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Christopher Columbus 

After his proposal to sail west to the East Indies is rejected by Portugal, Columbus overcomes court intrigue in Spain to gain support for his expedition.




Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win. See more awards »


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Series cast summary:
Gabriel Byrne ...  Christopher Columbus 4 episodes, 1985
Rossano Brazzi ...  Diego Ortiz De Vilhegas 4 episodes, 1985
Virna Lisi ...  Dona Moniz Perestrello 4 episodes, 1985
Oliver Reed ...  Martin Pinzon 4 episodes, 1985
Raf Vallone ...  Jose Vizinho 4 episodes, 1985
Max von Sydow ...  King John of Portugal 4 episodes, 1985
Eli Wallach ...  Father Hernando De Talavera 4 episodes, 1985
Nicol Williamson ...  King Ferdinand 4 episodes, 1985
Faye Dunaway ...  Queen Isabella of Spain 4 episodes, 1985
Michel Auclair ...  Luis De Santangel 4 episodes, 1985
William Berger ...  Francisco De Bobadilla 4 episodes, 1985
Keith Buckley ...  De Torres 4 episodes, 1985
Mark Buffery Mark Buffery ...  Bartholomo Colombo 4 episodes, 1985
Anne Canovas ...  Beatriz Enriquez 4 episodes, 1985
Elpidia Carrillo ...  Coana 4 episodes, 1985
Massimo Girotti ...  Duke Medina Celi 4 episodes, 1985
Larry Lamb ...  Don Castillo 4 episodes, 1985
Stefano Madia ...  Federico 4 episodes, 1985
Audrey Matson Audrey Matson ...  Dona Felipa Perestrello 4 episodes, 1985
Murray Melvin ...  Father Linares 4 episodes, 1985
Jack Watson ...  Father Marchena 4 episodes, 1985
Hal Yamanouchi ...  Guacanabo 4 episodes, 1985
Claudio Aliotti Claudio Aliotti ...  Diego as an Adult 4 episodes, 1985
Patrick Bauchau ...  Don Rodrigo 4 episodes, 1985
Kasimir Berger Kasimir Berger ...  Diego as a Child 4 episodes, 1985
Sal Borgese ...  Juan 4 episodes, 1985
Charles Borromel Charles Borromel ...  Xarmiento 4 episodes, 1985
Tony Camilleri Tony Camilleri ...  Riquelme 4 episodes, 1985
Scott Coffey ...  Vallejo 4 episodes, 1985
Cyrus Elias Cyrus Elias ...  Alaminos 4 episodes, 1985
Francesco Lattuada Francesco Lattuada ...  De Triana 4 episodes, 1985
Patrick Longhi Patrick Longhi ...  Ferdinand 4 episodes, 1985
Alexander Lopez Alexander Lopez ...  Diego Taino 4 episodes, 1985
Antonio Marsina ...  Vicente Pinzon 4 episodes, 1985
David Mills David Mills ...  Dr. Chanca 4 episodes, 1985
Lino Mintoff Lino Mintoff ...  De Gamma 4 episodes, 1985
Brizio Montinaro Brizio Montinaro ...  Ocampo 4 episodes, 1985
Joseph Murphy Joseph Murphy ...  Escobedo 4 episodes, 1985
Luca Orlandini Luca Orlandini ...  Diego as a Teenager 4 episodes, 1985
Iris Peynado ...  Selina 4 episodes, 1985
Jean-François Poron Jean-François Poron ...  Alonso De Mardan 4 episodes, 1985
Erik Schumann ...  Benguela 4 episodes, 1985
Gregory Snegoff ...  Francisco Pinzon 4 episodes, 1985
John Suda John Suda ...  Ruiz 4 episodes, 1985
Sergio Testori Sergio Testori ...  Arias 4 episodes, 1985
Fabiola Toledo ...  Dona Maria De Toledo 4 episodes, 1985
Josefina Vetencourt Josefina Vetencourt ...  Clara De Moya 4 episodes, 1985
Heinz Weiss Heinz Weiss ...  Noscomb 4 episodes, 1985
David de Keyser David de Keyser ...  Of various roles 4 episodes, 1985
Alexander Lopi Alexander Lopi 4 episodes, 1985
César Olmos César Olmos 4 episodes, 1985
Robert Rietty Robert Rietty ...  Of various roles 4 episodes, 1985


The epic mini-series tells the story of the legendary Italian-born explorer Diego de Geona Taino, later known as Christopher Columbus, from his birth in c.1450 Genoa, Italy, to his young adult years as an expert sailor and navigator who, with money funded from the monarchy of Spain, sailed to the unknown West to find Asia in 1492, and instead found a 'New World' of the modern day West Indies to South America, and then follows his later years in his 50's as a tired, ailing man whose dreams of exploration and discovery to which he passed onto his son, and other followers, just before his death in 1506. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Italy | France | West Germany | USA



Release Date:

19 May 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cristofor Columb See more »

Filming Locations:

Dominican Republic See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Even though Raf Vallone can speak English, his voice is dubbed by another in the English language release. See more »


Version of Christoph Columbus (1923) See more »

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User Reviews

By far the best film on Columbus
13 December 2005 | by edjavegaSee all my reviews

I saw this in late 1985 on TV and was pleasantly surprised by its very high quality and by the presence of so many recognizable names and faces (Faye Dunaway, Gabriel Byrne, Rosanno Brazzi, Raf Vallone, Eli Wallach, Max von Sydow, Oliver Reed, Virna Lisi, Nicol Williamson, Elpidia Carrillo,etc.) in the supporting cast.

In 1992 there were these two films on Columbus and neither holds a candle to this superb TV miniseries. They are almost a travesty to the great achievement of the Genoese explorer. This TV movie on the other hand properly does him justice.

Gabriel Byrne as Columbus and Faye Dunaway as Queen Isabela of Spain give memorable performances. It was good that this series did not imply that there was a romance or romantic attraction between the two, unlike in the two 1992 films, as that has never been established for sure by historians.

The script is also balanced in that it shows important facets about the story and the period: Colombus' drive and determination against all odds; Spanish religious zeal after the expulsion of the Moors; the vision of the Spanish monarchs in supporting Colombus when the Portuguese King did not; the courage of the seamen who sailed with Colombus, but also, their cruelty to the Indians who were just defending their land; Columbus' skills as a seaman but ineptness as an administrator; the beauty of both Renaissance Europe and pre-Columbian America. It's all here.

This is clearly a high-budget affair, with its expensive sets and costumes. And remember, this was in the days before CG, so the ships you see here are real.

The music is also inspiring and for opera fans, you get the bonus of hearing the great Plácido Domingo sing Italian-language lyrics to the main theme at the end credits.


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