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Brent Zacky (written by) &
Kevin Burns (written by) ...
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Release Date:
3 April 2001 (USA) See more »
A trip through the idiosyncrasies and difficulties of making one of the most tormented movies ever filmed. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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(5 articles)
TV highlights 23/07/2013
 (From The Guardian - TV News. 22 July 2013, 11:00 PM, PDT)

Review: Cleopatra
 (From Comicmix. 4 June 2013, 1:16 PM, PDT)

Blu Crew: Cleopatra, Enter the Dragon 40th Anniversary, and Gangster Squad
 (From Cinelinx. 8 March 2013, 5:56 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
The Epic Behind The Epic See more (4 total) »


  (in credits order)

Robert Culp ... Narrator (voice)

Roddy McDowall ... Himself (archive footage)

Darryl F. Zanuck ... Himself (archive footage)
Mel Gussow ... Himself (archive footage)
Spyros P. Skouras ... Himself (archive footage)

John Wayne ... Himself (archive footage)

Elvis Presley ... Himself (archive footage)

Marilyn Monroe ... Herself (archive footage)
Jack Brodsky ... Himself

David Brown ... Himself
Joe Hyams ... Himself
Brad Geagley ... Himself
Geoffrey Sharpe ... Himself

Joanne Woodward ... Herself (archive footage)

Joan Collins ... Herself (archive footage)
Walter Wanger ... Himself (archive footage)
John DeCuir ... Himself (archive footage)

Elizabeth Taylor ... Herself (archive footage)

Michael Todd ... Himself (archive footage) (as Mike Todd)

Eddie Fisher ... Himself (archive footage)

Debbie Reynolds ... Herself (archive footage)
Richard Meryman ... Himself
Kim Masters ... Herself

Stephen Boyd ... Himself (archive footage)
Keith Baxter ... Himself

Peter Finch ... Himself (archive footage)
Stephanie Guest ... Herself

Rouben Mamoulian ... Himself (archive footage)
Richard Green ... Himself
Tom Mankiewicz ... Himself

Hume Cronyn ... Himself
Christopher Mankiewicz ... Himself (as Chris Mankiewicz)
Rosemary Mathews ... Herself (as Rosemary Mankiewicz)
John Karlsen ... Himself

Rex Harrison ... Himself (archive footage)

Richard Burton ... Himself (archive footage)

Brook Williams ... Himself

Martin Landau ... Himself
Carey Harrison ... Himself
C.O. Erickson ... Himself (as C.O. 'Doc' Erickson)

Richard D. Zanuck ... Himself (as Richard Zanuck)

Irina Demick ... Herself (archive footage)

Robert Wagner ... Himself

Édith Piaf ... Herself (archive footage)
Seymour Poe ... Himself, 20th Century executive vice-president (archive footage)

Suzy Parker ... Herself (archive footage)
Bert Parks ... Himself (archive footage) (as Burt Parks)

Joseph L. Mankiewicz ... Himself (archive footage)

Johnny Carson ... Himself (archive footage)

Maureen O'Hara ... Herself

Bill Mechanic ... Himself
Nick Redman ... Himself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Maia Newley ... Herself (archive footage)

Yul Brynner ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Jodie Foster ... Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Mel Gibson ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Bob Hope ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Rock Hudson ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Robert Ryan ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Raquel Welch ... Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Directed by
Kevin Burns 
Brent Zacky 
Writing credits
Brent Zacky (written by) &
Kevin Burns (written by) and
Monica Bider (written by)

