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Elizabeth (1998)



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

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
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 0

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.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 62,504

My Rating

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,



Michael Hirst

May 25, 1999


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Latest News on Elizabeth

October 11, 2007:
Box Office Guru Preview: Wide Open Race For #1 Spot This Weekend
Five new films push their way into nationwide release on Friday hoping to challenge two-time champ...
December 5, 2006:
Cate Blanchett Resisted "Elizabeth" Sequel Before Reprising Oscar-Nominated Role
Historical period pieces don't usually generate franchises, so the idea of a sequel to 1998's...


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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.

September 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

July 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop 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

January 11, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

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.

September 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
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.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix

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

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

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

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

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

May 31, 2002 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

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

March 24, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

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

March 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
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.

October 24, 2001 Full Review

Junkyard filth masquerading as an important history lesson.

April 20, 2001 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

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

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

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

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Nitrate Online
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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

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

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

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

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Philadelphia City Paper
Philadelphia City Paper

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

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews | Comment (1)
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.
July 19, 2012

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!
June 19, 2012
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.
April 11, 2012
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.
April 2, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Mary of Guise: Go back to England, and take this to your Queen. Hm?
    2. Mary of Guise: [in French, to herself] English blood on French colors. [turns to her officer]
    – Submitted by Hussein A (2 years ago)
    1. 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)
    1. Elizabeth I: She has such power over men's hearts. They died for her.
    2. Sir Francis Walsingham: They have found nothing to replace her.
    – Submitted by Hussein A (2 years ago)
    1. Elizabeth I: She has such power over men's hearts. They died for her.
    – Submitted by Hussein A (2 years ago)
    1. 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)
    1. Elizabeth I: Observe, Lord Burghley, I am married... to England.
    – Submitted by Hussein A (2 years ago)
View all quotes (13)

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