- 4 hr 8 min
Cleopatra is a historical epic, released in 1963, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Rex Harrison. The movie follows the story of Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, and her relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. The movie begins with the death of Ptolemy XII, Cleopatra's father, and her subsequent ascent to the throne. Cleopatra is portrayed as a powerful and intelligent woman who is capable of ruling Egypt with great authority. She quickly becomes embroiled in the political turmoil of the time, with the Romans seeking to expand their empire into Egypt. Julius Caesar, played by Rex Harrison, lands in Egypt and meets with Cleopatra. The two have an instant attraction, and they become lovers. Caesar helps Cleopatra reclaim her throne, and she becomes the undisputed Queen of Egypt. However, their relationship causes controversy in Rome, and Caesar is forced to return to Rome to deal with the fallout. Cleopatra continues to rule Egypt, and she eventually meets Mark Antony, played by Richard Burton. The two form a passionate relationship, and Antony becomes Cleopatra's lover and political ally. However, their relationship is threatened by Antony's marriage to Octavia, the sister of Caesar's successor, and Antony's increasing political ambition. The movie follows the dramatic events that unfold as Cleopatra and Antony's relationship deepens, and their political ambitions collide with the interests of Rome. The resulting conflicts lead to war, tragedy, and ultimately, the downfall of Cleopatra and her kingdom. One of the most notable aspects of Cleopatra is the lavish production design, including elaborate sets and costumes. The movie was one of the most expensive productions of the time, with a budget of over $31 million. Elizabeth Taylor's costumes, designed by Irene Sharaff, were particularly notable, with more than 65 changes throughout the movie. The movie also features impressive performances by the lead actors. Elizabeth Taylor is captivating as Cleopatra, delivering a powerful and nuanced performance that captures the complexity of the character. Richard Burton is also impressive as Antony, bringing depth and emotion to the character's dramatic arc. Rex Harrison, as Julius Caesar, delivers a strong performance, portraying the political intrigue and complex relationships of the time. The movie was not without controversy. The on-set affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, both of whom were married to other people at the time, created a media frenzy around the production. The movie also faced criticism for its portrayal of historical events, with some arguing that the film took significant liberties with the facts in order to create a more dramatic narrative. Despite these criticisms, Cleopatra remains a classic of Hollywood history, known for its grand production design, impressive performances, and dramatic storytelling. The movie continues to captivate audiences with its portrayal of one of history's most fascinating figures, and the tempestuous relationships that shaped her legacy.