Produced by
Kevin Burns .... executive producer
Joyce Caruso .... field producer
Colin Cotter .... associate producer
Jessica Falcon .... executive producer: American Movie Classics: Backstory Special Edition
Michele Farinola .... producer: backstory special edition
Frankie Glass .... field producer
Kevin Granahan .... field producer
Scott Hartford .... senior associate producer: Prometheus Entertainment
Marc Juris .... executive producer: American Movie Classics: Backstory Special Edition
Erika Schroeder .... coordinating producer
Dawn Smith .... field producer
Steven Smith .... producer (backstory special edition)
Michael D. Stevens .... supervising producer (as Michael Stevens)
Brent Zacky .... producer
Original Music by
Tom Jenkins 
Chris Many 
Film Editing by
Zack Bell 
Tori Rodman 
Andrew Willenger 
Makeup Department
T.C. Thecla Luisi .... hair stylist: Laura Geller Make-Up Studios
T.C. Thecla Luisi .... makeup artist: Laura Geller Make-Up Studios
Sarina Servilli .... hair stylist: Laura Geller Make-Up Studios
Sarina Servilli .... makeup artist: Laura Geller Make-Up Studios
Diana Solomon .... hair stylist: Laura Geller Make-Up Studios
Diana Solomon .... makeup artist: Laura Geller Make-Up Studios
Production Management
Maria Broccoli .... production manager
Andrew Giacometti .... post-production manager
Lisa Howard .... director of production management: Foxstar Productions
Kaki Kirby .... executive in charge of production: Foxstar Productions
David Sehring .... executive in charge of production: American Movie Classics
Sound Department
Tom Amelotte .... re-recording engineer
Gerard Byrne .... sound
Bradley Elster .... sound
James Mulryan .... sound (as Jim Mulryan)
John Simonson .... sound
John Steadwell .... sound
Alex Woodson .... assistant sound re-recording engineer
Visual Effects by
Lars Bunch .... motion control photography: Arroyo Media
Russell Frazier .... motion control photography: Matchframe Video
Martin Kauper .... motion control photography: Arroyo Media
Wade Lageose .... main title graphics: Whitney Digital Imaging
Leigh Thomas .... chyron
Doug Whitney .... main title graphics: Whitney Digital Imaging
Sean Williams .... chyron
Camera and Electrical Department
Steve Coleman .... camera operator
Gary Corrigan .... camera operator
Cory Geryak .... camera operator
David Lacolocci .... camera operator
Derek Pennell .... camera operator
Dan Walworth .... camera operator
Editorial Department
Troy Bogert .... editor: Backstory Special Edition
Cary DeVore .... junior assistant editor
Scott Freeman .... avid technician
Mark W. Jacobs .... on-line editor
Darla Marasco .... director of post-production
Nickolas Perry .... assistant editor (as Nick Perry)
Music Department
Lloyd Hardy .... music coordinator
Alex North .... conductor: "Cleopatra" score
Other crew
Carlos Aguirre .... media coordinator
Susan M. Bowles .... production counsel: Foxstar Productions
Mimi Christensen .... production coordinator: Prometheus Entertainment
Jen Dante .... researcher
Rachel Ginnerty .... unit publicist
Richard Green .... production consultant
Terry James .... accounting services: Oberman, Tivoli, Miller & Pickert, Inc.
Jerianne Keaney .... director of clearances
Ruth O'Neill .... additional researcher
Marvin Paige .... production consultant
Tyrone Richardson .... media technician
Erik Sequeira .... media manager
Geoffrey Sharpe .... production consultant
Shawna Soper .... production secretary
Jose Valencia .... media assistant
Daniel Wascou .... archivist
Jason Willensky .... production assistant
Alan J. Adler .... acknowledgment (as Alan Adler)
Schawn Belston .... special thanks (as Sean Belston)
Richard Burton .... dedicated to the memory of
Hume Cronyn .... acknowledgment: still photographs provided by
Hume Cronyn .... very special thanks
Ron Fuglsby .... acknowledgment
Richard Green .... acknowledgment: still photographs courtesy of
Stephanie Guest .... acknowledgment: still photographs provided by
Stephanie Guest .... very special thanks
Rex Harrison .... dedicated to the memory of
Hugh M. Hefner .... acknowledgment: still photographs courtesy of
Hugh M. Hefner .... special thanks
Joanie Horton .... acknowledgment
David Kamp .... acknowledgment
Jaime Barton Klein .... acknowledgment (as Jaime Klein)
Christopher Mankiewicz .... acknowledgment: still photographs provided by (as Chris Mankiewicz)
Joseph L. Mankiewicz .... dedicated to the memory of
Tom Mankiewicz .... acknowledgment: still photographs provided by
Rosemary Mathews .... acknowledgment: still photographs provided by (as Rosemary Mankiewicz)
Roddy McDowall .... dedicated to the memory of
Maia Newley .... grateful thanks
Nick Redman .... acknowledgment
Geoffrey Sharpe .... acknowledgment: still photographs provided by
Walter Wanger .... dedicated to the memory of

