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Cleopatra [Blu-ray] [1963] [Region Free]

224 customer reviews

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Cleopatra [Blu-ray] [1963] [Region Free] + Ben-Hur - 3-Disc Edition [Blu-ray] [1959] [Region Free] + Spartacus [Blu-ray] [1960]
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Product details

  • Actors: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Roddy McDowall, Martin Landau
  • Directors: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Dutch, English, Finnish, French, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish
  • Dubbed: Spanish, French, Portuguese
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.20:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Jan. 2012
  • Run Time: 251 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005QV2OV6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,219 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

The opulence and grandeur of this epic spectacle has never been more glorious as it comes to Blu-ray for the very first time. This two-disc edition celebrates the Oscar®-Winning artistry*of this legendary film. Elizabeth Taylor stars as Cleopatra, the glamorous and cunning queen of Egypt. To secure her hold on power, she seduces the rulers of Rome, only to meet her match in Mark Antony, played by Richard Burton. Their passionate romance could decide the fate of the world's greatest empires.

*Cleopatra, 1963: Art Direction (Colour), Cinematography (Colour), Costume Design (Colour), Special Effects

Special Features:
Disc 1:
  • Cleopatra Through The Ages: A Cultural History
  • Cleopatra's missing footage
  • Fox Movie Channel presents Fox Legacy with Tom Rothman
  • Commentary with Chris Mankiewicz, Tom Mankiewicz, Martin Landau and Jack Brodsky
  • The Cleopatra Papers: A Private Correspondence
Disc 2:
  • Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood
  • The Fourth Star of Cleopatra
  • Archival footage of the New York premiere
  • Archival footage of the Hollywood premiere
  • Theatrical trailers


Still the most expensive movie ever made, Cleopatra nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox. It also scandalised the world with the very public affair of its two major stars, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. But Joseph L Mankiewicz's 1963 epic deserves to be remembered for more than its off-screen troubles. An extravagantly elaborate production, the sets and costumes alone are awe-inspiring; Mankiewicz's own literate screenplay draws heavily on the classics and Shakespeare; while the supporting cast, led by Rex Harrison as Caesar and Roddy McDowall as his nephew (and future emperor) Octavian, are all first-rate thespians and generally put in more convincing performances than either of the two leads.

Mankiewicz's original intention was to make two three-hour films: the first being Caesar and Cleopatra, the second Antony and Cleopatra. But before the film’s completion, and following a boardroom coup worthy of Ancient Rome itself, legendary mogul Darryl F Zanuck took back control of Fox and insisted that Cleopatra be cut to a more economical length. A heartbroken Mankiewicz was forced to trim his six-hour vision down to four. This was the "roadshow" version shown at the film’s premiere and now restored here. Then following adverse criticism and pressure from cinema chains Zanuck demanded more cuts, and the final released version ran a mere three hours--half the original length.

Capitalising on the feverish publicity surrounding Burton and Taylor, the shortened version played up both their on- and off-screen romance. This longer four-hour roadshow version allows for a broader view of the film, adding some depth to the politics and manipulation of the characters. But the director’s original six-hour edit has been lost. Perhaps one day it will be rediscovered in the vaults and Mankiewicz’s much-maligned movie will finally be seen the way it was meant to be. Until then, Cleopatra remains an epic curiosity rather than the complete spectacle it should be. --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Alice in Wonderland on 30 Jan. 2012
Format: Blu-ray
One of my favorite films. I've been watching this movie since i was a kid and must have seen it a hundred times, but never like this. A Stunning transfer on to blu ray, It's sharp and crisp, the colours are stunning as technicolor should be, its like watching the film for the first time again. You can see so much detail, things you may not of noticed in previous cinema/dvd/video screenings, so much going on in the back ground that I never took note of before. You can see the intricate detail of the costumes and how well the sets look, even the painted backdrops stand out now, and it finally does justice to how beautiful Elizabeth Taylor looks.
Most of the extras are the same as the last DVD release, though there is quite an interesting new Fox Legacy documentary. Nice packaging and outer sleeve with new art work on cover. A booklet would have been nice for the 50th anniversary edition, but all you get is the 2 discs.
Well worth the price for the picture quality alone.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 May 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
On your knees! It's something that Cleopatra her self shouts at a stunned Mark Antony, but it could quite literally have been shouted by many in Hollywood at 20th Century Fox as their gargantuan epic threatened to sink them. The trials and tribulations surrounding the film are stuff of legend, all of which makes for a film itself, but I will not go over old ground, there's a couple of great documentaries available out there and they are required viewing. They also help to explain somewhat why Cleopatra is not the genre defining classic many hoped it would be. Truth is is that no film could have lived up to the expectation that surrounded Cleopatra, as it is, with flaws and all, it's still a enjoyably lavish spectacle, harking back to a time when grandiose meant something. In fact a time of film making we could do with in today's day and age of retreads, remakes and soppy sequels.

