Having read the other comments on this film (by the way, I saw the 180 minute TV version), it seems to be the general opinion that Catherine Zeta-Jones was excellent. I beg to differ. Not one moment was there in the entire movie where I felt she was the protagonist, as she was supposed to be. If the real Catherine did do things that earned her the nickname "the Great", they were kept out of this movie. Going to extreme lengths to avoid one inch of her body being seen during one of the many nude scenes (then why play them at all?), Zeta-Jones never convinces as a woman of the world, a strong character, able to stand up to her mother-in-law (played brilliantly by Jeanne Moreau), and toying with the emotions of every man around. Instead she is an ice queen. No warmth, no passion, no sincerity. On the other hand, the movie has many fine performances. Ian Richardson, Brian Blessed, John Rhys-Davies (yes, he is well-cast as a violent peasant-soldier), Tim McInnerny as Iwan, aka prisoner number one. And production is beautiful, just look at Catherine's diamonds. They sparkle whereas their wearer doesn't. Does this movie enlighten the viewer about an important era in Russian history? No, but that would be asking a bit much in so little time. But it does tell a story quite entertainingly. Alas, as with many international productions, some people are simply miscast... All in all, 3 out of 4.