Cleopatra (1963) - Biography, Drama, History

Hohum Score



Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt experiences both triumph and tragedy as she attempts to resist the imperial ambitions of Rome.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton
Length: 192 Minutes
PG Rating: G
Reviews: 51 out of 220 found boring (23.18%)

One-line Reviews (178)

The result is an uneven production, which meanders between highly dramatic moments and snail's pace talk-a-thon interludes.

It is unjustly maligned occasionally, but time will prove this film to be what it genuinely is: awesome and fascinating.

I was totally bored the first fifteen minutes, and I had to drag myself through the whole four hours.

Much of it is dragged out and overstuffed, and while the story of Antony and Cleopatra is an epic one it doesn't feel like that here.

She also found the movie too long and, eventually, boring.

This movie just dragged on and on and on, especially in the last half, with the battle scenes.

And the story of Cleopatra is equally fascinating.

Roddy McDowall is a fun villain but the second half is mostly unbearable.

It was so dull that even the naval battle at the end could not pull me out of apathy.

A shame, then, that in the second half things slow down considerably and not much really happens.

If you have four plus hours to kill (and I will add that I had to spend considerably more time than that, as I kept falling asleep and had to back it up to the places where I would nod off) you might want to watch this.

Compelling .

It's hard to argue with any of CLEOPATRA's oft-cited criticisms, both positive (costume design, epic scale, and sumptuous sets) and negative (plodding action, stilted acting, historical liberties).

This is a sumptuous, attractive and, unfortunately, boring experience.

All of these hardly rescued this lavish film because of its over 200 minute long which was unable to make it big,but too slow.

However, most of the conflict is kept subtle, and thus contributes to the slow pacing of the movie.

You take semi-historical events, adding deep melodrama, some battle scenes, some love story, some tragic moments, some silly twists of plot, some sugary sweet sentiments, some highly predictable changes of plot, some half-dressed dancers, some very poorly staged sea battles with stones suddenly floating instead of sinking like stones usually do.

CLEOPATRA was all about spectacle in parts, but an action-fest it wasn't and audiences used to seeing Charlton Heston driving his chariot like none before him, literally, carving up the opposition, found this latter-day epic a trifle tedious.

), you'd hope for something more than a shrill and tedious star vehicle wherein Richard Burton, Roddy McDowall, and, of course, the coarse Elizabeth Taylor chew up the scenery as fast as the set builders can replace it.

On the Bluray the visuals are stunning.

It's when Cleopatra and Marc Antony get the most screen time in the second half, however, that things start to get a lot more absorbing; the chemistry in real life rubbed off on the two stars, and there are scenes where Burton (probably the most highly charged of the major actors) and Taylor square off like it's oneupmanship.

And that leads to a third big problem with Cleopatra: It's long, talky, and downright boring.

Richard Burton as Mark Antony is an exciting, emotional and arrogant general or lover.

The visual effect of what was created at Rome's Cinecitta studios is truly breathtaking - a triumph of design and staging.

Far too long.

He is simply stunning and there is a magnificent chemistry between him and the leading lady.

Elizabeth Taylor is riveting.

Try it if you want, but if you're already bored with the first hour I recommend you do not start the second one.

However, the set design and costumes are stunning.

Art-deco meets ancient Rome, complete with interior design and architecture that Frank Lloyd Wright himself might've influenced during the design of the sets; along with feminine fashions drawn right out of early 1960's fashion runways.

Multi-faceted characters, well-acted, with great cinematography, absolutely splendid sets, and music that is evocative and sultry, like Cleo, like Egypt.

Nevertheless, this movie is a masterpiece of cinematography and the chemistry between Burton and Taylor is riveting.

She also thought that the actors and actresses were "shouting," that the dialogue as written was unnatural and stilted, and as read by the actors was "stagey" and contrived.

Wonderful and breathtaking picture .

Taylor is beautiful and very interesting, Rex Harrison is his usual intriguing personage, and Roddy McDowell, who I remember most as a child actor may be the best of all.

Just about unwatchable .

It'll give you something to do when the banal dialogue and plodding pace starts putting you to sleep.

A breathtaking spectacle .

The next two hours were in short tedious, long and sometimes boring..The over-acting of Elizabeth Taylor(I still don't see why people are applauding her performance) becomes nerve-wracking..The many exchanges between her and Antony seem overextended and unnecessary.

