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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
Reviews
Popularity
2,655 ( 286)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cate Blanchett ... Elizabeth I
Geoffrey Rush ... Sir Francis Walsingham
Christopher Eccleston ... Duke of Norfolk
Joseph Fiennes ... Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester
Richard Attenborough ... Sir William Cecil
Fanny Ardant ... Mary of Guise
Eric Cantona ... Monsieur de Foix
Vincent Cassel ... Duc d'Anjou
Kathy Burke ... Queen Mary Tudor
Edward Hardwicke ... Earl of Arundel
Emily Mortimer ... Kat Ashley
John Gielgud ... The Pope
Liz Giles Liz Giles ... Female Martyr
Rod Culbertson Rod Culbertson ... Master Ridley
Paul Fox ... Male Martyr
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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

Shekhar Kapur made the mistake of asking Sir John Gielgud to play the Pope with an Italian accent. He was imperiously told that no, Gielgud would not be doing the part in an accent. See more »

Goofs

After the unsuccessful assassination attempt, when Elizabeth is being tended by her ladies, she is shown standing, yet the very next shot has her sitting. See more »

Quotes

Bishop Gardiner: [Walsingham comes down the stairs into the holding area where the Catholic bishops are being held] Walsingham! I would know by what authority you have kept us locked up here!
Sir Francis Walsingham: Your Graces must forgive me, but you are now free to go.
Bishop Gardiner: I am sure this infernal work has not saved your bastard queen.
Sir Francis Walsingham: Her Majesty has won the argument.
Bishop Gardiner: By what count?
Sir Francis Walsingham: By five, Your Grace.
[Looks up at the six bishops standing behind Gardiner]
Sir Francis Walsingham: Five.
[turns to leave]
Bishop Gardiner: You will be damned for this! And I pray God your wretched ...
See more »


Soundtracks

Rondeas I and VII
from "Dansereyr" 1551
Composed by Tylman Susato
Performed by New London Consort
Conducted by Philip Pickett
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Elizabeth could have unfolded in front of me all day and I would have remained enraptured.
15 December 1998 | by walshioSee all my reviews

England. 1555. Henry VIII has snuffed it from gout or syphilis, it depends on who you read, Bloody Mary's got a tumour and the Catholics' greatest fear is Anne Boleyn's daughter Elizabeth. Director Kapur has brought to the screen some of the most intriguing moments in English history and the result is dazzling.

Following recent grandiose French historical epics, such as the glorious Ridicule, Elizabeth more than holds its own as a no-holds barred, gripping English extravaganza. Historians across the land will no doubt pick holes in the accuracy, but it hardly matters.

The opening scene signals the film's intent. Protestant heretics are burnt mercilessly at the grisly stake, accompanied by proclamations that they should burn in Hell. It's clear that England is in a pretty gloomy state and ruled by a humourless zealot, Mary (the ubiquitous Kathy Burke), who is hell-bent on converting or murdering Elizabeth: "My sister was born a whore of that Ann Boleyn."

Cheery Mary rules a poor, remote island that is very likely to become the next possession of the growing empire of Spain. She is surrounded by rebels who want to place the Protestant Elizabeth on the throne. So, Mary gets her trusted Lord Norfolk (Eccleston cuts an impressive presence; you can imagine this man swishing on the battlefield) to arrest Lizzy and dispatch her to the Tower of London.

The camerawork and the pace of this film are breathtaking. Kapur directs with ambitious panache, whilst supplying more than a wink to Coppola's The Godfather in the process. Two scenes in particular reek of the Mafia masterpiece: one in the Vatican, the other a succession of assassinations sparked by the majesty's demand, "let it all be done". Pure Pacino.

If you shimmy past the slightly silly inclusions of the likes of Eric Cantona (the IKEA School of Acting) and Angus Deayton, and the fact that Dickie Attenborough (plays a fussy sidekick who sniffs the Queen's bedsheets and claims, "her body belongs to the State") is starting to resemble an Ewok, the acting is otherwise splendid.

Cate Blanchett not only resembles the great lady, but imparts her with enormous affection (her love of Lord Dudley, played by Fiennes, is tenderly dealt with) and delivers her lines with a steely intelligence, "I do not see why a woman must marry at all" and "I'm no man's Elizabeth" . Her performance is a revelation and if it weren't for Geoffrey Rush she would have stolen every scene. However, the Shine star, playing her demonic sidekick Walsingham, delights in creeping in the shadows and pulling the devilish strings. A positively Machiavellian turn and worthy of another Oscar.

This is a history film made at its very finest and the equal of A Man For All Seasons. Elizabeth could have unfolded in front of me all day and I would have remained enraptured. Intoxicating imagery ("English blood on French colours" the wicked Mary of Guise, Ardant, proclaims), naughty shenanigans, dastardly deeds, an epic tale and a superb cast. Stunning cinema.


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