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Queen of the Desert (2015)

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A chronicle of Gertrude Bell's life, a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century.


Werner Herzog


Werner Herzog (screenplay)
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicole Kidman ... Gertrude Bell
James Franco ... Henry Cadogan
Robert Pattinson ... T.E. Lawrence
Damian Lewis ... Richard Wylie
Jay Abdo ... Fattuh
Jenny Agutter ... Florance Bell
David Calder ... Hugh Bell
Christopher Fulford ... Winston Churchill
Nick Waring Nick Waring ... Sir Mark Sykes
Holly Earl ... Florence Lascelles
Mark Lewis Jones ... Lascelles
Beth Goddard ... Aunt Lascelles
Michael Jenn ... Thompson
William Ellis ... Early of Chester
John Wark ... Arnold Runcie


A chronicle of Gertrude Bell's life, a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One woman can change the course of history See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief nudity and some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



USA | Morocco


English | Arabic | Turkish | French

Release Date:

14 April 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kraljica pustinje See more »

Filming Locations:

Morocco See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (re-cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (5.1)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Robert Pattinson admitted that at 6' 1", he's actually too tall to play T.E. Lawrence who was much more diminutive in real life. See more »


Henry Cadogan did not die in Tehran. He died in Hertfordshire in 1908 from cancer. See more »


[first lines]
Sir Mark Sykes: [stadning at a map] Assuming become Ottoman Empire finally becomes defunct, Russia would get the Dardanelles, the portion closest to them, and the Italians the islands off the mainland.
Winston Churchill: And the French had no problem with that?
Charles Doughty-Wylie: The French have a problem with anything. That's their nature.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are shown over footage of sand blowing across the desert. See more »

Alternate Versions

A new cut with a running time of 110 minutes was presented at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles on Nov.8 2015. The original version, which premiered in Feb. 2015 at the Berlinale and was released in some countries, has a running time of 128 minutes. See more »


References Gallipoli (1981) See more »


The Queen's Fusiliers March
Written by Ken Stange
Performed by Sourcerer
See more »

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User Reviews

Werner must have gotten lost in the desert. Nicole is not Lawrence.
8 April 2017 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

Although it's not Lawrence of Arabia, and Robert Pattinson suffers from O'Toole comparison, director Werner Herzog still brings to life the hitherto little-known heroine, Gertrude Bell (Nicole Kidman). Her exploits at the beginning of the 20th century helped cast a favorite light on Bedouins and Druses as she moved among them and helped negotiate the end-of-WWI land split in Arabia and environs.

Herzog will have to suffer my criticism that remembers his crazed but magnetic wild men like Aguirre and Fitzcaraldo. Queen lacks the energy in his many stories of madmen like Aguirre. Here, while Nicole appears aristocratic and smart, she never rises above the thoughtful scholar or emerging anthropologist.

Alas, too much is the time spent with the two loves of her life and not enough time among the tribes and diplomats she had to corral to get her inside unknown territory. Why must women in movies still be defined by the men they love?

Herzog is not at his best with virtually half the film watching her dance around the Tehran Embassy diplomat, Henry Cadogan (James Franco), and the British officer, Charles Doughty-Wylie (Damian Lewis). Herzog misses the more romantic possibilities of her involvement in the war effort in favor of two not very interesting romances.

That her loves tend toward their suicide hints at the powerful woman who could have sparked these annihilations. Kidman, a fine actress who gives a nuanced performance here, is mostly directed to play coy more than adventuresome.

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