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Elizabeth R

Elizabeth R

4.8 7
Director: Roderick Graham, Richard Martin, Donald McWhinnie, Claude Whatham

Cast: Roderick Graham, Richard Martin, Donald McWhinnie, Claude Whatham


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Political, romantic, and religious intrigue confront Elizabeth Tudor (1533-1603) in this acclaimed six-part television series chronicling her early life as a princess and her reign as queen of England (1558-1603). While still a princess, Elizabeth (Glenda Jackson) exonerates herself from a plot to kidnap young Edward VI (Jason Kemp). Then, after Edward dies, Elizabeth


Political, romantic, and religious intrigue confront Elizabeth Tudor (1533-1603) in this acclaimed six-part television series chronicling her early life as a princess and her reign as queen of England (1558-1603). While still a princess, Elizabeth (Glenda Jackson) exonerates herself from a plot to kidnap young Edward VI (Jason Kemp). Then, after Edward dies, Elizabeth's sister, Mary (Caroline Harris), assumes the throne and imposes Catholicism on her subjects, but Elizabeth refuses to disavow her Protestantism. After Mary announces plans to wed the Catholic king of Spain, the people rise up in favor of Elizabeth, but Mary imprisons her in the Tower of London. Happily for Elizabeth, Mary dies without an heir, and Elizabeth becomes queen. Although urged to marry, Elizabeth stalls, content to maintain a relationship with Robert Dudley (Robert Hardy), Master of the Horse, whom Elizabeth makes Earl of Leicester. Then Mary Queen of Scots (Vivian Pickles) claims the English throne, and Elizabeth tries to pacify her in an unsuccessful attempt to marry her to Dudley. Meanwhile, the French -- battlefield rivals of the Spaniards -- propose an alliance with England and urge Elizabeth to marry the French king's brother, the Duc d'Alençon (Michael Williams), a Catholic. Though officials draw up a marriage contract, Elizabeth ignores it. By this time, Mary Queen of Scots is in prison, and Protestant agents implicate her in a trumped-up plot against Elizabeth. Elizabeth orders her execution. The angry Spanish then attack with their mighty Armada, but the English defeat them and strengthen Elizabeth's hold on power. In the later years of her reign, Elizabeth attempts to appease an unruly court favorite, the Earl of Essex, with special appointments, but he eventually turns against her and leads an uprising against the crown two years before the queen's death.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - R.J. Wafer
Glenda Jackson makes a superb Virgin Queen, but that's just one facet of this 1971 jewel from the BBC, familiar to U.S. fans from it airings over the years on Masterpiece Theatre. Based on a series of six plays -- each penned by a different playwright -- Elizabeth R (as in Regina, Latin for "Queen") depicts the extraordinary life of Queen Elizabeth I, with brilliant period costuming and wonderful performances. Picking up shortly after the point where The Six Wives of Henry VIII left off, Elizabeth R's tale seems almost a counterpoint to that historic BBC series, something like The Empress Strikes Back. At a time of male dominance, Queen Elizabeth rose above critics, plotters, and suitors to control what became, after the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the world's foremost military power. Her decision to remain married to England rather than choose a husband is focused upon throughout. Unlike 1998's equally lush but inherently lighter theatrical Elizabeth, this nine-hour series explores its subject in much greater detail and accuracy, delving further into the local politics, international relations, and religious and ideological conflicts that faced the queen. The series features standout turns by Robert Hardy as the foppish Earl of Leicester and Ronald Hines as Lord Burghley, but Jackson truly reigns over all six episodes. The actress, who also portrayed Elizabeth I the same year in Mary, Queen of Scots, displays the strength and power historically attributed to the red-haired ruler, believably incarnating one of the greatest monarchs England has ever seen -- of either gender.
All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
Glenda Jackson gives a tour de force performance as Queen Elizabeth I in this nine-hour TV miniseries about power, political intrigue, and the ambiguity of a queen's smile. The production traces Elizabeth's reign (1558-1603) from beginning to end, presenting Elizabeth as fetching and callow in episode one and wizened and wise in episode six. In between, she flirts with courtiers, rejects suitors, executes rivals, goes partly bald, defeats the Spanish Armada, and establishes her place in history as a monarch of iron will and astute intellect. There is plenty of action, the cerebral kind, as Elizabeth parries the ambition, adulation, and treachery of the courtiers who orbit her throne. Because of the length of the production, its writers develop Elizabeth's character in-depth, alternately focusing on her disposition of domestic politics, foreign relations, religious rivalries, and attempts to marry her for the benefit of the realm. Considerable attention centers on her relationship with Robert Dudley, her favorite at court, whom she makes master of the horse, privy councillor, and Earl of Leicester. Robert Hardy performs brilliantly as Leicester, although he hardly fits history's description of Leicester as handsome and dashing. When his wife dies mysteriously, the film leaves open the question of whether he murdered her to become eligible for Elizabeth's hand. However, the film also makes clear that Elizabeth will have no man. She is already married -- to England. If there is a major fault in this production, it is hard to find -- so good is the acting and the separate scripts which flow seamlessly one into the other. However, there is a minor one quite obvious to the viewer: All indoor scenes have the fresh look of the videotape used to shoot them, but all outdoor scenes have the weathered look of the film used in their production. This technical fault tends to mar the sense of reality generated by the indoor scenes. Nevertheless, Elizabath R (the "R" is for "Regina," Latin for "Queen") is an outstanding production, probably the best account yet of a queen who ruled like a king.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Bbc Warner
Region Code:
[Full Frame]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Glenda Jackson celebrates her classic performance with new audio readings of historical documents; Exclusive interview with Glenda Jackson; Historical backgroun notes by acclaimed historian Alison Weir, author of "The Life of Elizabeth I"; Photo gallery including portraits, costumes and historical locations