Split in to two narratives, that of Caesar & Cleopatra and Antony & Cleopatra, film basically deals with how Rome sought to conquer Egypt as Cleopatra clung on grimly in power and affairs of the heart. A cast of quality thespians stand straight backed and deliver the plot machinations, set to the backdrop of magnificent ornate sets, period costuming, piercing photography and a pulse pounding musical score. Quite simply the grandeur and scope is stunning in its presentation. Not all the dialogue works, and there are passages of exchanges that come off as undernourished; while soap operatics take a hold in the second part of the film. Yet for the historical epic fan there is just too much that is great for this to be ignored or considered a stinker. From Rex Harrison - Elizabeth Taylor - Richard Burton & Roddy McDowall, to the opulence seeping from every pore, Cleopatra is a joyous eye opening experience. Yes! Flaws and all. 8/10
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By father2 on 17 Nov. 2005
Format: DVD
For a film that is now more than forty years old this DVD is simply outstanding. The film itself is contained on two DVDs and the extra features can be found on the third DVD. But if you view the film you will feel that this has just been produced, such is the quality. Sure the special effects are not there, so obvious in modern films like the 2004 epic Troy, but everything is done on a grand scale. The film remains the most expensive film ever made and you can understand why. Whereas today many of the grand sets would be done on computers, 20th Century Fox had to produce everything as a real set. So when you see Cleopatra's grand entrance to Rome this is the real deal, not pixels. The colours are vivid, the sound very powerful and the acting of the two main stars - Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton - is highly charged. Impressive historical entertainment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 Mar. 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This restored version - the 4-hour release that was immediately rejected by theatres as impossible to screen 2x per night, forcing more than an hour to be cut - is an absolute delight for the eyes. From the first minutes when Caesar appears, I was utterly riveted by the splashy spectacle, the evocation of a vastly different time, and acting that can only be called first rate. The only thing that threw me off, as a Roman history nut, was the ridiculous historical inaccuracies that could only be made by an ignoramus.

On the positive side, the drama is a complete success: Cleopatra, the last Ptolemaic queen of Egypt, uses her feminine attributes and fine mind to advance a dream of staying in power and perhaps even create a new empire based on Roman power. To do so, she seduces first Julius Caesar, who restores her to power in a civil war with her brother-husband, and bears him a son. Once Julius dies, she then seduces his lieutenant, Marc Anthony, eventually losing to the wily Octavian, Caesar's adopted son. In the process, she genuinely falls in love with Anthony, perhaps for the first time in her life. They die together by their own hand. Surely, this is one of the greatest dramas of power and love in the history of mankind and it is the basis of this film, executed to perfection.

The costumes, sets, and images of sex and power are wonderfully vivid, which the bluray version (I have the British one that is available for $10 in Europe) brings with the sharpest of clarity. Beyond the actors (whose salaries were the highest ever paid), these props are the reason for the cost of the film. In my opinion, they were worth every penny as there are few film experiences that could compete.

Finally, there is the acting.
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Region coding 6 17 Mar 2012
Good release, but... 2 6 Feb 2012
European / Brazilian Portuguese subtitles 0 4 Feb 2012
subtitles 1 5 Jan 2012
Run time 2 5 Jan 2012
portuguese subtitles? 1 5 Jan 2012
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