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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.



2,465 ( 275)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 34 wins & 53 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


Absolute power demands absolute loyalty. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

19 February 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen  »

Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£166,174 (UK) (2 October 1998)


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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


As well as both having Queen Elizabeth as a main characters in both movies, Shakespeare in Love (1998) also shared cast members Geoffrey Rush and Joseph Fiennes with this film. Interestingly enough, they were both nominated for Best Picture in 1999, and Shakespeare in Love was the victor. See more »


Robert Dudley recites Sir Philip Sidney's sonnet "My true love hath my heart" to Elizabeth in a boat. This sonnet was not written until at least 1580, about 20 years after the time the movie is set, and wasn't published until 1593. See more »


Lord Robert: Marry me.
Elizabeth: On a night such as this, could any woman say no?
Lord Robert: On a night such as this, could a queen say no?
Elizabeth: Does not a queen sit under the same stars as any other woman?
See more »


Referenced in The 83rd Annual Academy Awards (2011) See more »


from "Enigma Variations"
Composed by Edward Elgar (as Sir Edward Elgar)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A small nudge in the direction of romanticism…

And Elizabeth did whisper Robert Dudley's name on her deathbed… The movie is an imaginative interpretation of the way that things could have been…

Shekhar Kapur's film explores the instabilities of her reign, and the absolute horror and terror that surrounded the early part of her royal office without neglecting her relationship with her terminally ill sister… So it's a glimpse of her girlhood into statehood, and the shedding that occurs, with the people who expended in her life along the way…

The film shows Elizabeth growing up in an incredibly unstable, tumultuous environment… But she's an absolute survivor... Someone who has got no solid ground on which she walks… So one minute she's a bastard, the next minute she's a princess, then one moment she's an illegitimate daughter, then she's a queen… And it's a very relevant period of her life, because she was 25 when she became a female monarch…

There are four men in Elizabeth's life and all have quite different influences on what it means for a young woman to run the country so young, given that she comes to the throne under very difficult political circumstances…

There's Sir Cecil (Attenborough) who's from an older regime giving her the traditions and the conventions that are the most orthodox; Sir Francis (Geoffrey Rush) Elizabeth's great spy master, very astute, almost puritanical and rather dry bureaucrat; Robert Dudley (Fiennes) with whom the film suggests that she has quite a passionate, private relationship; and Norfolk (Eccleston), a major rival who doesn't regard that she is suitable to rule his England…

The motion picture succeeds in developing Elizabeth's change and, basically, locks off parts of herself, and dehumanizes herself in order to wield her power among men…

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
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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