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Catherine the Great (1996)

Trapped in a loveless arranged marriage to the immature future Czar, a young German Princess proves a skillful political infighter and rises to become Catherine the Great.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Catherine Zeta-Jones ... Catherine
Paul McGann ... Potemkin
Ian Richardson ... Vorontzov
Brian Blessed ... Bestuzhev
John Rhys-Davies ... Pugachev
Craig McLachlan ... Saltykov
Hannes Jaenicke ... Peter
Agnès Soral ... Countess Bruce
Mark McGann ... Orlov
Karl Johnson ... Sheshkovsky
Stephen McGann ... Alexis Orlov
Veronica Ferres ... Vorontzova
Mel Ferrer ... Patriarch
Jeanne Moreau ... Elizabeth
Omar Sharif ... Razumovsky
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Storyline

In this romanticized biography, a small German principality's inexperienced princess, Catherine, becomes the bride of czarevitch Peter, the mad and abusive nephew and heir of the Russian czarina Elizabeth. From Elizabeth she learns the cynical ropes of wielding absolute imperial power at any cost, including sacrificing her lover, young guards officer Saltykov, who must give her an heir that Peter can't and is then sent abroad. After Elizabeth's death, she quickly moves to seize power with military and court support. She then works to enlarge and modernize the empire, again putting statesmanship ahead of her lover, a military genius who defeats the Ottomans and governs the conquered territories for her. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

Country:

Germany | Austria | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 April 1996 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Catalina la Grande See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2 parts) | (3 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Catherine Zeta-Jones is connected to the Doctor Who franchise in a few ways. She co-starred with Sean Pertwee in Blue Jeans. Sean is the son of the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee. In this film, she co-stars with Paul McGann, who played the eighth Doctor in the television movie, and The Night of the Doctor special. See more »

Goofs

When Catherine borrows the wooden cross from Potemkin, it is hanging from a simple string. But when she gives it back, it has been strung with matching wooden beads. There is no explanation if this is a different prop or if Catherine added the beads herself. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Catherine: The 21st of August 1745... my wedding day. I was fifteen. The Grand Duke Peter was two years older, and we were both pawns in a political game.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Approx. 80 minutes were deleted from the US version by A&E compared to the original German version which was shown in 2 parts a 90 minutes. See more »

Connections

Version of The Rise of Catherine the Great (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

Miscast and inaccurate
13 August 2001 | by TWD_Cliff_NotesSee all my reviews

Although fairly interesting to watch, Katharina is very historically inaccurate and biased, which is partly due to the horrible miscasting. Just to name a few: 1. Catherine Zeta-Jones as Empress Catherine II: a actress who is young, beautiful, dark in complexion and extremely attractive is certainly a poor choice to play a pale, plain middle-aged nimphomaniac. No one would ever address the real Catherine II as "you pretty thing", as Pugachev did in the film! 2. Jeanne Moreau as Empress Elizabeth: a 70-year old playing a 40-year old (I think this is self-explanatory) 3. Omar Sharif as Count Razumovsky: a 65-year old with a typically mediterranean appearance as a 45-year-old Ukrainian... 4. Rhys-Meyers as Pugachev... Don't know where to start... Apart from the fact that the actor is once again much older that his character, Rhys-Meyers is a BAD choice to play a violent, charismatic, almost demonic, and at the same time very folkish, Emelian Pugachev. Rhys-Meyers just doesn't look like an escaped convict-mass-murdered-highway robber-impostor or any of what real-life Pugachev was. Apart from that, a particularly striking misportrayal is the execution of Pugachev. The filmmakers have it take place in the summer in front of a crowd of about 5, while in reality it took place in the middle of winter on the Red Square in Moscow in front of a crowd of perhaps a 100,000, and was an extremely dramatic event, one the biggest public spectacles in Russia's history. So much for the fillmakers... Also, the story of Catherine's marriage to Peter III is portarayed in a highly prejudiced manner, drawing an all-too-clear line between the supposedly "good guys" (namely Catherine, Orlov, and the bunch) an the "horrible monster" Peter III. The story was not nearly so black-and-white in reality. Apart from that, the film makes fairly decent viewing. Balancing the two, I give it a 6/10


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