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.



Total Count: 61


Audience Score

User Ratings: 63,395
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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.


Cate Blanchett
as Elizabeth I
Joseph Fiennes
as Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester
Geoffrey Rush
as Sir Francis Walsingham
Richard Attenborough
as Sir William Cecil
Christopher Eccleston
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 the Exchequer
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 Spain
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
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News & Interviews for Elizabeth

Critic Reviews for Elizabeth

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (50) | Rotten (11)

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

    Sep 7, 2011 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • "Elizabeth" is superior historical soap opera that shrewdly sidesteps all the cliches of British costume drama with its bold, often modern approach.

    Jul 31, 2008 | Full Review…

    David Rooney

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

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Kapur draws the best from an outstanding cast and delivers both an atmospheric romance and a mature exploration of a big theme - the dark duplicity, betrayal, and grubby ambition that runs through Britain's bloodthirsty history.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Matt Ford

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

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

    Paul Tatara

    Top Critic
  • Acted and directed with great energy and imagination.

    Mar 21, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Elizabeth

  • Dec 01, 2016
    A handsome period drama that looks stunning but feels more like reading a History book, with a plain screenplay that doesn't offer many surprises and a cold, didactic direction by Shekhar Kapur that doesn't leave us engaged in the way that it actually should.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 21, 2012
    Elizabeth is a fantastic period drama and one of the best historical films I have ever seen. I must admit i didn't expect to enjoy this because it seemed like it was going to be very slow and uneventful, but boy was I mistaken. The script and characters keep us interested for the entire film, and I was entertained throughout and that is something you need to look for in a historical film. Cate Balnchett is incredible and perfectly handles the character of Elizabeth perfectly and how she grows more mature and wise throughout the film. The settings, makeup, costumes, and acting are all triumphantly amazing and really put us in this time period and I loved it. Director Shekhar Kapur keeps the film interesting using its actors and story to its advantage, and instead of slowing the film down by giving a confusing and slow plot, he gives us this one complex character and show her grow more and more throughout the films events and that is what really blew me away, how you can watch the beginning and end and see the major differences in the films hero. Elizabeth has been in a fight with Shakespeare in Love for what was the better period piece, and honestly I love them both so much that I cannot choose, but what I know is that this film is completely original and stands on its own feet and succeeds at being a powerful historical film.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer
  • May 29, 2012
    For all of those who expect this to be an artsy politically royal type of movie, you have been warned. What makes Shekar Kapur's <i>Elizabeth</i> enjoyable is the contrast of commercial flavor and not-too-serious mechanism that gives it a memorable place in viewers mind. By no mean does the movie interpret the whole chronicle life of Elizabeth I, but with Cate Blanchett enigmatic performance, one would forget and maybe keen to learn and explore more on the tragic history of England's Protestant queen. 7.5/10
    Mesh B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 31, 2012
    This film is boring and forgettable. The one thing it does well is develop the Elizabeth character from a light hearted gal into a cold-blooded queen. However, the acting was so-so, the writing was plain and the editing was poor: Several scenes served no purpose but to prolong this mind-numbing bore-fest.
    Sanjay R Super Reviewer

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