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Cleopatra [DVD] [1999] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Billy Zane , Timothy Dalton , Franc Roddam    DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

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Product details

  • Actors: Billy Zane, Timothy Dalton, Rupert Graves, Leonor Varela, John Bowe
  • Directors: Franc Roddam
  • Writers: Anton Diether, Margaret George, Stephen Harrigan
  • Producers: Dyson Lovell, Robert Halmi Jr., Robert Halmi Sr., Steve Harding
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Oct 2001
  • Run Time: 177 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005OW0D
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 195,776 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but not a must 16 Oct 2004
Format:VHS Tape
I gave this film four stars because aspects of it were fantastic. The film as a whole was extremely good but when we break down the actual different aspects we arrive at a different conclusion. The acting for example is not brilliant, it is generally competent but in places it slips quite majestically. The special effects also leave a lot to be desired but the sets, costumes and dialogues are simply stunning. The costume in this film is particularly breathtaking and the sets are easily their equals. This film deals with issues that were not in the original, including the murder of Cleopatra's sister Arsinoe on the orders of Cleopatra. This film however lacks the power of the original 1963 Cleopatra simply because Leonor Varela lacks the same talent as Elizabeth Taylor. Obviously picked for her looks Varela often makes the character lifeless and wooden, devoid of the femiminity that attracted me so much to the original Cleopatra. In all it is an entertaining film but for your money I would buy the 1963 version, it may not be as historically accurate with regard to costume but it is in all a much better quality of film and one which can be enjoyed countless times.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Visual Splendour Rather Than Historical Accuracy 20 Mar 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Less campy (and less embarrassing) than the famous Liz Taylor epic yet not quite as sexy as the Claudette Colbert version, this Cleopatra is still highly enjoyable - so long as you are not a stickler for historical accuracy. Originally a television mini-series, its three hour length is easily digested in a single viewing. The pace and visual splendour keep you interested as the comic book-style script unfolds. The settings - Morocco for the exteriors, Shepperton Studios for the interiors - and well researched costumes offer a never ending feast for the eyes. Some interesting twists are added to the overly familiar storyline - the inclusion of Cleopatra's sister, for instance. A nice mixture of soap opera and sword and sandal epic to be enjoyed with an open mind and lots of popcorn.
The acting is surprisingly good although Billy Zane is a weird choice for Marc Antony. But timothy Dalton relishes his role as Julius Caesar, tossing off dialogue as if it were Shakespeare and dominating every scene he's in. equally good is Rupert Graves as Octavius whose multi-layered performance becomes more impressive as the film progresses. Of course, the key role is Cleopatra herself and Leonor Varela takes a pretty good stab at eclipsing memories of Liz. She is certainly more the right age and has the prerequisite exotic looks (I will confess to being fascinated by her nipples throughout). Just when you think her acting is running the risk of leaving splinters in her co-stars, she explodes with a sudden dramatic intensity and you begin to believe that this spoiled little girl could be the Queen of Egypt. I found this film the perfect way to pass a few hours on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars if Cleo had been like this... 20 Feb 2010
Egypt would have been doomed sooner! I was quite looking forward to a couple of hours relaxation with this dvd. However, I soon found myself squirming in my seat and almost unable to look away - a reaction best reserved for horror movies! Okay, it was lush and opulent, sort of, but apart from pretty scenery had little to recommend it. Tim Dalton was good as Caesar, in fairness, but then he is a competent actor even at his worst. Billy Zane was very charming and disarming, so then, a regular performance from him. There was zero chemistry between Zane and Leonor Varela, who played the title role - and butchered it! Okay, she is playing Cleopatra at a very young age, which she more or less conveyed. But she did not have the magnetism or gravitas to play someone who was a powerful ruler and astute politician that Cleo was. The best performances came from the supporting actors, especially those in 'blink & you'll miss 'em' roles, including Omid Djalili as a crooked storemaster - nice comic turn and a welcome relief from all the (nonexistent) sexual tension. The script was also a let down. The death scene harks back to the Shakespearian idea that Cleo applied the asp to her bosom, but, having been taken a direct hit to the heart, she lasts for quite a few minutes making a long and rather silly speech. Even I can't suspend belief that far! Nil Pointes.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revisioning history 16 Mar 2006
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
This production of Cleopatra, intended originally as a miniseries on television, is a reasonably good production with significant differences from the block-buster Hollywood version starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison. Cleopatra here is depicted as someone striving to maintain her own position, not necessarily someone with an eye toward world-wide conquest. Cleopatra is portrayed as an inexperienced person (both sexually and politically) until tutored by the more experienced Romans. She comes to understand her fate is inextricably intertwined with Caesar, then Antony, but her love for Antony keeps her from making the politically expedient move of giving in to Octavian. Apparently two Roman rulers are enough for one lifetime.
Like the earlier film production, this one plays fast and loose with the actual history, albeit in different ways. The figure of Octavian/Augustus is far more present earlier here than he was in history; for a production that goes on the greater part of three hours, remarkably little detail about the history is brought forward, and I found that distracting. The last hour could have easily been recut into a half-hour, and some judicious editing throughout the rest of the film could make it into a much better paced two-hour film.
The acting was tolerable but generally unconvincing. Timothy Dalton as Julius Caesar, Billy Zane (who got top billing) as Marc Antony, and Rupert Graves as Octavian were not up to their usual acting standards in this production. Dalton was not very expressive, and Zane and Graves were overly so (Graves plays an almost flippant character, not at all in keeping with the historical Augustus).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable
I saw this mini series on TV a few years ago. The Antony and Cleopatra story is a classic, and while not on the scale of Burton and Taylor, It's very enjoyable to watch.
Published 12 days ago by C. JONES
1.0 out of 5 stars Queen of Hearts
Given its origin as a TV miniseries, spliced into a single narrative, I was prepared to cut this DVD some slack. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jack Heslop
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly surprised
I wasn't expecting a great deal from this "straight to DVD" account of the life of the most famous (and infamous) character in Egyptian history, but I was pleasantly surprised by a... Read more
Published on 25 Feb 2012 by Daniel Park
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a classic, but great fun
The Margaret George novel, on which this adaptation is loosely based, is one of my favourite books. I knew that any movie version would cut out a lot of the subsidiary characters... Read more
Published on 4 Sep 2011 by SparklyD
4.0 out of 5 stars Carry on Cleo!
This is an enjoyable piece of historical hokum .Trouble is: Timothy Dalton is a one dimensional Caesar; one feels quite relieved when he gets bumped off on the steps of the Senate... Read more
Published on 1 Sep 2011 by DV8 Diva
4.0 out of 5 stars a quality production
Obviously not as lavish as the Richard Burton and Elizabeth version but never the less a quality production despite all that, well worth viewing if you are into historical epics
Published on 3 July 2011 by C. Bryan
5.0 out of 5 stars cleopatra 1999 tv film
I have been after this film for probably 10 years,and it was worth the wait,geat sets,good intelligent dialogue,passionate and realistic character acting,exciting battles. Read more
Published on 27 May 2011 by pete
5.0 out of 5 stars Cleopatra
I have to confess that I prefer this version of Cleopatra to the over rated Liz Taylor/Rex Harrison film. Read more
Published on 18 April 2011 by John Moore
1.0 out of 5 stars Comments
This is not an old film as old films go so there shouldn't be any excuse for the very poor quality of the making. Read more
Published on 9 Mar 2011 by Hillary
Here is a new and excellent film of Cleopatra, three hours long, but I watched it all the way through. Read more
Published on 10 Feb 2011 by Tallulah
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