Parents' Guide to

Cleopatra (1963)

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Four-hour visual stunner requires patience, maturity.

Movie NR 1963 248 minutes
Cleopatra (1963) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (3 ):

CLEOPATRA is a remarkable achievement, and though by no means flawless, it's a must-see for the Hollywood completist. Much ado was made about this legendary production, and it really is something. It was the most expensive film ever made to that date, and was notoriously plagued with problems frequently reported in the press: over budget, over time, and of course the notoriously volatile relationship between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

The movie itself? Visually stunning. In the days before computer graphics, the magnificent sets were all built to scale, including a particularly glorious sea battle. Cleopatra's entrance into Rome is, almost inarguably, the greatest spectacle ever filmed. Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar brings a noble weariness to that devilish twinkle in his eye. Richard Burton as Marc Anthony was justifiably rocketed to a top box-office draw for the next decade. Elizabeth Taylor's costumes, as befit the legend of Cleopatra, are breathtaking. But Cleopatra herself is perhaps where the movie dates itself, as it focuses so much on beauty and ambition and less on other characteristics of a charismatic leader. Overambitious to many, Cleopatra covers so much territory that it's difficult to emotionally engage with it as it's slowly unfolding. Teens and kids who are not fascinated by the politics of ancient Rome have a long wait. And once action and romance come to the forefront, they're portrayed from a mature perspective that may not be relatable to those with little patience and experience with long-term relationships. With so much to think about, and so much to take in, it might be better saved for a time when everyone has the time and inclination to savor it slowly.

Movie Details

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