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Glenda Jackson Elizabeth I
Ronald Hines William Cecil
Robert Hardy Robert Dudley
Robin Ellis Actor
Vivian Pickles Actor
Michael Williams Actor

Technical Credits
Roderick Graham Director
Richard Martin Director
Donald McWhinnie Director
Claude Whatham Director
Herbert Wise Director
Patrick Graham Producer
John Hale Screenwriter
Julian Mitchell Screenwriter
David Munrow Score Composer
John Prebble Screenwriter
Ian Rodger Screenwriter
Rosemary Anne Sisson Screenwriter
Hugh Whitemore Screenwriter

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Elizabeth R
1. Assassination Attempt [4:29]
2. Arrests and Charges [5:04]
3. Seymour Affair [4:30]
4. Confessions and Freedoms [10:40]
5. A Queen Is Crowned [8:22]
6. Marriage Is Announced [8:37]
7. Wyatt's Rebellion [7:23]
8. To the Tower [14:26]
9. The Wedding Night [3:29]
10. To Be Close Confined [8:17]
11. Free to Wait [6:29]
12. The Lord's Doing [3:48]
1. Long Live the Queen [4:22]
2. The Spanish Proposal [7:26]
3. A Bevy of Suitors [7:36]
4. Dudley's Whispering Game [7:57]
5. Lord Robert's Love [5:19]
6. Amy's Death [7:33]
7. Love and Anger [10:13]
8. Surviving Small Pox [4:02]
9. Parliment's Plea [8:35]
10. Who Will Mary Marry? [4:19]
11. Lord Robert Proposes [7:18]
12. Elopement Gone Awry [4:51]
Disc #2 -- Elizabeth R
1. The Massacre [8:56]
2. The Prospective Groom [6:25]
3. A Lovestruck Spy [11:58]
4. A Splendid Impression [5:20]
5. The Queen's Frog [8:29]
6. The Grand Ball [6:56]
7. The Council's Confusion [4:10]
8. Useless Advisors [9:12]
9. Nuptial Negotiations [8:51]
10. The Queen's Discovery [6:17]
11. The Queen's Fear [6:07]
12. Grievous Goodbye [5:34]
1. The Trouble With Mary [9:07]
2. Master Topcliffe [5:36]
3. Catholic Conspiracies [10:01]
4. Owners of Death [9:29]
5. Babbington's Schemes [7:59]
6. Treacherous Fears [4:04]
7. The Net Is Tightened [3:48]
8. Proofs and Punishments [11:45]
9. A Cornered Queen [7:28]
10. Do It Privily [6:03]
11. Mary's Death [8:29]
12. To Kill a Queen [6:07]
Disc #3 -- Elizabeth R
1. Drake's War Against Spain [5:34]
2. Walk With Feet of Lead [3:48]
3. A Penitent Queen [5:15]
4. The King's Plan [6:27]
5. Raid On Cadiz [10:21]
6. Courting Peace [6:15]
7. War Preparations [7:29]
8. The Orange Grower [5:38]
9. Prayers for Victory [11:39]
10. The Armada's Assault [6:38]
11. Camped At Tilbury [10:58]
12. Victory and Grief [10:05]
1. The Sun in Splendor [4:30]
2. Too Poor for Pride [4:46]
3. Return to Court [7:45]
4. Lord Deputy or Ireland [9:01]
5. Treason Or Theft [8:11]
6. Irish Rebels [10:19]
7. Treasonous Return [11:35]
8. We Are All Changed [6:35]
9. A Traitor's Death [2:59]
10. The Candle Flares [4:28]
11. To Die in Peace [3:05]
12. The Sun Settled At Last [5:11]
Disc #4 -- Elizabeth R
1. Troubled Childhood [9:26]
2. Her Brother's Reign [6:46]
3. A Catholic Queen [6:16]
4. The Virgin Queen [7:46]
5. Gloriana Reigns [6:53]
6. The End of An Age [7:05]

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Elizabeth R 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Marvelous writing and acting make this a facinating set to watch and revisit -- always something new to see. The sets may be sparce but that only increases the focus on the performances, along with the long takes, the camera moving in and around the actors. Listen for actual quotes from Elizabeth I sprinkled throughout the dialog.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the all-time classic movie depiction of the life of Queen Elizabeth the First. Anyone with an interest in European history, or the history of the British monarchy would find many hours of enjoyment with this collection. Admittedly, the sets are very sparse (sometimes seeming to have been shot all in one room) compared to what we're used to these days, but the acting is so good, and the history so accurate that it is very easy to overlook this. Someone should seriously consider revisiting this movie with a modern set and cast. For an all-round Elizabethan treat, read the Weir biography.
BibliophileVA More than 1 year ago
I had this in VCR format and found it worthy of converting to DVD. This is definitely a classic by definition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Glenda Jackson is incrediable, portraying Elizabeth I from her teen years to her death. Historicall accurate, but very entertaining, with all the acting and plots top notch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago