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Sissi - Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin (1957)

The final film in a highly romanticized trilogy about Elisabeth "Sissi" of Austria finds the young empress traveling throughout Europe.


Ernst Marischka


Ernst Marischka

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The romantic "Sissi" trilogy condensed into one film. Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria falls in love with young princess Elisabeth.

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Young Stanzi who is visiting Vienna helps a young corporal and musician to become famous for his marching song "Die Deutschmeister".

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Romy Schneider ... Empress Elisabeth of Austria / Sissi
Karlheinz Böhm ... Emperor Franz Josef of Austria
Magda Schneider ... Duchess Ludovika of Bavaria
Gustav Knuth ... Duke Max of Bavaria
Uta Franz Uta Franz ... Princess Helene / Nene
Walther Reyer ... Graf Andrassy
Vilma Degischer ... Archduchess Sophie, Franz Josef's mother
Josef Meinrad ... Oberst Böckl
Senta Wengraf Senta Wengraf ... Gräfin Bellegarde
Erich Nikowitz Erich Nikowitz ... Erzherzog Franz-Karl
Hans Ziegler Hans Ziegler ... Hofrat Dr. Seeburger
Sonia Sorel Sonia Sorel ... Henriette Mendel (as Sonja Sorel)
Klaus Knuth Klaus Knuth ... Prinz Ludwig
Albert Rueprecht Albert Rueprecht ... Erzherzog Ferdinand-Max
Peter Neusser Peter Neusser ... Graf Batthyani


The young Empress Sissi is staying at the Gödölle Palace in Hungary with her little daughter and some court people. Here she can be herself, liberated from all the strict court rules in Austria. She spends her days with Count Andrassy, riding in the woods. At a ball in his castle he declares his love for her. Because of this Sissi feels forced to break her relationship with him, and moves back to Vienna. It is soon discovered that she is seriously ill with tuberculosis. Dr. Seeburger doesn't think she will survive the winter, but a change of climate might help. After some months on Madeira Sissi's illness is even worse. Her mother, Duchess Ludovika, then decides to go to Madeira to help Sissi recapture the joy of life. When Dr. Seeburger examines Sissy at Corfu several months later, he finds her fully recovered. The Austrian ministers suggest that Emperor Franz Joseph should combine his reunion with Sissy with an official visit to Lombardy-Venetia. Austria is much hated there, but ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

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Plot Keywords:

empress | love | visit | italy | doctor | See All (20) »


Drama | History | Romance


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Release Date:

1957 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Sissi face à son destin See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Erma-Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Perfectone)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Director Ernst Marischka was originally going to make a fourth installation to the trilogy, but actress Romy Schneider refused to play the title character any longer. See more »


Empress Elisabeth of Austria: My darling, now I want a little kiss. No, that was nothing... Another one. Another one. A real big one. There!
See more »


Spoofed in Lissi und der wilde Kaiser (2007) See more »


Overture to La Traviata
Music by Giuseppe Verdi
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User Reviews

Pure schmaltz but so gorgeous to look at
17 September 2013 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

The final film in the Sissi trilogy - The Fateful Years of the Empress -- again stars Romy Schneider as Empress Elisabeth of Austria. These films are beloved by the European public, just as some of the Disney films we saw as children are to us.

As far as history goes, the movies are not very accurate, though they do show real events. Sissi and her husband are portrayed as very much in love, a very romantic couple, although that was not true. Also, for the purposes of this film, their daughter Sophie actually lives, and there aren't any other children. Actually the whole end of this film in Venice, in history, took place much later in Sissi's life, and her son Ludwig was present.

One interesting fact is that, as in the film, Sissi's brother married the actress Henriette Mendel, and she was made a Baroness. Their illegitimate daughter, who appears as a character in the movie, becomes Marie Larish. Marie Larish was the go-between for Elisabeth's son Ludwig and his fiancé Mary. After the Mayerling scandal, when Ludwig shoots Mary and then himself, it was learned that Marie served as go-between, and the family, including her close companion Sissi, completely disowned her.

During the time that Sissi spends in Hungary, there were rumors that Count Andrassy was her lover, but this was never proved. The film is so whitewashed that a liaison would never have occurred to Sissi. Sissi does become very ill -- they suspect tuberculosis -- and is sent to Madeira to recover. However, it is believed that her condition was very much psychosomatic -- she really didn't like being at the palace -- because, unlike in the film, when she arrived in Madeira, she had a miraculous recovery. In the film, she remains ill until her mother arrives and gets her walking, etc.

This film ends with the Emperor and Empress' triumphant appearance in Venice. Marischka planned on doing a fourth film, but Romy Schneider refused, turning down one million Deutschemarks. Schneider would become Elisabeth once more, in 1972, in the film Ludwig, playing the character closer to the real Sissi.

The costumes, the scenery, the pageantry in this film is spectacular. Romy Schneider is fresh and beautiful and luminous as Empress Elisabeth, not at all the dark, anorexic character described in history as time went on.

Sissi's end was tragic, as was Schneider's, but Europeans, so beaten down by war, were in the mood for something beautiful, and they got it with the Sissi films. She is such a beloved character there, like Princess Diana, audiences loved this view of her life.

To be enjoyed as a real feast for the eyes.

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