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Ancient History Movie Trivia & Facts: “Cleopatra” (1963) Part I

She charmed Julius Caesar and charmed Mark Antony , this Queen of the Nile who has many outlandish tales and exaggerations attached to her legacy. In 1963, with an array of elaborate custom changes and on-screen chemistry to keep audience intrigued , the movie “Cleopatra” depicted one of the most well known of ladies in ancient history. In this article, you will find a collection of trivia and facts concerning this film.

The Plot

When taking a look at this historical epic, you will encounter the roller coaster ride of love, happiness, and heartbreak of the Egyptian queen named Cleopatra VII. The movie focuses on the Queen’s desire to stabilize her reign and power by using the weaknesses of the Roman Empire to her advantage.

You will see Julius Caesar paying a visit to Egypt and then having an affair with the Queen. He returns to Rome, but leaves behind a child inside of the Queen, which prompts her to visit Rome and seek a place by the side of Caesar. Before this can take place, conspirators take his life. When she returns to Egypt, Rome is in disarray. However, Mark Antony takes interest in the Queen and follows her to Egypt, where they fall in love. Sadly, the Queen loses Antony to Octavian, who defeats him in battle.

The movie was known for the amount of money spent on costumes and sets. It also earned recognition for the actors and actresses featured in the film , Elizabeth Taylor (as Cleopatra); Richard Burton (as Antony); and Rex Harrison (as Caesar). Other notable actors in the film include Hume Cronyn (as Sosigenes); Martin Landau (as Rufio); and Roddy McDowell (as Octavian – Caesar Augustus).

Awards and Recognition

At the Academy Awards, the film won an Oscar for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration in color, as well as Best Cinematography (Color); Best Costume Design (Color); and Best Effects (Special Visual Effects). At the Awards, there were plenty of nominations, including Rex Harrison for Best Actor in a Leading Role; Dorothy Spenser for Best Film Editing; Alex North for Best Music (Score – Substantially Original); Best Picture; and Best Sound.

The film was nominated for an Eddie by the American Cinema Editors for Best Edited Feature Film.

At the Golden Globes, “Cleopatra” was nominated for Best Motion Picture (Drama); Rex Harrison for Best Motion Picture Actor (Drama); Roddy McDowall as Best Supporting Actor; and Joseph L. Mankiewicz for Best Motion Picture Director.
 
At the Grammy Awards, Alex North was nominated for Best Original Score from a Motion Picture or Television Show.

At the Laurel Awards, the movie brought home a Golden Laurel for Top Roadshow. In 2nd place, Rex Harrison won the same sort of award for Top Male Dramatic Performance.

At the National Board of Review, Rex Harrison won an NBR Award for Best Actor.

In Part II of Ancient History Movie Trivia & Facts: “Cleopatra” (1963), you will encounter a host of interesting tidbits of information that deal with money figures and studio inside details.