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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 Alexander Kerst ... Prussian Ambassador
Laurie Holden ... Princess Deshkova
Katharine Schlesinger ... Elizabeth Vorontsova
Katya Galitzine Katya Galitzine ... Maria Choglokov


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

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
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Both Julia Ormond and Vanessa Redgrave have played Guinevere, Ormond in First Knight (1995) and Redgrave in Camelot (1967). 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 »


Frederick the Great: This frail, young slip of a girl has won herself an empire, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Against all the odds, that is what she has done.
See more »


Version of Catherine the Great (1996) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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