Elizabeth (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes

Elizabeth (1998)



Critic 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.

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, or take, what is rightfully hers. This young woman of intelligence and vitality will toughen herself into the imposing icon of legend...Elizabeth I.more
Rating: R (for violence and sexuality)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Michael Hirst
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 25, 1999


Cate Blanchett
as Elizabeth I
Joseph Fiennes
as Robert Dudley, Earl...
Geoffrey Rush
as Sir Francis Walsingh...
Richard Attenborough
as Sir William Cecil
Christopher Ecclesto...
as Duke of Norfolk
Jamie Forman
as Earl of Sussex
James Frain
as Alvaro de la Quadra
Emily Mortimer
as Kat Ashley
Kathy Burke
as Queen Mary Tudor
Vincent Cassel
as Duc d'Anjou
Terence Rigby
as Bishop Gardiner
Kenny Doughty
as Sir Thomas Elyot
Edward Hardwicke
as Earl of Arundel
Fanny Ardant
as Mary of Guise
John Gielgud
as The Pope
Kelly Macdonald
as Isabel Knollys
Daniel Craig
as John Ballard
Amanda Ryan
as Lettice Howard
Eric Cantona
as Monsieur de Foix
Wayne Sleep
as Dance Tutor
Angus Deayton
as Waad, Chancellor of...
Liz Giles
as Female Martyr
Rod Culbertson
as Master Ridley
Paul Fox
as Male Martyr
Peter Stockbridge
as Palace Chamberlain
George Yiasoumi
as King Phillip II of S...
Valerie Gale
as Mary's Dwarf
Sally Grey
as Lady in Waiting
Kate Loustau
as Lady in Waiting
Elika Gibbs
as Lady in Waiting
Sarah Owen
as Lady in Waiting
Lily Allen
as Lady in Waiting
Joe White
as Master of the Tower
Matt Andrews
as Norfolk's Man
Liam Foley
as Norfolk's Man
Ben Frain
as Young French Man
Michael Beint
as Bishop Carlisle
Hayley Burroughs
as Elizabeth's Dwarf
Joseph O'Conor
as Earl of Derby
Brendan O'Hea
as Lord William Howard
Edward Highmore
as Lord Harewood
Daniel Moynihan
as First Bishop
Jeremy Hawk
as Second Bishop
James Rowe
as Bishop in Cellar
Donald Pelmear
as Third Bishop
Tim Bevan
as Handsome Man
Charles Cartmell
as Dudley's Man
Edward Purver
as Dudley's Man
Vladimir Vega
as Vatican Cardinal
Alfie Allen
as Arundel's Son
Daisy Bevan
as Arundel's Daughter
Jennifer Lewicki
as Arundel's Nursemaid
Viviane Horne
as Arundel's Wife
Nick Smallman
as Walsingham's Man
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Elizabeth

Critic Reviews for Elizabeth

All Critics (66) | Top Critics (12)

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

Shekhar Kapur gets particularly good work out of Blanchett, who invests Elizabeth with a disparate mix of naive vulnerability, tart wit and steadfast resolve, sometimes all within a single scene.

Full Review… | May 7, 2015

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

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

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 (4 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 (4 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 (4 years ago)
Elizabeth I: She has such power over men's hearts. They died for her.
– Submitted by Hussein A (4 years ago)

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