30 user 14 critic

The Virgin Queen (1955)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, History | 22 July 1955 (USA)
Sir Walter Raleigh (Richard Todd) overcomes court intrigue to win favor with Queen Elizabeth I (Bette Davis) in order to get financing for a proposed voyage to the New World.


Henry Koster
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Bette Davis ... Queen Elizabeth I
Richard Todd ... Sir Walter Raleigh
Joan Collins ... Beth Throgmorton
Jay Robinson ... Chadwick
Herbert Marshall ... Lord Leicester (Robert Dudley)
Dan O'Herlihy ... Lord Derry
Robert Douglas ... Sir Christopher Hatton
Romney Brent ... French Ambassador
Leslie Parrish ... Anne (as Marjorie Hellen)
Lisa Daniels ... Mary


Sir Walter Raleigh (Richard Todd) gains an audience with Queen Elizabeth I (Bette Davis) and soon wins her over to his way of thinking. He wants ships to sail and make a name for England. A young ward of the court, Beth Throgmorton (Dame Joan Collins), is strongly attracted to Raleigh and returns the attraction. But soon the Queen shows her desires and he bends in order to achieve his goal of ships. But still, he loves Beth. Written by McGinty <McGinty@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


CinemaScope spectacularly spreads before you the velvet cape and violent age of Sir Walter Raleigh and The Virgin Queen.


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Set in 1581, Davis is effectively playing a younger Elizabeth than she had played in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), which was set in 1601. See more »


At the concluding scene of the movie, Queen Elizabeth looks through her window with a telescope, an invention of 1608, five years after her death in 1603. See more »


French Ambassador: May I compliment you, Madame, on this most beautiful palace? There is no other like it in all of Europe.
Queen Elizabeth I: It was my father's. I'll tell him when I see him.
French Ambassador: [not fully understanding her answer] Yes... but King Henry is dead. Madame jests?
Queen Elizabeth I: Madame never jests.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: In 1581 all the roads of England led to London -- for better or worse. See more »


Featured in 20th Century-Fox: The First 50 Years (1997) See more »

User Reviews

THE VIRGIN QUEEN (Henry Koster, 1955) ***
24 January 2010 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

16 years after portraying Queen Elizabeth I in Michael Curtiz's THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX (1939), Bette Davis donned the garments of the fiery British monarch once more for this fine (if largely unhistorical) costumer about another tumultuous relationship of hers – with Sir Walter Raleigh (here played by the late Richard Todd, who died just the other day aged 90). Although Davis unsurprisingly dwarfs the rest of the participants in the acting stakes, she is still surrounded by a most able cast that also includes Joan Collins (as one of Elizabeth's ladies-in-waiting who, much to the latter's chagrin, becomes Mrs. Walter Raleigh and is carrying his child), Herbert Marshall (as the long-suffering Chancellor of England), Robert Douglas (as Elizabeth's villainous chief adviser), Dan O'Herlihy (as, controversially, an Irish lord and Raleigh's best friend) and Jay Robinson (as Douglas' reptilian henchman). There are some good lines (especially when Davis and Todd indulge in verbal sparring), two good fight sequences both involving Todd (a vigorous swordfight in a tavern at the start and an animated fistfight with Douglas towards the end), a serviceable score from Franz Waxman and, as is to be expected from a Grade-A studio product, the film is very handsome to behold (the costume designers nabbed its sole Oscar nod).

7 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 30 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

22 July 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sir Walter Raleigh See more »


Box Office


$1,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording) (magnetic prints)| Stereo (Western Electric Recording)| Mono (Western Electric Recording) (optical prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed