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Young Catherine (1991)

A German princess is chosen to marry the heir to the Russian Throne, but faces plots and intrigues against her.


Michael Anderson


Chris Bryant
Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Vanessa Redgrave ... Empress Elizabeth
Christopher Plummer ... Sir Charles
Franco Nero ... Count Vorontsov
Marthe Keller ... Johanna
Maximilian Schell ... Frederick the Great
Julia Ormond ... Catherine
Mark Frankel Mark Frankel ... Count Gregory Orlov
Reece Dinsdale ... Grand Duke Peter
Anna Kanakis ... Countess Vorontsova
John Shrapnel ... Archimandrite Todorsky
Hartmut Becker ... Catherine's Father
Alexander Kerst ... Prussian Ambassador
Laurie Holden ... Princess Deshkova
Katharine Schlesinger ... Elizabeth Vorontsova
Katya Galitzine Katya Galitzine ... Maria Choglokov


The action begins in the small German principality, where we meet with the German princess Sophia Augustus Frederica. She is brought to the Russian Empire, where she is forced to accept Orthodoxy and is given a new name "Ekaterina Alekseevna". The luxury and grandeur of the northern capital, intrigue, love and humiliation - all this is still ahead. Through it all passes the young Prussian princess. Written by Peter-Patrick76 (peter-patrick@mail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Unrated | See all certifications »



UK | USA | Canada | Soviet Union | Germany | Italy



Release Date:

17 February 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Jovem Catarina See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Maximilian Schell (Frederick the Great) and Vanessa Redgrave (Empress Elizabeth) both appeared in Peter the Great (1986), Schell in the title role and Redgrave as Sophia. See more »


Gregory Orlov was not the father of Catherine's son Paul. In her memoirs, Catherine implied that Paul's real father was a court official named Sergei Saltykov. Her affair with Orlov did not begin until 1760, when Paul was six. See more »


[Catherine's betrothed, the Grand Duke, is ill]
Catherine: Did you know, after two months, hardly anyone has spoken to me. It's as if I didn't exist!
Sir Charles: Well, my dear, you hardly do. You are, I hesitate to say it, on the very brink of extinction. If the Grand Duke should die, you become the tiniest footnote to history. Everyone at Court knows that. But if he lives, however, you would certainly find yourself surrounded by thousands of new friends again, fawning all over you like puppies.
Catherine: And you?
Sir Charles: Ah, well. I ...
See more »


Version of The Rise of Catherine the Great (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

Worth Watching, But Not As History
14 August 2017 | by atlasmbSee all my reviews

Released in two episodes for television, "Young Catherine" has a lot going for it.

Young Julia Ormond plays Catherine and manages to convey both the naivete of the young German princess (named Sophie), who was selected to marry the Russian heir to the throne, and the resolution of the more experienced Catherine who must marshal all of her strength and all of her allies to overthrow her husband, Peter, and assume the throne.

Peter is wonderfully played by Reece Dimsdale as a childish, spoiled, and inept young man. In reality, Catherine met Peter when he was only age 10. This is one of many diversions from historical fact that the film includes, often for convenience.

But if one watches the film as a fairy-tale, it is quite enjoyable--at least up until the death of Empress Elizabeth (Lynn Redgrave), who sponsors Catherine and, in fact, gives her the new name. At that point, the film devolves into melodrama, though it still affords some enjoyment.

Redgrave is convincing as the imperious royal, demonstrating governance by whim so well, providing a framework for understanding the extent of royal indulgence. Another actor who shines in this piece is Christopher Plummer, as Sir Charles, a British diplomat assigned to Russia and a confidant of Catherine.

In addition to the acting, this film offers fine production values all around. The opulence and ostentation of the court and the church is on full display. The costuming is stunning.

Unfortunately, my grade must be reduced by several points for the film's divergence from fact. Its pace is courtly, allowing the viewer to really enjoy the story's unfolding; it's a shame that the producers felt that the patience of viewers could not accommodate a more accurate rendering.

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