It runs for four hours, and in between the more interesting and exciting scenes, there's a lot of padding with the dialogue and politics.

Cleopatra has gotten a solid rep for being an overlong drab of a historical epic.

Rex Harrison was ultra good--you believe he's a great, but tired leader and his love for his ambition and with it Cleopatra follows a logical progression that's exciting to watch---Richard Burton--For me, Richard Burton, not Liz who's the actor who is this film's cancer for lack of better word.

Only a few spectacular scenes on Todd A-O with Deluxe color process,wardrobes and some dialogue are worthwhile,likewise;music score composed by Alex North is still intriguing.

The story is burdened with plodding, irrelevant scenes that could easily have been scrapped.

Taylor and the male leads do a convincing job with dialog that is engaging, informative and moves the meaty story along at a decent clip to help mask its immense length.

It remains one of the all-time classics movies that is worth the watch.

This is he only movie I ever voluntarily walked out on it is that bad!

The first part with Caeaer and Cleopatra's relationship is totally fascinating.

It's a Spectacle, but nope, four hours is too long .

The scenes between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are cringe-inducing; they were lovers in real life, how could they be so tedious on screen?

The stunning visuals are obvious.

We weave our way through these three characters - Caesar, Marc Antony and the ravishing Cleopatra - with an exciting and turbulent storyline.

Mankiewicz,one of the most intelligent director of his time,rewrote the dialogue during the shooting,night after night ,and the results are stunning,considering the difficulties he encountered with his budget and his stars.

Even though the film becomes very slow at times (I find it best to watch it as "two-parter"), it does entertain.

It could be that she is so immersed in thoughts of Antony's death, or it could be that she no longer cares about the part.

Very Dull Movie .

Add to that a storyline that is about as slow and event-free as anything in recent memory and you've got what all the critics originally said this movie was - a flop.

Mankiewicz offers stodgy camerawork and blocking, a proscenium-arch literalism in response to the difficulties of organising movement on a Panavision 70mm screen.

Despite the sheer length and slow pacing of the film, I am glad to have seen it, for it has its moments.

It is exciting.

This reminds me of Fox's earlier 1954 "The Egyptian" which was more entertaining, with better music, more characters, a more humane running time and no bloated budget.

The film definitely becomes duller after Caesar is assassinated.

Her performance turns this film into quite enjoyable kitsch, despite all the problems and escalating costs that were largely her fault.

It is a long film, but it is both entertaining and engaging.

In 1963 it seemed old fashioned compared to the excitement of European cinema and what the critics perceived as new (many of their favourite films of that era now just seem dated and pretentious).

Quite simply the grandeur and scope is stunning in its presentation.

Ponderous, slow and dull-witted.

Cleopatra- a beautiful, absorbing gift .

Tedious and ultimately boring, it just again proves that poor writing will do in any fine actor or actress, whether that be Rex Harrison, who received a best actor Oscar nomination as Julius Caesar, Richard Burton, as Mark Antony and the gorgeous, recently departed Elizabeth Taylor, as the seductive, vicious Cleopatra.

REX HARRISON gives the only full-bodied performance in the film and unfortunately he's killed midway and is missing from the rest of this gargantuan bore.


The ensuing war is pointless and depressing.

It's always hard to know what might have been, but it's hard to believe that what got cut was two hours of exciting action sequences.

But still, there are many scenes which are absorbing and great fun to watch.

at best it's intelligent and captivating and historically interesting film-making - at worst, it's dull exposition .

See it expecting something a bit dry and dull, even if extremely well made.

Rather it is an intense romantic melodrama, in the line of the A Letter to Three Wives and All About Eve, concerning human interaction above all other things.

So the movie is a reasonably smart but rather plodding and uncinematic filmed Rome play shot in the style of a perfume ad.

Mankiewicz did it by completing this breathtaking epic, which is one not to be forgotten.

Some good performances, but otherwise very boring .

The script was poorly written, the story pointless and overdramatic.

silly, uninteresting histrionics .

Rome's politics at this time was similarly determined by the crafty propaganda of a media elite to prop up vacuous leaders.

But not much substance, and pretty tedious for four freakin' hours.

The film is good, but far far too long.

I don't think it's an altogether bad film, just a touch lifeless, solemn and far too long.

But it is very entertaining.

