Cleopatra (1963)

Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) in the 1963 movie Cleopatra
Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor)

Plot Overview:
Caesar comes to Egypt and looks to settle the battle over Egypt between Ptolemy and his sister Cleopatra. Ptolemy, however, rules horribly and in Caesar's interest devises a way to put Cleopatra as ruler of Alexandria.

Eventually the two unite and Cleopatra has a child with Caesar. Honoring that the child is his, Caesar makes him the heir to his position.

Caesar finally returns to Rome and after three years is named Dictator of Rome. News gets back to Cleopatra and she is happy. However, she is informed that the position is distinct from being a King. The position of a Dictator is powerful, but his mandates are to be approved by the Senate.

Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) in the 1963 movie Cleopatra

Caesar starts to get bored of his meaningless title and looks to appoint himself Emperor of Rome. However, Caesar is forcefully removed from power. Caesar's nephew Octavian is named heir instead of his son Caesarion.

Eventually a pact is form between Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus with each gaining control of a different area. The remaining portion of the movie centers on the rivalry between Octavian and Antony and the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra.

20130718, 20131029:
The great thing about this movie is it has a lot of history attached to it. However, regarding the historical accuracy see the Historical accuracy section of the Cleopatra (1963 film) Wikipedia article.

Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison) in the 1963 movie Cleopatra
Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison)

Everything from the costumes to the sets are well-done and pleasing to see.

Unfortunately, I was bored with the second half of the movie. This may have been due to watching the second half a good three months after the first half, but I also just think there was a lot of uninteresting and/or repetitive moments.

While a long documentary on Cleopatra, Caesar, and Mark Antony would have kept me entertained more consistently than this movie, I enjoyed watching it for its visual appeal and I would recommend movie viewers watch the movie for at least that reason alone. If you enjoy watching romance movies which are more dramatic than your average romantic drama, then you should be more inclined to see Cleopatra.

Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) bathing in the 1963 movie Cleopatra
Cleopatra bathing.

[20131218][20181213 Edit]

Instant Comments:
1: I don't think I've ever watched a movie as long as Cleopatra. Four hours (and three minutes)! [The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Extended Edition is 264 minutes long. Gone with the Wind (1939) is twenty minutes short of the four hour mark.]
1a: "For the time being."
1a: I think that's suppose to be historical. The burning of the Great Library of Alexandria.
1a: "Two hours 'til dawn." "What happens at dawn?" "I thought you knew, the sun comes up."
1a: "Eyes of a statue to be always without life."

Cleopatra arrives in Rome with her son Caesarion.

1a: "Sudden."
1a: I fell asleep before intermission started, around the one hour 15 minute mark. Waking around the two hour 10 minute mark, I was confused. I decided to finish the movie another day, Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) is gorgeous, but I can only handle so much filler.
1b: I watched about half an hour of it today.
1c: "I asked it of Julius Caesar, I demand it of you!"
1c: I find the bulk of this second half rather boring compared to the first half. I lost my interest about fifteen minutes in.
1a=20130718, 1b=20131028, 1c=20131029

Cleopatra and Mark Antony in the 1963 movie Cleopatra
Mark Antony (Richard Burton) and Cleopatra

Watched 1st half 20130718 (Netflix, Instant) 243 min.
Watched 2nd half 20131029 (Netflix, Instant) 243 min. (Streaming until 20131101)
Cleopatra (1963) Joseph L. Mankiewicz. 192 min

Relevant Links:
Cleopatra (
Cleopatra (1963 film) (
Cleopatra (

Arch of Constantine: (Italian: Arco di Costantino)
The screenshot below shows part of the procession which precedes the arrival of Cleopatra and her son shown above. According to Wikipedia, the arch in the movie is "a detailed and life-size replica of the Arch of Constantine." In any case, I only recognized the arch upon making this blog post (20131218). I included a picture I took when in Rome of the actual arch below.

Life-size replica of the Arch of Constantine in the 1963 movie Cleopatra.
Arch of Constantine

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