Cleopatra (1999 film)
|Directed by||Franc Roddam|
|Produced by||Robert Halmi Jr.
Robert Halmi Sr.
|Written by||Margaret George (novel)
Stephen Harrigan (teleplay)
Anton Diether (teleplay)
|Music by||Trevor Jones|
|Distributed by||Hallmark Entertainment|
|Running time||177 minutes|
Cleopatra is a 1999 fictional film portrayal of the Egyptian queen Cleopatra, produced by Hallmark Entertainment, starring Leonor Varela as the title character, Timothy Dalton as Julius Caesar, Billy Zane as Mark Antony, Rupert Graves as Octavius, Sean Pertwee as Brutus and Bruce Payne as Cassius. The movie was based on the book Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George. The film was shown first on television in two parts and then released on videotape and DVD.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (July 2011)|
The film begins in Alexandria with Cleopatra VII, Egypt's rightful Queen, in exile, while her sister Arsinoe and younger brother, Ptolemy have stolen the throne. Roman soldier Julius Caesar comes to collect Egypt's tax debt. After conversing with a courtesan, Cleopatra smuggles herself into the palace wrapped in a carpet; a gift from her to Caesar. He accepts the gift and the twenty-year-old queen is revealed to the 52-year-old man. The two spend the night together, and the next morning, Cleopatra and twelve-year-old Ptolemy are betrothed to marry by Caesar. Shortly after the siblings are wed, Cleopatra is proclaimed Queen of Egypt, forcing Ptolemy to join forces with Arsinoe and drive their sister out of Alexandria.
A war breaks out between the Romans and Ptolemy's Egyptian forces, and in the process, Alexandria's great library is burned to the ground. Even with this loss, Cleopatra soon celebrates the return of her Roman lover, and the capture of her traitor sister, Arsinoe. The two take a 2-month journey down the Nile aboard one of the Queen's elegant ships. Upon their return, Caesar breaks the news that he must leave for Rome. Unbeknownst to him, Caesar leaves Cleopatra pregnant with his child. A son is born to the queen roughly nine months later; he is named Ptolemy Caesar, in honor of his father.
Back in Rome, believing that he should hold the same status as his Egyptian lover, Caesar demands he be declared King of Rome. Although they are hesitant to do so, the senate eventually grants Caesar's request. Now having been declared king, Caesar invites Cleopatra to stay at one of his villas, just outside Rome. With her, she brings the couple's infant son, whom the Egyptian people call 'Caesarion', meaning 'Little Caesar'. In front of his people (including wife Calpurnia), Cleopatra declares that Caesar is her son's father, publicly forcing his hand, and demanding that her son be allowed to rule both Egypt and Rome invoking the consternation of Brutus and Cassius.
Although he accepts Caesarion as his child, Caesar denies the queen's request, explaining that Egypt is only free from Rome because he wishes it to be. Just before her return to Egypt, Cleopatra soon learns that Caesar has been assassinated at the hands of Brutus, Cassius and other senators. The burdens of ruling fall on the shoulders of Caesar's Roman heir and grandnephew, Octavian; a teenage boy who hates Cleopatra. With his ascendancy, Octavian has Brutus killed while Cassius kills himself.
Octavian also plans to rid himself of his rival, Cleopatra's baby boy, Caesarion, who, as Caesar's only child, threatens his reign. Renaming himself Caesar Augustus, Octavian sends soldiers to Egypt to find and kill Caesar's son. In the meantime, Caesar's boyhood friend and cousin, Marc Antony is sent to Alexandria to protect Caesarion and Queen Cleopatra. In spending time with together, Antony and Cleopatra fall in love. Although they wish to marry, Antony reveals that he wed Octavian's sister, the submissive Octavia, in order to strengthen his alliance and co-ruling with the new emperor. Defying his Roman beliefs against polygamy, Antony marries Cleopatra in Antioch, claiming that her son, Caesarion, is heir to not only Egypt, but also Rome.
Upon hearing of Antony's claim, Octavian wages war against the two lovers, trapping Cleopatra in her own city. Threatening suicide if Octavian does not let her son go, Cleopatra learns that she has lost Antony, killed in battle against Octavian's army. Octavian arrives in Egypt, demanding that Cleopatra join him in Rome as his prisoner. She refuses and demands that her son be allowed to rule Egypt. Octavian does not agree to this, but allows Antony to have an Egyptian burial. After sending her children to India, Cleopatra's plan goes through, as she has a basket of figs brought to her heavily guarded tomb. There, she lets the asp bite her, and dies shortly after. Her handmaidens quickly follow their queen's example. Octavian's men break through the doors, only to discover that the queen is dead. After they discover that Cleopatra is dead, Octavian then takes over Egypt about two years later after Cleopatra's death.
- Leonor Varela - Cleopatra
- Timothy Dalton- Julius Caesar
- Billy Zane - Marc Antony
- Rupert Graves - Octavius
- Sean Pertwee - Brutus
- Bruce Payne - Cassius
- David Schofield- Casca
- John Bowe - Rufio
- Art Malik- Olympos
- Nadim Sawalha - Mardian
- Owen Teale - Grattius
- Philip Quast - Cornelius
- Daragh O'Malley - Ahenobarbus
- Omid Djalili - Store Master
- Richard Armitage - Epiphanes
- Denis Quilley - Senator
- Cleopatra (1963 film) featuring Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra
- List of historical drama films
- List of films set in ancient Rome