Cleopatra is undoubtedly one of the most famous, commanding, and impressive rulers of Ancient Egypt. She was the ruler of Egypt during the 1st Century BC and has since been a recognized part of pop culture. Cleopatra has inspired a Shakespeare play and appeared in dozens of Hollywood films. She has been the topic of several stories, whether tangible historical tales or artistic analysis of her associations with Caesar or Anthony.
While many have often pondered what Cleopatra looked like, almost every modern and semi-modern portrayal of Cleopatra tells us she was stunningly beautiful. Then in February 2007, a coin bearing a portrait of Cleopatra was unearthed, which appears to show that the Queen was, in fact, rather ordinary-looking. Nonetheless, Cleopatra has reached a kind of immortality that hardly any of her contemporaries ever did. That being said, we have compiled a selection of the best and most popular Cleopatra films.
Cleopatra’s Tomb, also known as Robbing Cleopatra’s tomb, was a short silent film directed by Georges Méliès. The film is one of the earliest horror movies ever produced. It stars Méliès as a tomb robber and Jehanne d’Alcy as Cleopatra’s ghost.
In the movie, a man digging inside an Egyptian tomb desecrates the Queen’s mummy and produces a woman from a smoking brazier. D’Alcy was the first movie actor to portray Cleopatra (although as her ghost). Cleopatra’s Tomb is a lost film. A print was reported to have been discovered by the Lobster Film Company in France, but it turned out it was a different movie about a grave robbery that had been mistaken for Cleopatra’s tomb.
Cleopatra is a Japanese adult animated fantasy film directed by Eiichi Yamamoto and Osamu Tezuka. It Starred Chinatsu Nakayama as Cleopatra, Hajime Hana as Julius Caesar, and Osami Nabe as Marcus Antonius. In the film, three humans discover that in the far future, an alien race called the Pasateli intends to conquer humanity with the mysterious Cleopatra Plan. Using a time machine, the three transfer their minds into the bodies of the historical Cleopatra’s court members to discern and prevent the plan.
The movie was not received well by audiences in America and its native Japan. It received mixed reviews from critics; some praised its color and imagery, while others said the film was partly sophomoric. The film was also a commercial failure, flopping at the box office.
Serpent of the Nile is a Technicolor historical adventure directed by William Castle and produced by Sam Katzman. The film starred Rhonda Fleming as Cleopatra and Raymond Burr as Marcus Antonius. It opens in 44 BC after the assassination of Julius Caesar and revolves around Cleopatra and her relationship with the Roman general Mark Anthony. Though the film had a low budget, the costumes are excellent; for example, Cleopatra is unmistakably wearing a bullet bra which was fashionable in the 1950s, and the Egyptian dancing girls are donning bikinis of the same era. However, the script needs more credibility as some incidents in the life and loves of Cleopatra are dusted off, making it a seldom-seen version of the story. Rhonda Fleming acting is impeccable, and she stands out as one of the most luscious incarnations of the Queen of the Nile to date.
Antony and Cleopatra is a film adaptation of the play Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare. It was shot in Spain and directed by Charlton Heston. Hildegarde Neil stars as Cleopatra while Charlton Heston plays Mark Anthony. The plot follows an affair between Cleopatra and Anthony and Neil does an excellent job portraying Cleopatra. However, the film was not well received and, as a result, had a limited release in the United States.
This doesn’t mean it isn’t a great production, it most definitely is, but it did not break any new ground in the way Laurence Olivier’s Shakespeare films had done. We are not sure why some people disdain it, but the movie is beautifully filmed, acted, directed, written, and edited. With great costumes and lavish sets, it’s a great film that is underrated.
Two Nights with Cleopatra is an Italian comedy film directed by Mario Mattoli and written by Ruggero Maccari and Ettore Scola. The movie stars Sophia Loren, who takes two roles, as both the conniving Queen of the Nile with a “man-a-night” appetite and a beautiful lookalike slave girl who is made to pass for her and is wooed by a bodyguard who thinks she’s the real Queen.
In the film, Cleopatra spends her nights with one of Mark Anthony’s (Ettore Manni) bodyguards, who is poisoned the next day so that he cannot tell the previous night’s events. The film depicts Cleopatra according to the myth that she used her beauty to seduce and bewitch the mighty Romans. The sets and the costumes are excellent, and Sophia Loren is exquisite, just as we imagine Cleopatra to look.
Asterix and Cleopatra is a Belgian–French animated comedy directed by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo and is the second Asterix adventure to be made into a feature film. The movie is strikingly more well-produced than the earlier film; the animation has far more details, and the soundtrack is more polished. In the movie, Obelix (Hal Brav) and Asterix (Lee Payant) go to Egypt to help architect Numerobis build a palace for Cleopatra (Ginger Hall).
The movie is basically a musical, containing three different song sequences and a more varied score than its predecessor. The film is the most famous animation about Cleopatra and is full of fun characters, good visual humor, and clever wordplay. The movie was well-received, having a rating of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra is a French/Italian fantasy comedy directed and written by Alain Chabat based from the comic book series Asterix by Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny. The film is the second installment in the Asterix Film series and a sequel to Asterix and Obelix vs Caesar (1999). Cleopatra is played by Monica Bellucci, Obelix by Gerard Depardieu, and Asterix by Christian Clavier. In the film, Queen Cleopatra strikes a deal with Julius Caesar (Alain Chabat) that if the Egyptians build a palace at Alexandria, which is grander than Caesar’s palace in Rome, he must admit that Egypt was the greatest of nations.
Cleopatra hires the architect Numerobis to accomplish the task, who then enlists the aid of his most trusted allies, Obelix and Asterix. The film is the most recent renowned movie portrayal of Cleopatra. It was critically acclaimed for its performances and was a success at the box office in France.
Caesar and Cleopatra is a British film directed by Gabriel Pascal and is adapted from the play Caesar and Cleopatra (1901) by George Bernard Shaw. The film was distributed by Eagle-Lion and produced by Pascal Film Productions. It is about love and politics in Ancient Egypt and Rome and tells the story of Caesar’s occupation of Alexandria after his defeat of Pompey. Vivien Leigh played Cleopatra, and Claude Rains portrayed Caesar.
The film was shot in Technicolor and had lavish sets, which made it the most expensive British film ever produced at the time. The director ordered sand from Egypt to achieve the right cinematic color. Upon its release, the film failed to earn back its enormous budget, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t well performed; the two lead stars gave stand-out performances. They were Oscar nominees, and Vivien Leigh won an Oscar for Best Leading Actress in Gone with the Wind (1939).
Cleopatra is an American epic film directed by Cecil B. DeMille and was based on Bartlett Cormack’s adaptation of historical material. The screenplay was written by Vincent Lawrence and Waldemar Young and was distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film was shorter than other regular historical films, but the direction was fantastic, winning an Oscar for Cinematography. Claudette Colbert played Cleopatra, Henry Wilcoxon played Mark Antony, and Warren William portrayed Julius Caesar.