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A historical drama set in Roman Egypt, concerning a slave who turns to the rising tide of Christianity in the hope of pursuing freedom while falling in love with his mistress, the philosophy and mathematics professor Hypatia of Alexandria.
4,659 ( 32)
11 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
... Hypatia
... Davus
... Orestes
... Ammonius
... Theon
... Synesius
... Aspasius
Sami Samir ... Cyril (as Sammy Samir)
... Olympius
... Isidorus
... Theophilus
... Medorus
Charles Thake ... Hesiquius
Harry Borg ... Prefect Evragius
... Peter (as Yousef Sweid)


Alexandria, 391 AD: Hypatia teaches astronomy, mathematics, and philosophy. Her student Orestes is in love with her, as is Davus, her personal slave. As the city's Christians, led by Ammonius and Cyril, gain political power, the institutions of learning may crumble along with the governance of slavery. Jump ahead 20 years: Orestes, the city's prefect, has an uneasy peace with the Christians, led by Cyril. A group from the newly empowered Christians has now taken to enforce their cultural hegemony zealously; first they see the Jews as their obstacle, then nonbelievers. Hypatia has no interest in faith; she's concerned about the movement of celestial bodies and "the brotherhood of all". Although her former slave doesn't see it that way. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Alexandria, Egypt. 391 A.D. The World Changed Forever

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

Official site | Official site [Spain] |  »



Release Date:

9 October 2009 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Alexandria  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,907,189 (Spain), 9 October 2009, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$44,313, 30 May 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$617,840, 17 October 2010

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$38,422,082, 31 December 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Filmed in Fort Ricasoli, Malta, which was also used for Caesar (2002), Helen of Troy (2003) and Troy (2004). The set was built in the same spot where the Coliseum was built for Gladiator (2000). See more »


Images of earth from space show twinkling stars. Stars twinkle because their light is disrupted as it passes through the atmosphere. Stars seen from space should not twinkle. See more »


Heladius Dignitary: The majority of us here... have accepted Christ. Why not the rest of you? It's only a matter of time and you know it.
Hypatia: Really? It is just a matter of time?... As far as I am aware, your God has not yet proved himself to be more just or more merciful than his predecessors. Is it really just a matter of time before I accept your faith?
Heladius Dignitary: Why should this assembly accept the council of someone who admittedly believes in absolutely nothing?
Hypatia: I believe in philosophy.
See more »


Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #18.92 (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Epic and historical drama about a famous female philosophy and astronomy professor called Hypatia of Alexandria
20 May 2013 | by See all my reviews

Spectacular and lavish film well directed by successful filmmaker Alejandro Amenabar . Historical drama concerning a slave (Max Minghella) who turns to the rising tide of Christianity in the hopes of pursuing freedom while also falling in love with his master, the known female philosophy and mathematics professor Hypatia of Alexandria (Rachel Weisz) .The mathematician and philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria was the daughter of the mathematician Theon Alexandricus (Michael Lonsdale). She was educated at Athens. Around AD 400, she became head of the Platonist school at Alexandria where she imparted the knowledge of Plato and Aristotle to any student. The picture is set in Alexandria, 391 AD . There Hypatia teaches astronomy, mathematics, and philosophy. Her pupils included pagans, Christians , slaves (Max Minghella) and foreigners . As the city's Christians, led by Ammonius (Ashraf Barhom) and Cyril (Samir) , gain political and economic power . At the end Orestes (Oscar Isaac), the governor of Alexandria, and Cyril (Sami Samir) , the Bishop of Alexandria, found themselves in a bitter feud in which Hypatia would come to be one of the main points of contention . The feud, which took place in 415 AD, began over the matter of Jewish dancing exhibitions in Alexandria . Since these exhibitions attracted large crowds and were commonly prone to civil disorder of varying degrees . Then was published an edict which outlined new regulations for such Jewish gatherings . Soon after, crowds gathered against Jews and these angry over the new regulations that had been imposed upon them , which many people felt was an attempt to incite the crowd into sedition .

This intense drama is based on some hokey events , on a hand there are real deeds , but on other hand based on false facts ; as Christians are the bad guys when actually by that time Catholics were relentlessly pursued and massacred . A historical, epic film set in Roman Egyp with excellent acting , overwhelming set design , colorful cinematography by Xavi Gimenez , evocative musical score by Dario Marianelli and lavishly produced by Fernando Bovaira . Interesting and thought-provoking screenplay by Alejandro Amenábar and Mateo Gil , they wrote the script with Rachel Weisz in mind to play Hypatia, the lead character. Splendid performances all around and special mention to Rachel Weisz giving one of the best acting of his prestigious career . Originally, Alejandro Amenábar wanted Rachel Weisz, Sacha Baron Cohen and Jonathan Rhys Meyers to appear in the film. After reading the screenplay, Weisz did accept the part of Hypatia, however, Baron Cohen turned it down . Along with a notorious remaining cast such as Max Minghella as Davus , Oscar Isaac as Orestes , Ashraf Barhom as Ammonius , Michael Lonsdale as Theon and Rupert Evans as Synesius . Impressive production design , as the sets were built on the exact same spot , Fort Ricasoli, Malta, where the Coliseum was built for Gladiator . The fort was also used for Julius Caesar, Helena of Troy and Troy . Breathtaking visual effects , as the FX team designed the night skies accurately for the time period of the movie using a star chart software.

The picture is partially based on facts , as the texts written are varied : The contemporary 5th-century sources do identify Hypatia of Alexandria as a practitioner and teacher of the philosophy of Plato and Plotinus, but, two hundred years later, the 7th-century Egyptian Coptic bishop John of Nikiû identified her as a Hellenistic pagan and that "she was devoted at all times to magic, astrolabes and instruments of music, and she beguiled many people through her Satanic wiles". Not all Christians were as hostile towards her as John of Nikiu or the monks who killed her: some Christians even used Hypatia as symbolic of Virtue . Two widely cited, but divergent texts describe the feud between Orestes, the prefect of Alexandria and Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria . The feud and the city-wide anger it provoked ultimately brought about the death of Hypatia .One source, the Historia Ecclesiastica was written by Socrates Scholasticus some time shortly after Hypatia's death in AD 415 . Scholasticus gives a more complete, less biased account of the feud between Orestes and Cyril, and the role Hypatia played in the feud that resulted in her death. The other source, The Chronicle, written by John of Nikiu in Egypt, around 650 AD, demonizes Hypatia and Orestes directly, while validating all Christians involved in the events Nikiu describes.

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