130 user 38 critic

Dangerous Beauty (1998)

0:31 | Trailer
A Venetian courtesan becomes a hero to her city, but later becomes the target of an inquisition by the Church for witchcraft.
2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Catherine McCormack ... Veronica Franco
Rufus Sewell ... Marco Venier
Oliver Platt ... Maffio Venier
Fred Ward ... Domenico Venier
Naomi Watts ... Giulia De Lezze
Moira Kelly ... Beatrice Venier
Jacqueline Bisset ... Paola Franco
Jeroen Krabbé ... Pietro Venier
Joanna Cassidy ... Laura Venier
Melina Kanakaredes ... Livia
Daniel Lapaine ... Serafino Franco
Justine Miceli ... Elena Franco
Jake Weber ... King Henry
Simon Dutton ... Minister Ramberti
Grant Russell ... Francesco Martenengo


In 16th century Venice, courtesans enjoy unique privileges: dressed richly in red, they read, compose poetry and music, and discuss affairs of state with the men who govern the Republic. When Veronica Franco comes of age, she cannot marry Marco Venier, whom she loves, because she is well born but penniless. Her choice: cloister or courtesan. She steels her heart, and with beauty and intelligence becomes the best. She's a heroine when she helps convince France to aid Venice in war with Turks, but when plague descends, the Church charges her with witchcraft. At her inquisition, she must match wits with an old rival, speak for all women, and call courage from Venier. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Passion. Seduction. Betrayal. A Scandalous Love Story. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some scenes of strong sexuality, and for nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


During King Henry's visit, a monk is forcibly detained in an attempt to give Henry a paper. In reality, King Henry III was killed exactly so: a monk, under the subterfuge of giving Henry a private message, fatally stabbed him while whispering in his ear. See more »


During the party on Veronica's first night as a courtesan, the lock of hair switches from over her left ear to over her right and back again between shots. See more »


Veronica Franco: I think you mistake me for one of your easy court companions?
Marco Venier: No, no I mistook the asking in your eyes.
See more »


Referenced in Dark City: Memories of Shell Beach (2008) See more »


Scopri O Lingua
Composed by Bartolomeo Tromboncino
See more »

User Reviews

One of the Most Beautiful Love Stories…and Based on a True Story
8 January 2009 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In 1583, Venice is the richest and most decadent city in Europe and its women are treated like property and few even knew how to read. The youth and witty Veronica Franco (Catherine McCormack) and the wealthy Marco Venier (Rufus Sewell), who is the brother of her best friend Beatrice (Moira Kelly), are in love for each other, but her mother can not afford the dowry for their marriage. When Marco tells Veronica that they can not marry to each other because he should have a marriage of state and his parents would oppose due to their social differences, Veronica's mother Paola Franco (Jacqueline Bisset) tells her heartbroken daughter that she was a courtesan in the past, and now Veronica shall learn how to be a courtesan to support the family. The poetess Veronica becomes the most famous courtesan in Venice, loved by the powerful elite except Marcos. When the Turks threaten Cyprus, Veronica spends the night with King Henry (Jake Weber) and he gives the necessary ships to protect Cyprus. When the Inquisition comes to Venice, she is accused of witchcraft by the Church.

"Dangerous Beauty" is one of the most beautiful love stories I have ever seen, and based on a true story. Catherine McCormack is extremely gorgeous and this is probably her best role along her career, with a stunning performance. This movie is quite perfect, with a wonderful story, excellent screenplay, magnificent direction, witty dialogs, a fantastic cast and awesome cinematography, set decoration and costumes in the environment of Venice in the Sixteenth Century. It is impressive how this movie excited me with the most different emotions and I have just included it in my list of favorites. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "Em Luta Pelo Amor" ("In Fight for Love")

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Release Date:

20 February 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Courtesan See more »


Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$105,989, 22 February 1998

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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