Cleopatra, the famed Egyptian Queen born in 69 B.C., is shown to have been brought by Roman ruler Julius Caesar at age 18. Caesar becomes sexually obsessed by the 18 year old queen, beds ... See full summary »
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Cleopatra, the famed Egyptian Queen born in 69 B.C., is shown to have been brought by Roman ruler Julius Caesar at age 18. Caesar becomes sexually obsessed by the 18 year old queen, beds her, and eventually has a son by her. However, his Roman followers and his wife are not pleased by the union. In fact, as Caesar has only a daughter by his wife, he had picked Octavian as his successor. The out-of-wedlock son of Cleopatra is seen to be a threat to his future leadership. Thus Brutus and other Roman legislators plot the assassination of Caesar. Caesar's loyal general, Marc Antony, and Octavian then divide up the Roman empire. Antony takes Egypt and soon takes up the affair with Cleopatra. However, Octavian soon launches an attack on Antony and ultimately defeats and mortally wounds him. Rather than permitting herself to be humiliated by Octavian, Cleopatra sends her son away to India and she commits suicide by permitting the deadly asp to bite her. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
No mention is made of Cleopatra's three children by Marc Antony, twins Alexander Helios and Cleoptra Selene II (born 40 BC), and Ptolemy Philadelphus (born 36 BC). After Octavian conquered Egypt, they were sent to Rome, where they would eventually be raised by Octavia Minor, Octavian's sister and Marc Antony's wife. Marc Antony also had at least five children before he fell in love with Cleopatra, none of whom are mentioned. See more »
Cleopatra is one of the most fascinating figures from history. This 1999 TV movie does a good job of telling her story from her point of view. Granted Leonor Varela is a bit off, but she's not bad and the movie moves very well, its hard to believe its almost 3 hours, its time that never feels wasted. The story of Egypt's last great queen and her Roman lovers Julius Caesar and Marc Antony have been told before, most notably in '63 with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, this film is close to that and in some ways better.
Billy Zane is terrific here, he plays Antony better than Burton! Zane remembers Antony was a solider who was prodded into lofty ambition by Cleopatra, even pitting Roman against Roman and splitting an empire, in his heart he must have known he couldn't succeed, Zane never lets your forget that and his performance should have been honored. Timothy Dalton is a good Caesar too. He plays the conqueror full on, ambitious and powerful, but not a monster or a hero, just a man who wanted glory for Rome. His assassination is well handled here. Rupert Graves is a slimy Octavian (Augustus) and does well as the villain.
The look of the film is pretty good, though at times it feels like a filmed play. The music is unmoving, but the fx shots tolerable. The battle of Actium is brief but accurate, Antony always rushed in like a bull. For a TV move they manage to be sexy and violent, two things necessary to tell Cleo's story. The birth of Cesarion is realistic.
The only real downer here is I think this movie was made, or at least planned before the discovery of records found in the sea that told of Antony and Cleo's great love and of the fact they did have children! At least 4, including a set of twins. It is also possible that a girl was saved from Octavian's butchery. The rest did not make, including, probably Cesarion. Unfortunately we don't see that here and the end, though well played, is just like earlier versions. Still this is historical fiction at its best. Well done!
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