“Cleopatra” is a 1963 epic historical drama film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The film follows the story of the legendary Egyptian queen, Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor), as she navigates her way through political intrigue, romantic entanglements, and war. Cleopatra begins a love affair with Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison) in an effort to secure her power, but after Caesar's assassination, she turns to his protégé, Mark Antony (Richard Burton), for protection and love. However, their relationship becomes strained as Antony's loyalty is tested by his obligations to Rome and his desire for power.
“Cleopatra” is an epic spectacle of a film, with lavish sets and costumes that transport the viewer to the ancient world of Egypt and Rome. Elizabeth Taylor gives a mesmerizing performance as Cleopatra, capturing both her beauty and her intelligence, and her chemistry with Richard Burton is palpable. The supporting cast is also strong, with Rex Harrison giving a memorable turn as Julius Caesar.
At over four hours long, “Cleopatra” can be a bit of a slog at times, and the pacing can be slow in places. However, the film's grandeur and spectacle make up for any pacing issues, and the story of Cleopatra's political maneuverings and romantic entanglements is engrossing. Overall, “Cleopatra” is a classic epic that deserves its place in film history.
“Cleopatra” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, but it was also famously over budget and a major financial burden for 20th Century Fox. Despite its troubled production, the film received nine Academy Award nominations, winning four, including Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Cinematography, and Best Visual Effects. Elizabeth Taylor also received a nomination for Best Actress, and the film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Original Score, Best Sound, and Best Film Editing.
|Directed by||Joseph L. Mankiewicz|
|Produced by||Walter Wanger|
|Screenplay by||Joseph L. Mankiewicz Ranald MacDougall Sidney Buchman|
|Based on||The Life and Times of Cleopatra
by C. M. Franzero
by Plutarch, Suetonius, and Appian
|Starring||Elizabeth Taylor Richard Burton Rex Harrison Roddy McDowall Martin Landau Hume Cronyn George Cole|
|Music by||Alex North|
|Edited by||Dorothy Spencer|
|Distributed by||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation|
|Release date||June 12, 1963 (United States)|
|Running time||243 minutes|
|Box office||$57.8 million (US)
$40.3 million (worldwide theatrical rental)