A film of the early years of the reign of Elizabeth I of England and her difficult task of learning what is necessary to be a monarch.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 34 wins & 53 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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The Pope
Liz Giles ...
Female Martyr
Rod Culbertson ...
Master Ridley
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Male Martyr
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Storyline

This film details the ascension to the throne and the early reign of Queen Elizabeth the First, as played by Cate Blanchett. The main focus is the endless attempts by her council to marry her off, the Catholic hatred of her and her romance with Lord Robert Dudley. Written by CharmedGirl47

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Declared illegitimate aged 3. Tried for treason aged 21. Crowned Queen aged 25. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

19 February 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen  »

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£166,174 (UK) (2 October 1998)

Gross:

$30,012,990 (USA) (7 May 1999)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Christopher Eccleston and Daniel Craig had previously starred together in Our Friends in the North (1996), and both have played iconic British hero roles: Eccleston as The Doctor and Craig as James Bond. See more »

Goofs

Mary of Guise is seen wearing modern eyeliner and eye shadow throughout the film. It's especially conspicuous when she is having dinner with Walsingham during his visit to Scotland. See more »

Quotes

Lord Robert: For God's sake, you are still my Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: I am not your Elizabeth. I am no man's Elizabeth. And if you think to rule, you are mistaken.
Elizabeth: [to all]
Elizabeth: I will have one mistress here... and no master.
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Connections

Referenced in The Making of 'The Phantom of the Opera' (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Nimrod
from "Enigma Variations"
Composed by Edward Elgar (as Sir Edward Elgar)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Elizabeth could have unfolded in front of me all day and I would have remained enraptured.
15 December 1998 | by (Manchester, UK) – See all my reviews

England. 1555. Henry VIII has snuffed it from gout or syphilis, it depends on who you read, Bloody Mary's got a tumour and the Catholics' greatest fear is Anne Boleyn's daughter Elizabeth. Director Kapur has brought to the screen some of the most intriguing moments in English history and the result is dazzling.

Following recent grandiose French historical epics, such as the glorious Ridicule, Elizabeth more than holds its own as a no-holds barred, gripping English extravaganza. Historians across the land will no doubt pick holes in the accuracy, but it hardly matters.

The opening scene signals the film's intent. Protestant heretics are burnt mercilessly at the grisly stake, accompanied by proclamations that they should burn in Hell. It's clear that England is in a pretty gloomy state and ruled by a humourless zealot, Mary (the ubiquitous Kathy Burke), who is hell-bent on converting or murdering Elizabeth: "My sister was born a whore of that Ann Boleyn."

Cheery Mary rules a poor, remote island that is very likely to become the next possession of the growing empire of Spain. She is surrounded by rebels who want to place the Protestant Elizabeth on the throne. So, Mary gets her trusted Lord Norfolk (Eccleston cuts an impressive presence; you can imagine this man swishing on the battlefield) to arrest Lizzy and dispatch her to the Tower of London.

The camerawork and the pace of this film are breathtaking. Kapur directs with ambitious panache, whilst supplying more than a wink to Coppola's The Godfather in the process. Two scenes in particular reek of the Mafia masterpiece: one in the Vatican, the other a succession of assassinations sparked by the majesty's demand, "let it all be done". Pure Pacino.

If you shimmy past the slightly silly inclusions of the likes of Eric Cantona (the IKEA School of Acting) and Angus Deayton, and the fact that Dickie Attenborough (plays a fussy sidekick who sniffs the Queen's bedsheets and claims, "her body belongs to the State") is starting to resemble an Ewok, the acting is otherwise splendid.

Cate Blanchett not only resembles the great lady, but imparts her with enormous affection (her love of Lord Dudley, played by Fiennes, is tenderly dealt with) and delivers her lines with a steely intelligence, "I do not see why a woman must marry at all" and "I'm no man's Elizabeth" . Her performance is a revelation and if it weren't for Geoffrey Rush she would have stolen every scene. However, the Shine star, playing her demonic sidekick Walsingham, delights in creeping in the shadows and pulling the devilish strings. A positively Machiavellian turn and worthy of another Oscar.

This is a history film made at its very finest and the equal of A Man For All Seasons. Elizabeth could have unfolded in front of me all day and I would have remained enraptured. Intoxicating imagery ("English blood on French colours" the wicked Mary of Guise, Ardant, proclaims), naughty shenanigans, dastardly deeds, an epic tale and a superb cast. Stunning cinema.


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