A director-commissioned cut was said to have existed as two three-hour features, but the present movie, at 4 hours and 8 minutes, is still far too long.

I haven't viewed the DVD version, but THAT must surely be breathtaking.

Antony's struggle to break free of the shadow of almighty Caesar and his struggle against the beguiling wiles of Cleopatra are fascinating to watch.

A real waste when you think of all the extras and money spent on authentic looking arms and armor.

I did enjoy watching it for the most part, but I have to admit it was drawn out to long.

Watching it on a large screen was amazing, the scenery, the set design, and the costumes were absolutely stunning.

Worth watching, at least once!

Approached without expectations and preconceptions, the film's largely accurate history, solid performances, and stunning physical attributes will reward patient viewers.

But on the plus site, Cleopatra's entrance to Rome is breathtaking, the sets are simply magnificent, these are the movie's greatest (and only!

The costumes, particularly Elizabeth Taylor's, are stunning.

Also,the pacing was slow that one may lose interest in this almost 4-hour film.

Cleopatra is a stunning leader, a woman in an age of male leaders.

Way too long...

People, then, watch the movie expecting to see some horrifyingly fascinating disaster.

I found it stiff and uninteresting; a near-torture to sit through.

It simply wasn't enough for a movie to be big, and stunning, and a visual treat.

However, here they were interesting, fascinating and original.

For this first part, which is mostly with Harrison and Taylor and a little Burton thrown in, it's a lot of exposition that sometimes is quite dull; one wonders when the big spectacle will come about, the exception of course that spectacular "entrance" of Cleopatra's into Rome.

This is when the film becomes a complete bore-fest of nothing more than Richard Burton pouring out his feelings to Elizabeth Taylor, and her saying, "Yes" or "No" to him.

But the story was compelling, and everybody gave their best.

Still, this is epic movie-making, very well done and well worth watching.

Perhaps the most infamous movie disaster of all time, Cleopatra is a fascinating film.

After going though all that trouble of mounting such and elaborate and expensive but alas empty scene, when the death of Caesar occurs, I really wondered why they bothered coming up with that time wasting scene only to kill Caesar a few minutes afterwards in the silliest possible way.

Those scenes were incredibly boring.

But compared with Gladiator or similar modern epics, Cleopatra is a brilliant film with an intelligent script, stunning design, masterly and beautiful cinematography in 70mm (which sure beats 35mm and does justice to the intricate sets and design), an evocative and effective musical score and superb costumes and makeup.

Composer Alex North had excelled himself with the score to "Spartacus" and he came up with another stunning, exotic soundscape for this one.

It is difficult to follow, especially if there is no cohesion between the constant conflicts, political intrigue and erotic romance.

The film is VERY long and anyone who could not sit through a film of medium length must not attempt this movie.

hohummmm, they could put mannequins in there and it will still win Oscars for design, costumes, cinematography, etc. Now I know the reason why this movie cannot be mentioned within the same breath as The Ten Commandments, Spartacus, Ben Hur.. I really fell asleep halfway into the movie.

For all its expense,this movie is far too boring.

Characters stand around in empty state rooms or boudoirs in heads-to-knees two- and three-shots, emoting and declaiming with hardly a close-up to vary the visual monotony.

He is unbearable to watch and should have been restrained--Oh why does Liz try to contract his sickness by becoming screechy and annoying too?

sound, the film is stunning.

Some of the action scenes in the movie were quite exciting and their was some sexy romantic moments as well.

Simply put, this is one of the most boring movies ever made.

The acting was wooden and the story too slow-moving.

When you have a film over four hours long, you really have to made it enjoyable.

For a film fascinating a little kid like me back in the day, this film would surely be entertaining for adults, with its brilliant acting and cinematography and interesting portrayal of the historical figures.

The recreations of Rome and Alexandria and the ships in the sea battle are all stunning.

Right from the very first scene, the dialogue is hard to follow.

But they are entertaining.

More obvious reason would be the length of the film, four hours and eight minutes of nearly blah, sexy, blah, politics, blah, battle, blah, death, it was obvious I would doze off at some point.

And the stage, decors, costumes, are stunning !

Suffice to say it's first about Cleopatra (Taylor) and her mentor-cum-father-to-her-child Caesar (Rex Harrison, in surprisingly good two-dimensional form), and then after he is killed her hot and complex relationship with Marc Antony (Burton), and the eventual war between Rome and Egypt via the new power-hungry Caesar (stunning Roddy McDowell).

