Filmmakers and leading actresses have been obsessed with England’s queens starting with the 1912 silent film Les Amours de la riene Elisabeth, starring Sarah Bernhardt as Queen Elizabeth I. Without a doubt, Queen Elizabeth I has been the subject of many more notable movies and television shows than Queen Elizabeth II, whose character often showed up in spoofs (think Austin Powers in Goldmember). That changed in a big way in 2006 with The Queen, which is widely credited with humanizing the monarch. Several years later, The Young Victoria likewise humanized the Queen Victoria. And in 2011, The King’s Speech – about Queen Elizabeth II’s father King George VI – swept the Oscars. THR takes a look at various films across the years that have tried to capture her majesty.
'Les Amours de la reine Elisabeth' (1912)
The French silent film, also titled Queen Elizabeth, starred Sarah Bernhardt and dramatized Queen Elizabeth I’s rumored love affair with the Earl of Essex.
'Mary of Scotland' (1936)
Katharine Hepburn starred as Scotland’s Queen Mary in the period drama, adapted from Maxwell Anderson’s play. Florence Eldridge played Queen Elizabeth I.
'Fire Over England' (1937)
Flora Robson became the first actress to play Queen Elizabeth I in two movies, first in Fire Over England and later in The Sea Hawk.
'The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex' (1939)
The historical drama – likewise focusing on the relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and the Earl of Essex -- paired Bette Davis and Errol Flynn. Davis would star again as the monarch in the 1955 The Virgin Queen.
'Young Bess' (1953)
Jean Simmons starred as the young Queen Elizabeth I in the MGM biopic, based on the novel by Margaret Irwin.
'Elizabeth R' (1971)
The acclaimed BBC miniseries starred Glenda Jackson in the title role. Jackson continued the trend that Robson and Davis began, and the very same year appeared as Queen Elizabeth I in Mary, Queen of Scots.
In Derek Jarman’s cult classic -- set during London’s punk movement -- Queen Elizabeth I is transported forward in time to the 1970s, where she finds that Queen Elizabeth II has died. Jenny Runacre starred as Elizabeth I.
'The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!' (1988)
The movie, about a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II, is among a handful of spoofs starring Jeannette Charles as the queen. They include Queen Kong and National Lampoon’s European Vacation.
Actor Quentin Crisp played Queen Elizabeth I in this moody and dreamy adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando: A Biography.
'Mrs. Brown' (1997)
Judi Dench stars as a bereaved Queen Victoria in the British drama, which was originally intended for television but became an indie box office hit when acquired and released by Miramax. Dench’s performance earned her an Oscar nomination for best actress.
Cate Blanchett was nominated for an Oscar in the best actress category for the historical biopic, as well as for the 2007 sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
'Shakespeare In Love' (1998)
Judi Dench’s memorable performance as Queen Elizabeth I earned her an Academy Award for best supporting actress.
'The Queen' (2006)
Helen Mirren won the Oscar and BAFTA for best actress for her sympathetic and searing performance as Queen Elizabeth II in the days following the death of Princess Diana.
'The Young Victoria' (2009)
The period drama, starring Emily Blunt in the title role, focused on the monarch’s rise to the throne and her romance with Prince Albert.
'The King's Speech' (2010)
Freya Wilson starred as a young Queen Elizabeth II in the Oscar-winning film, about the queen’s father, King George VI.
Roland Emmerich’s period drama was a miss at the box office, but featured both Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson played Queen Elizabeth I.