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Elizabeth (1998)

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The early years of the reign of Elizabeth I of England and her difficult task of learning what is necessary to be a monarch.

Director:

Shekhar Kapur

Writer:

Michael Hirst
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Popularity
2,231 ( 476)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 33 wins & 55 nominations. See more awards »

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A mature Queen Elizabeth endures multiple crises late in her reign including court intrigues, an assassination plot, the Spanish Armada, and romantic disappointments.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Liz Giles Liz Giles ... Female Martyr
Rod Culbertson Rod Culbertson ... Master Ridley
Paul Fox ... Male Martyr
Terence Rigby ... Bishop Gardiner
Christopher Eccleston ... Duke of Norfolk
Peter Stockbridge Peter Stockbridge ... Palace Chamberlain
Amanda Ryan ... Lettice Howard
Kathy Burke ... Queen Mary Tudor
Valerie Gale Valerie Gale ... Mary's Dwarf
George Antoni George Antoni ... King Philip II of Spain (as George Yiasoumi)
James Frain ... Alvaro de la Quadra
Jamie Foreman ... Earl of Sussex
Edward Hardwicke ... Earl of Arundel
Cate Blanchett ... Elizabeth I
Emily Mortimer ... Kat Ashley
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Storyline

This film details the ascension to the throne and the early reign of Queen Elizabeth the First, as played by Cate Blanchett. The main focus is the endless attempts by her council to marry her off, the Catholic hatred of her and her romance with Lord Robert Dudley. Written by CharmedGirl47

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Declared illegitimate aged 3. Tried for treason aged 21. Crowned Queen aged 25. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

19 February 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£166,174 (United Kingdom), 4 October 1998, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$275,131, 8 November 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$30,082,699

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$82,150,642
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene where one of Elizabeth's ladies-in-waiting dies by wearing a poisoned dress, is accurate. Poison was one of the preferred means of assassination in its day, and many inventive ways were created to kill someone when they least suspected it. See more »

Goofs

Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk was not arrested and executed for treason until 1572 when Elizabeth was 39, and well outside the time period of the movie. See more »

Quotes

[to a wounded boy, handing him a handkerchief stained with his blood]
Mary of Guise: Go back to England, and take this to your Queen. Hm?
Mary of Guise: [in French, to herself] English blood on French colors.
[turns to her officer]
Mary of Guise: Send him back to his Queen, and make sure he remains alive. Tell that bastard Queen not to send children to fight Mary of Guise!
See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Memo to the Academy - 1999 (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Requiem Aeternam
from "Requiem"
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Queen Blanchett
13 January 2008 | by MaxBorg89See all my reviews

The Academy Awards ceremony of 1999 angered many people: Shakespeare in Love, albeit a very smart and funny film, robbed the superior Saving Private Ryan of the Best Picture Oscar; Roberto Benigni beat Edward Norton in the Best Actor category (though it was the Italian star's behavior, rather than his performance, that irritated those attending the event); and Gwyneth Paltrow, who wasn't actually bad in Shakespeare, walked away with the Best Actress award, depriving Cate Blanchett of the recognition she should have received for her revelatory work in Elizabeth.

This film, the first in what the director hopes will be a trilogy (the second installment was released in 2007), covers the early years of Elizabeth I's reign, from her harsh upbringing to the decision to call herself "the Virgin Queen". To describe her situation as tough is an understatement: she was a Protestant monarch in a largely Catholic kingdom, several covert groups wanted her dead and foreign sovereigns kept asking for her hand in marriage, without ever succeeding, for the only man she loved was also the only one she couldn't have.

Conspiracies and unhappy romances: two unusual ingredients for a period drama. And that is exactly why the film succeeds: in the mind of director Shekhar Kapur, this is not the usual costume film where events are observed with a static eye and what might be perceived by some as excessive slowness (Quentin Tarantino's infamous rant about "Merchant-Ivory sh*t" is aimed at those productions); instead, we get a lively, vibrant piece of work, with the camera sweeping through the gorgeous sets and leering at the exquisite costumes while recounting the grand story. And what a story: the thriller aspect aims to please viewers who find the genre a bit lacking in the tension department, whereas the Queen's doomed love affair with Joseph Fiennes' Earl of Leicester (a plot element to which the BBC miniseries from 2005, starring Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons, is a sort of sequel) is the polar opposite of the sanitized, passionless romantic tales that tend to feature in other period films.

Good-looking technique and strong storytelling would, however, be useless if the title role wasn't played by an equally great actress, and Pakur found the perfect Elizabeth in Blanchett: an odd choice she may have seemed (she was a complete unknown in Hollywood prior to being cast in this movie), but the performance she delivers is nothing short of astonishing. Doubtful, determined, passionate, naive, heartbroken, firm and charismatic - she is quite simply the best on-screen incarnation of Elizabeth in the long history of biopics. The supporting cast (Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccleston, Richard Attenborough) is also excellent, as expected from British and Australian thespians, but it is Blanchett who dominates the entire picture. Shame the Academy didn't take notice.


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