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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
Paul Fox ...
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:

Absolute power demands absolute loyalty. 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:

$25,000,000 (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

One of three occasions in his film career where John Gielgud played a pope. The other two were The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968), where he played the fictional Pope Pius XIII, and The Scarlet and the Black (1983), where he played the real-life Pope Pius XII. See more »

Goofs

Two of Elizabeth's ladies in waiting in the film are called Lettice Howard and Isabel Knollys. In fact Lettice Knollys, Elizabeth's first cousin once removed was one of her ladies in waiting. Knollys went on to marry Robert Dudley. See more »

Quotes

Sir Francis Walsingham: [referring to Elizabeth] Her Majesty rules with the heart... not with the head.
Mary of Guise: [smiles] Hm, I understand. It is hard for a woman to forget her heart.
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Connections

Referenced in The Gift: A Look Inside (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Requiem Aeternam
from "Requiem"
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Queen Blanchett
13 January 2008 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

The Academy Awards ceremony of 1999 angered many people: Shakespeare in Love, albeit a very smart and funny film, robbed the superior Saving Private Ryan of the Best Picture Oscar; Roberto Benigni beat Edward Norton in the Best Actor category (though it was the Italian star's behavior, rather than his performance, that irritated those attending the event); and Gwyneth Paltrow, who wasn't actually bad in Shakespeare, walked away with the Best Actress award, depriving Cate Blanchett of the recognition she should have received for her revelatory work in Elizabeth.

This film, the first in what the director hopes will be a trilogy (the second installment was released in 2007), covers the early years of Elizabeth I's reign, from her harsh upbringing to the decision to call herself "the Virgin Queen". To describe her situation as tough is an understatement: she was a Protestant monarch in a largely Catholic kingdom, several covert groups wanted her dead and foreign sovereigns kept asking for her hand in marriage, without ever succeeding, for the only man she loved was also the only one she couldn't have.

Conspiracies and unhappy romances: two unusual ingredients for a period drama. And that is exactly why the film succeeds: in the mind of director Shekhar Kapur, this is not the usual costume film where events are observed with a static eye and what might be perceived by some as excessive slowness (Quentin Tarantino's infamous rant about "Merchant-Ivory sh*t" is aimed at those productions); instead, we get a lively, vibrant piece of work, with the camera sweeping through the gorgeous sets and leering at the exquisite costumes while recounting the grand story. And what a story: the thriller aspect aims to please viewers who find the genre a bit lacking in the tension department, whereas the Queen's doomed love affair with Joseph Fiennes' Earl of Leicester (a plot element to which the BBC miniseries from 2005, starring Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons, is a sort of sequel) is the polar opposite of the sanitized, passionless romantic tales that tend to feature in other period films.

Good-looking technique and strong storytelling would, however, be useless if the title role wasn't played by an equally great actress, and Pakur found the perfect Elizabeth in Blanchett: an odd choice she may have seemed (she was a complete unknown in Hollywood prior to being cast in this movie), but the performance she delivers is nothing short of astonishing. Doubtful, determined, passionate, naive, heartbroken, firm and charismatic - she is quite simply the best on-screen incarnation of Elizabeth in the long history of biopics. The supporting cast (Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccleston, Richard Attenborough) is also excellent, as expected from British and Australian thespians, but it is Blanchett who dominates the entire picture. Shame the Academy didn't take notice.


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What's with the the Pope's letter to Norfolk? apm_bay
Is it just me or is this movie weird?! darylUK
Robert wanted Elizabeth assassinated? jimrm1
Edited Version for Classroom Use? gbeasley1
Evil? odinsmystress
Why Walsingham too loyal to elizabeth? mangkook
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