russell ...
Francesco Martenengo


In 16th century Venice, courtesans enjoy unique privileges: dressed richly in red, they read, compose poetry and music, and discuss affairs of state with the men who govern the Republic. When Veronica Franco comes of age, she cannot marry Marco Venier, whom she loves, because she is well born but penniless. Her choice: cloister or courtesan. She steels her heart, and with beauty and intelligence becomes the best. She's a heroine when she helps convince France to aid Venice in war with Turks, but when plague descends, the Church charges her with witchcraft. At her inquisition, she must match wits with an old rival, speak for all women, and call courage from Venier. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A life without compromise. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some scenes of strong sexuality, and for nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 February 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Courtesan  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$105,989 (USA) (20 February 1998)


£59,685 (UK) (30 April 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The alternate title for this movie, "The Honest Courtesan", comes from the term 'cortigiana onesta' which denoted a courtesan who, while sex may or may not have been part of her obligations, was paid mainly to be a companion for intellectual stimulation and/or her poetic or musical talent. See more »


During the love scene with Marco, his smallpox vaccination scar is clearly visible on his left upper arm. See more »


Orator: Citizens of Venice! Look around you now at the disease and deaths that have taken over our once beautiful city, and tell me this plague is not a punishment from God! We are surrounded by harlots and courtesans! We must cast out those who tempt us for we are a city of shame of fornication and carnal practices that defy description. We will go the way of Sodom and Gomorrah and become dust in the sands of time!
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La Morisque
from "Dancerie"
Composed by Tylman Susato
Edizione L'Oiseau Lyre
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User Reviews

A Feast of Beauty, Charm & Wit
8 August 1999 | by See all my reviews

While there have been several recent films about courageous women of the past whether true or imaginary, Dangerous Beauty, a quality effort with individuality, is a welcome addition to this group.

A story of some historical sweep, wit and romance, we are first drenched in the sunlight and beauty of Venice. As the film builds I was impressed by the talent, charm and strength of the hero, Veronica Franco, poet and courtesan.

Through two amazing events she saves Venice twice first by getting help to defend itself from invasion and later by standing up for its spirit of independence. Intertwined with this is a touching romance made bitter sweet by the pressures of arranged marriages, the terrible limitations upon women and the twisted power of envy.

This film works on many levels, the photography and music are top notch as are the settings and costumes. The acting is fine including the main roles played by Catherine McCormack and Rufus Sewell. (Just don't expect Blanchette and Joseph Fienes.)

If you like historical dramas with romance, intrigue and lovely scenery then I strongly recommend Dangerous Beauty.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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