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Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

aka Elizabeth: The Golden Age

"Woman. Warrior. Queen."

Directed By: 
Details: 114 mins · English, Russian, Spanish, Swedish · PG-13 (USA)


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Small Queen Elizabeth I
Small Sir Walter Raleigh
Small Sir Francis Walsingham
Small Sir Amyas Paulet
Small Elizabeth Throckmorton
Small Robert Reston
Small King Philip ll of Spain
Small Mary Stuart
Small Thomas Babington
No_movie_poster Torturer
Small Annette
No_movie_poster Margaret
Small Sir Christopher Hatton
Small Lord Howard
No_movie_poster Calley
No_movie_poster Savage


No_movie_poster William Nicholson Screenplay
No_movie_poster Remi Adefarasin Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Jill Bilcock Editor
Small A. R. Rahman Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Craig Armstrong Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Richard Roberts Set Decoration
No_movie_poster Guy Dyas Production Design
No_movie_poster Fiona Weir Casting
No_movie_poster Alexandra Byrne Costume Design
Small Shekhar Kapur Director
No_movie_poster Michael Hirst Screenplay
No_movie_poster Andrew Haddock Editor
No_movie_poster Tim Bevan Production
No_movie_poster Eric Fellner Production
No_movie_poster Jonathan Cavendish Production
No_movie_poster Jill Bilcock Editing


"Woman. Warrior. Queen."


In 1585, Roman Catholic Spain ruled by King Philip II (Jordi Molla) is the most powerful country in Europe. Seeing Protestant England as a threat, and in retaliation for English piracy of Spanish ships, Philip intends to make war. He plans to take over England, and make his daughter Isabella the Queen of England in Elizabeth's place.

In England, Elizabeth I (Cate Blanchett) is being pressured to marry by her advisor, Sir Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush). She is aging and, with no child, the throne will pass to her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton). The Queen is presented with portraits of appropriate suitors, but Elizabeth refuses to marry, particularly to the Archduke Charles of Austria (Christian Brassington), who has become infatuated with the Queen.

Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) is presented at Elizabeth's court, having returned from the New World, and offers her potatoes, tobacco, two Native Americans, and gold from Spanish ships that he claims were "unable to continue their journey". The Spanish ambassador protests. Elizabeth commands that the Native Americans be treated well, and refuses to accept the gold.

Elizabeth is attracted to Raleigh, enthralled by his tales of exploration, and asks Elizabeth Throckmorton (Abbie Cornish) (nicknamed Bess), her most favoured lady-in-waiting, to observe him. Bess also finds Raleigh attractive and secretly begins an affair with him. Elizabeth meanwhile seeks guidance from her astrologer, Dr. John Dee (David Threlfall) who predicts that two empires will go to war. However, he cannot predict which will triumph over the other, leaving Elizabeth to ponder her and England's fate.

Jesuits in London conspire with Philip to assassinate Elizabeth and replace her with Mary, in what Philip calls "The English Enterprise," and which is known to history as the Babington Plot. Walsingham discovers the plot. From her imprisonment Mary sends secret correspondence to the Jesuits, who recruit Anthony Babington (Eddie Redmayne) to assassinate Elizabeth.

Walsingham continues to warn Elizabeth of Spain's rising power and of the Catholic plots against her. However she, unlike her predecessor and sister Mary I, refuses to force her people (half of whom remain loyal to Catholicism) to share her beliefs. Even then, those conspiring against Elizabeth are being hunted and murdered, including Bess's cousin, whom Bess had failed to protect. After learning of her cousin's torture and death at Walsingham's hands, Bess turns to Raleigh for comfort. The barely hidden closeness of Bess and Raleigh causes tension between them, testing her desire to keep him in England and increasing his desire to go back to the New World.

Walsingham's brother, a Papist, knows of the plot against Elizabeth. It is revealed that Walsingham had known of the plot all along, intercepting letters, and his brother is jailed. He reveals the plot to Elizabeth, who angrily confronts the Spanish diplomats. The Spanish ambassador feigns ignorance and accuses Elizabeth of receiving Spanish gold from pirates and insinuating a sexual relationship with Raleigh. A sword fight nearly ensues between the queen's male escorts and the Spanish contingent. She throws the Spaniards out of court. Meanwhile, Philip is cutting the forests of Spain to build the Spanish Armada to invade England.

Mary, Queen of Scots, writes letters condoning the plot. Babington storms into a cathedral where Elizabeth is praying and points a gun at her. Elizabeth opens her arms, seemingly fearless. He pulls the trigger, and the gun fires. At first Walsingham is unable to discern why the gun was harmless, though it is later revealed by the traitor in the torture chamber that there was no bullet in the gun.

Elizabeth learns of Mary's involvement, and Walsingham insists she be executed to quell any possible revolt. Elizabeth is reluctant, but nevertheless agrees. Mary is tried for high treason. She is beheaded, ascending the block in a blood-red dress, red being the Catholic liturgical colour for martyrs. Walsingham sees that this was part of the Jesuit's plan all-along. Philip had never intended Mary to become queen, but since the Pope and other Catholic leaders regarded Mary as the true Queen of England, Philip uses Mary's death to obtain papal approval for war. The "murder" of the last legitimate Catholic in the line of succession gives Philip the excuse he needs to invade England and place his daughter on the throne as a puppet monarch.

In England, Raleigh asks to leave for the New World, which Elizabeth forbids, instead knighting him and making him Captain of the Royal Guard. Bess discovers she is pregnant with Raleigh's child and, after telling him the news, she pleads with him to leave. He chooses not to, and the couple marry in secret. At the same time, Elizabeth awakes during a dream as the wedding is taking place. She confronts Bess a few weeks later, who confesses that she is indeed pregnant with Raleigh's child, and that Raleigh is her husband. An enraged Elizabeth berates Bess, slapping her and beating her, reminding her that she cannot marry without royal consent. Feeling betrayed, the queen banishes Bess from court and has Raleigh imprisoned for the crime of seducing a ward of the Queen.

Walsingham arranges for his brother, William, who is eleven years Francis' junior, to be released and taken to France on the condition that he must never return to England.

The Armada begins its approach up the English Channel, and Elizabeth forgives Bess and sets Raleigh free to join Sir Francis Drake in the battle. Elizabeth gives her Speech to the Troops at Tilbury seated on a war horse wearing full plate armour. The Spanish ships and army vastly outnumber England's, but at the last moment, a major storm blows the Armada towards the beaches, endangering their formation and ships. They drop anchor, and the Armada becomes a sitting duck for English fire ships. Elizabeth, back at her coastal headquarters, walks out to the cliffs and watches the Spanish Armada sink in flames. Philip's plan is shattered.

Elizabeth visits Walsingham on his deathbed, telling her old friend to rest. She then visits Raleigh and Bess and blesses their child. Elizabeth seemingly triumphs personally through her ordeal, again resigned to her role as the Virgin Queen and mother to the English people.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2007-10-12 : United States of America

DVD : 2008-02-05