And watching Liz and Dick fall in love on camera is magical; "boring" just isn't an applicable adjective.

It felt like the movie was lasting forever, boring in quite a few places and was, generally speaking, over-acted by the cast - overly dramatic at times.

Very Entertaining...

Still, tragedies are often more compelling than films with happy endings.

In the Running for Most Boring Movie Ever Made .

I gather the reason this half of the film flowed so badly and was so difficult to follow was because large chunks had been cut from the narrative to reduce the film from 6 hours to 4.

Very Entertaining .

You need to slow down and gawk at it, as you would a gruesome pile-up on the highway.

They are very entertaining, especially compared to this effort.

Maybe the writers got bored after Caesar's death; I certainly got bored after that.

The film grinds to a slower and slower pace as the remainder progresses, like an unwound music box, until by the end you can almost literally hear the DVD player laboring to spin the DVD around.

All in all it seemed like a boring time in the suburbs someplace.

The documentary, "Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood" is in on it's own an engrossing and informative two hour movie.

The tragic story of the life of Queen Cleopatra as her triumphs of power and love are dramatically depicted in the movie: Elizabeth Taylor gave a stunning performance as the Queen and Richard Burton gave a powerful portrayal of Mark Antony.

it is unbearable.

The documentary about the making of the movie is far more entertaining.

Burton as Marc Antony is an adequate performance, but he is still worth watching.

A proper bore fest.

Although beautifully filmed and with a great soundtrack, I found it very boring, dull, and dreadful.

Snorefest .

THe gown of gold she wears entering Rome is particularly stunning.

Some of the sexual metaphors; both verbal and visual; were really funny, and it was much more entertaining.

Well, you could ask "valgreet" who says the movie is "Just about unwatchable".

The four hour 15 minute cut is already 45 minutes too long; the unhistorical scenes after the Battle of Actium are far too drawn out.

Nonetheless, CLEOPATRA is exceedingly entertaining.

The sets are distinctly and distractingly like 60s love dens and the epic scope is wrapped around an empty narrative.

The vaunted sea battle was pretty ho-hum, not nearly as good as the one in Ben Hur.

The score is nice but a little tiresome and distracting from the dialogue.

Thanks to Elizabeth Taylor's breathtaking beauty and powerful performance, CLEOPATRA held my interest from start to finish.

Staid but enjoyable .

Breathtaking photography, fabulous costumes, wonderful lead and supporting role performances, a dual love story that is timeless - the romance with Caesar for power and the romance with Marc Antony for love, unmatched music by Alex North, that's what's in Cleopatra.

Everything about Taylor's performance---her bland looks, her flat American accent, her mannerisms, her technique, her totally uninvolving screen persona---is a ludicrous caricature of a fascinating historical figure.

Even some of the battle scenes are dull, even though that's usually a highlight of ancient-world movies.

I admit it probably is too long and could have been cut in half.

Cleopatra - useless waste of time, money, talents and ideas.

A stunning achievement for 1963 .

However, Cleopatra is certainly a flawed film, but entertaining nonetheless.

The immense cast was headed by Liz Taylor, who cannot do a classical accent and Burton who was a few years from his best work, but who here was objectionable because he was on the edge of verbal bombast and because of lack of vocal variety.

What has mesmerised me is the compelling nature of this epic.

Burton seems bored and so is the audience after Ceasar's assasination.

Despite widescreen grandeur and isolated moments of intriguing melodrama, the film is frequently ridiculous, not to mention obscenely overlong.

The tempestuous (love affair and) relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony (Richard Burton), though it may have been fascinating to audiences of the time given the off-screen affair between these stars, is much less compelling, even boring, making the overall film only slightly above average despite its limitless budget which helped it earn four Oscars: Color Art Direction-Set Decoration, Cinematography, Costume Design, and Special Effects.

Unfortunately,despite the expenses for production values,the story become somewhat boring as it became talky and verbose.

In fact the true story of Cleopatra is completely overshadowed by the false 'facts', and the feeling that the film is going nowhere.

I normally find battle scenes in movies exceedingly boring.

It is long and slow paced.

Garish and anachronistic, badly acted, boring dialog, you name it.