6.3/10
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Catherine the Great (1996)

Trapped in a loveless arranged marriage to the immature future Czar, a young German Princess proves a skillful political infighter and rises to become Catherine the Great.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Catherine Zeta-Jones ... Catherine
Paul McGann ... Potemkin
Ian Richardson ... Vorontzov
Brian Blessed ... Bestuzhev
John Rhys-Davies ... Pugachev
Craig McLachlan ... Saltykov
Hannes Jaenicke ... Peter
Agnès Soral ... Countess Bruce
Mark McGann ... Orlov
Karl Johnson ... Sheshkovsky
Stephen McGann ... Alexis Orlov
Veronica Ferres ... Vorontzova
Mel Ferrer ... Patriarch
Jeanne Moreau ... Elizabeth
Omar Sharif ... Razumovsky
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Storyline

In this romanticized biography, a small German principality's inexperienced princess, Catherine, becomes the bride of czarevitch Peter, the mad and abusive nephew and heir of the Russian czarina Elizabeth. From Elizabeth she learns the cynical ropes of wielding absolute imperial power at any cost, including sacrificing her lover, young guards officer Saltykov, who must give her an heir that Peter can't and is then sent abroad. After Elizabeth's death, she quickly moves to seize power with military and court support. She then works to enlarge and modernize the empire, again putting statesmanship ahead of her lover, a military genius who defeats the Ottomans and governs the conquered territories for her. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

Country:

Germany | Austria | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 April 1996 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Catalina la Grande See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2 parts) | (3 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jeanne Moreau (Elizabeth) played Catherine in Great Catherine (1969). See more »

Goofs

When Catherine borrows the wooden cross from Potemkin, it is hanging from a simple string. But when she gives it back, it has been strung with matching wooden beads. There is no explanation if this is a different prop or if Catherine added the beads herself. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Catherine: The 21st of August 1745... my wedding day. I was fifteen. The Grand Duke Peter was two years older, and we were both pawns in a political game.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Approx. 80 minutes were deleted from the US version by A&E compared to the original German version which was shown in 2 parts a 90 minutes. See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
Falls short of A&E expectations
10 January 2005 | by MinuetEnJazzSee all my reviews

Once again, A&E brings us a beautiful looking production. The costumes, sets and, of course, performances by an exceptional cast, are stunning as always. However it seems that the writers were getting a bit tired while working on this one. It lacked the cleverness and vivacity of productions such as Vanity Fair and Pride and Prejudice, and the drama we enjoyed in Horatio and Tess. I was also disappointed to find that the version available in N.America is only 90 minutes long, and includes only Catherine's early reign. If you want to see the entire production you apparently need to get the 3-hour version, available in Germany.

All in all, it is worth watching, if only for the visuals and wonderful acting. Catherine Zeta Jones is brilliant and displays her versatility in this dramatic role. I cannot begin to comment on the equally strong performances of the rest of the cast, being restricted to 1000 characters here, but as I say, certainly worth the watch.


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