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Elizabeth (1998)


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 59
Fresh: 48
Rotten: 11

Critics Consensus: No mere historical drama, Elizabeth is a rich, suspenseful journey into the heart of British Royal politics, and features a typically outstanding performance from Cate Blanchett.

Average Rating: 8.3/10
Reviews Counted: 12
Fresh: 12
Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: No mere historical drama, Elizabeth is a rich, suspenseful journey into the heart of British Royal politics, and features a typically outstanding performance from Cate Blanchett.


Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 62,529




Movie Info

London, 1554. England is rife with intrigue. Elizabeth, born of royal lineage (the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn), imprisoned by her half- sister Mary, when she is 16, is swept onto the throne and crowned Queen of England at 23. To survive, Elizabeth must suss out hidden agendas in her court, on the battlefield, in the church, and in those closest to her. The male-dominated ruling class would appear to have the advantage, but Elizabeth will deploy whatever means necessary to keep, … More

R (for violence and sexuality)
Directed By:
Written By:
Michael Hirst
In Theaters:
May 25, 1999


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Critic Reviews for Elizabeth

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (48) | Rotten (11) | DVD (18)

Without [Blanchett], Kapur's extravagant history lesson (written by Michael Hirst) blurs into dark doings among men in tights.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

"Elizabeth" is superior historical soap opera that shrewdly sidesteps all the cliches of British costume drama with its bold, often modern approach.

Full Review… | July 31, 2008
Top Critic

Kapur cunningly confuses gender roles, equates sex with death, and rattles through dark, stony passions with some considerable panache.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's almost guaranteed to get a couple of Oscar nominations in the technical categories, and I think Blanchett deserves one, too.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Cate Blanchett gives a bravura performance in this dark and lurid account, which is done from a contemporary standoint as a conspiracy thriller, emphasizing the violent actions

Full Review… | January 11, 2011

Dank interior castle settings create a claustrophobic intensity that underscores the growing sense of paranoia and people's sinister machinations in this battle for England.

Full Review… | September 12, 2007
Apollo Guide

More often than not, it's a watchable and thought-provoking history lesson rather than the captivating, revealing, intimate portrait it wants to be.

December 6, 2004
Looking Closer

Drama of the ascendancy of England's most powerful queen brims with great acting, brilliant direction.

Full Review… | November 7, 2002

Historians will take issue with some of the filmmakers' choices, but fans of juicy historical drama will just hunker down for the feast.

Full Review… | October 15, 2002
Cincinnati Enquirer

Blanchett is the shining jewel in an otherwise dull and tarnished crown.

Full Review… | June 5, 2002
Boxoffice Magazine

É como um livro de História - mas sem a didática que tornou admiráveis outros exemplares afins produzidos pelo Cinema.

Full Review… | May 31, 2002
Cinema em Cena

Blanchett never curtsies to caricature. Her interpretation is complex, restrained, warmly sensual.

Full Review… | March 24, 2002
Boston Phoenix

A well-done drama about power politics and the cult of personality.

Full Review… | March 3, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

An excellent film, it does not warrant a higher rating because it assumes the audience is very familiar with Elizabeth I's rise to the throne.

Full Review… | October 24, 2001

Junkyard filth masquerading as an important history lesson.

Full Review… | April 20, 2001
Matinee Magazine

"Elizabeth" is history rendered with enough brains and imagination to more than make up for its fewstumbles.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Examiner

...a grand visual delight and liberating sixteenth century costume tale.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Nitrate Online

This is Blanchett at her best, responding to Kapur's lucid and firm direction, as he raises the film well above standard 'costumer' levels to an intricate, intelligent human and historical drama.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Urban Cinefile

A powerful, arty production, with a strong cast (with a couple of exceptions), perfoming well.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Empire Magazine

As Elizabeth, Cate Blanchett has a fierceness about her, an intensity that won't quit.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Philadelphia City Paper

The film cries out for a one-word review: Confusing.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Internet Reviews

Audience Reviews for Elizabeth


Clumsy filmmaking that doesn't always succeed in doing justice to the amazing screenplay, Cate Blanchett still manages to shine in a memorable peformance, a lot more comprehensive and profound than Kapur's awful direction.

Emile Tremblay

Super Reviewer

Its an interesting Biopic, not intirely sure i completely understand everything that was going on in this movie, but the acting was superb, the costume designs was amazing and it was directed and made beautifully! I think Queen Elizabeth 1 is an inspirational woman for what she did and dealt with! From making England poor and defenseless to making England one of the richest countries of that era! Good Job by all accounts! An interesting movie, one a feel i may have to watch again!

Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

Elizabeth chronicles the life of Elizabeth I from innocent young girl to one of the shrewdest and most politically savvy monarchs in England's history. Shekhar Kapur's story of the early life of the virgin queen certainly has a very impressive cast and the material concerns itself with one of the most fascinating periods of British history but the film suffers for his approach. The early part of the film resembles a melodramatic soap opera more than anything else and suffers greatly for his unsophisticated direction that seems far more interested with unnecessary visual embellishment than story telling. Things settle down after Elizabeth is crowned Queen however, and as Geoffrey Rush's Walsingham becomes more involved in the political machinations it all gets a lot more interesting. The performances are all solid and the costumes as attractive as you'd expect but there's something a little "made for TV" about it all. Kapur's direction is the main culprit, but the photography is also not as attractive as it might be making it lack the historically epic sweep I was expecting. It never descends into absurd romantic fantasy in a similar way to its sequel however, and as a whole Elizabeth stands up as a solid if unspectacular historical drama.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


This excellent historical drama turned newcomer Cate Blanchett into a star thanks to a brilliant performance as the young queen Elisabeth the First. The rest of the cast is just as outstanding, especially Geoffrey Rush as her protector, who seems to sense every plot and intrigue a mile away. The film takes its tension from the situation of pretty much everyone being against the young queen and her being forced to choose between several options of political marriage, while she is in love with someone else. The web of danger, betrayal and intrigues is very enthralling and helps the film maneuver through a few slow sequences. The cinematography is absolutely stunning, though. An entertaining, interesting and impressive history lesson.

Jens S.

Super Reviewer

Elizabeth Quotes

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]
– Submitted by Hussein A (2 years ago)
Sir Francis Walsingham:
Madam, if I may. A prince should never flinch from being blamed for acts of ruthlessness which are necessary for safe guarding the state and their own person. You must take these things so much to heart that you do not fear to strike. Even the very nearest that you have if they be implicated.
– Submitted by Hussein A (2 years ago)
Elizabeth I:
She has such power over men's hearts. They died for her.
Sir Francis Walsingham:
They have found nothing to replace her.
– Submitted by Hussein A (2 years ago)
Elizabeth I:
She has such power over men's hearts. They died for her.
– Submitted by Hussein A (2 years ago)
Elizabeth I:
He shall be kept alive to always remind me of how close I came to danger.
– Submitted by Hussein A (2 years ago)
Elizabeth I:
Observe, Lord Burghley, I am married... to England.
– Submitted by Hussein A (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

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