More About Cleopatra
This epic, spectacular love story of Egyptian queen Cleopatra and the Roman leaders Julius Caesar and Marc Antony has dazzled audiences with its elaborate sets, daring costumes, and thrilling sea battle since its release, but these can't compare with Elizabeth Taylor as the mesmerizing Cleopatra, struggling to save her Egyptian empire. When this film was released, it was known as much for its opulent filmmaking as it was for its huge budget overruns--it took two years to film because of Taylor's various ailments and a major script rewrite by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, moving the shooting studio from England to Italy, and replacing the original director and the actors to play the Roman leaders--as well as the very public and tempestuous offscreen affair between costars Taylor and Richard Burton, who duplicated their romance on the silver screen as the doomed Cleopatra and her true love, Marc Antony. Despite all the hubbub surrounding the film, audiences realized that its spectacular story could not be denied, and it has remained a classic ever since. The triple-star power of Taylor, Burton, and Rex Harrison (playing Julius Caesar) radiates throughout this lengthy production, and Mankiewicz, a consummate magician at depicting the shadings of human emotion, directed this threesome in one of the most famous and gloriously powerful love triangles ever to be captured on film.
1963 - Academy Awards - Best Art Direction - Set Decoration (Color) Winner
1963 - Academy Awards - Best Costume Design (Color) Winner
1963 - Academy Awards - Best Special Visual Effects Winner
1963 - Academy Awards - Best Cinematography Winner
Main Cast & Crew
Joseph L. Mankiewicz - Director
- Format: DVD (50th Anniversary Edition)
- Run Time: 243
- Color Format: Color
- UPC: 024543864400
- Genre: Drama
- Rating: G (MPAA)
- Release Date: April 2001
CLEOPATRA is a lengthy, sprawling, spectacular love story, helmed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, depicting Cleopatra's manipulation of Julius Caesar and Marc Antony in her ill-fated attempt to save the Egyptian empire. The lavish, stunning production stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in legendary on- (as well as off-) screen performances.
Rouben Mamoulian was the original director of CLEOPATRA, but Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who directed Elizabeth Taylor in SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER, took over after numerous delays. At the time of its completion, CLEOPATRA was the longest film in history at 4 hours and 3 minutes; it was cut by 21 minutes for its release. It was also the ninth biggest moneymaker of all time in the domestic market, even before its premiere, and the most expensive film made (before TITANIC in 1997), largely as a result of overruns caused by Taylor and Richard Burton's tempestuous relationship on- and offscreen. A 1934 version of CLEOPATRA was directed by Cecil B. DeMille, starring Claudette Colbert in the title role.
"...[A] gaudy-gorgeous pageant..." - 04/13/2001 Entertainment Weekly, p.53
3 stars out of 5 -- "[A]s a monument to pre-CGI pageantry, it doesn’t get much bigger than this." - 07/08/2013 Total Film