9 user 1 critic

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 »




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)

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Unrated | See all certifications »

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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 »


Count Gregory Orlov: To me, you're everything a man could desire - could love. To you, I'm a stud. Your husband, the Grand Duke Peter, surely...
Catherine: He hates me. And I don't think of you as a stud. That's not how I think of you. Not at all. I want you - to love me. I need to feel your strength.
[passionate kiss]
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Alternate Versions

Version shown on TCM 12/26/2019 was the 186 min long two-part mini-series version. See more »


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

User Reviews

Not quite accurate, but even better than reality
17 February 2006 | by iskahleahSee all my reviews

I absolutely love this film! Having seen it for the first time as a pre-teen Russophile, I became enamored with the scenery, costumes, and history of imperial Russia. I got to see these things and places for real during college, and it was literally the most thrilling experience! The "empress' own sleigh" is in the Kremlin museum, as is Catherine's coronation gown, and some of Peter III's suits--he was such a tiny little man!

I must admit, however, a great disappointment when I finally, just last week, read Carolly Erikson's well-researched biography of Catherine, and found many inaccuracies in the film. For one, Catherine actually had several children, not just Paul. It does simplify the story, however, to keep him as an only child (like how in Gone With The Wind, Scarlett's children by her first two husbands are completely left out of the film). The most frustrating inaccuracy, however, was that she really did not even meet Orlov til she was nearly 30 years old, and had already had several lovers.

The love story in the film is much more screen-worthy, however, so I can forgive their decision, it was just saddening to me to have my understanding of this amazing woman altered after so many years. The film's portrayal of the struggles of Catherine's early life is true-to-life in its essence, however, as it introduces a modern audience to this bold, brave, and incredibly intelligent historical figure.

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Release Date:

17 February 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Young Catherine See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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