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Elizabeth (1998)

This historical drama set in the 16th century – starring Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush and charting the turbulent life and times of the self-proclaimed “Virgin Queen” – was given a vivid contemporary focus by Indian director Shekhar Kapur’s keen visual eye.

Spirited young Elizabeth is crowned queen upon the death of her sister Mary, amid religious conflict and intrigue at court.

Her advisers urge her to protect England from attack by making a political marriage with a suitor from either France or Spain, but her first commitment is to ruling her country.

A far cry from the usual costume drama, this sumptuous biography is a thoughtful and dramatic triumph and Australian actress Cate Blanchett is a revelation as the strong-willed monarch who nimbly transforms from naive girlhood to true majesty, assisted by Sir Francis Walsingham (Rush).

Richard Attenborough, Joseph Fiennes, Angus Deayton and ex-footballer Eric Cantona flesh out an interesting cast as Bollywood meets The Godfather.

Elizabeth I
Cate Blanchett
Sir Francis Walsingham
Geoffrey Rush
Sir William Cecil
Richard Attenborough
The Pope
John Gielgud
Mary of Guise
Fanny Ardant
Bishop Gardiner
Terence Rigby
Duke of Norfolk
Christopher Eccleston
Lettice Howard
Amanda Ryan
Queen Mary Tudor
Kathy Burke
Alvaro de la Quadra
James Frain
Earl of Sussex
Jamie Foreman
Earl of Arundel
Edward Hardwicke
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester
Joseph Fiennes
Isabel Knollys
Kelly Macdonald
Kat Ashley
Emily Mortimer
Woad, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Angus Deayton
Monsieur de Foix
Eric Cantona
Duc d’Anjou
Vincent Cassel
John Ballard
Daniel Craig
Lady in Waiting
Lily Allen

Shekhar Kapur