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
119 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Was featured as a bonus feature on the 2001 "Fox Five Star Collection" DVD release of Cleopatra (1963).See more »
Factual errors: The name of emcee Bert Parks is misspelled onscreen as "Burt Parks".See more »
David Brown:There are two misfortunes in life... not getting what you want, and getting what you want.See more »
Movie Connections:
Features Cleopatra (1963)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
The Epic Behind The Epic, 8 November 2012
Author: Matthew Kresal from United States

It started out as a low-budget film to bring much needed revenue into ailing Twentieth-Century Fox. Instead, it became a runaway production that would change lives, destroy careers and nearly bankrupt the studio behind it. The film in question is of course the 1963 film Cleopatra. The 2001 documentary Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood is the story of the making of a film with a back-story as epic as the film itself.

As the opening of the documentary states, Cleopatra is a film surrounded by rumors and gossip. What the documentary does is to follow the making of the film, from the situation that led to the decision to make it to the release of the film and its legacy. To do this, the filmmakers use a variety of sources and materials largely unseen for the decades.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of the documentary is the footage from the not one but two different productions of the film. As the documentary explores, Cleopatra originally started filming in the UK with a largely different cast, crew and indeed director. The documentary presents footage from that original production that, combined with film historians and an interview with actor Keith Baxter (originally cast in the role eventually played by Roddy McDowall), presents a fascinating look at a film that was destined never to be finished. The documentary also presents outtakes and deleted scenes from the eventual production of the film (including footage of the first attempt to film Cleopatra's entrance into Rome and the scene originally intended to introduce Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra). There's also rarely seen costume and screen tests such as footage of actress Joan Collins auditioning for the title role.

The documentary also uses a wealth of other archival material. These range from newsreels to newspaper/magazine articles to rarely seen production photos and indeed television commercials inspired by the film. The result is a look at the film through not just its making but its effect on popular culture.

Last but not least is the interviews used in the documentary. The interviews covers the entire range of the film's production from studio executive David Brown to actors such as Hume Cronyn and Martin Landau (as well as a 1995 interview with Roddy McDowall). Also included are interview with film historians and archivists who give the various piece archived footage and material context and who also discuss the attempted restoration of the film to its full length. There are also interviews with family and friends of those involved in the production from the family of director Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Sadly Elizabeth Taylor, the only surviving member of the main cast alive at the time, was not interviewed, (presumably at her wish) though the documentary more than makes up for her lack of presence. Given that so many of those interviewed are no longer with us, the interviews alone are worthy of note in their own right.

The result of all these materials, combined with the narration of actor Robert Culp, is a fascinating two hours. While that may seem a bit long for what is on the surface a making of documentary, the story it presents is worthy of its running time. From the background of a studio in crisis to the various mistakes and miscalculations that sent the production off track on more than one occasion (such as the abandoning of the seven million dollar UK production, the decision to re-stage an already expensive sequence six months after it was first filmed due to lighting, the fight between Mankiewicz and studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck over the running time and of course the famous love affair of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor) to the film's effects on the subsequent careers of those involved, the documentary proves the old adage that fact is stranger than fiction.

Indeed that old saying could sum the documentary as well. With its wealth of material from both productions of Cleopatra, rarely seen archival materials and interviews covering the whole production, the rumors and gossip behind the film are set aside to reveal a truth that is at times incredible to believe. The result is the story of the epic behind the epic and the story of the film that, indeed, changed Hollywood.

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