Synopsis: In 48 B.C., Caesar pursues Pompey from Pharsalia to Egypt. Ptolemy, now supreme ruler after deposing his older sister, Cleopatra, attempts to gain favor with Caesar by presenting the conquerer with the head of Pompey, borne by his governors, Pothinos and Achillas. To win Caesar's support from her brother, Cleopatra hides herself in a rug, which Apollodorus, her servant, presents to Caesar. The Roman is immediately infatuated; banishing Ptolemy, he declares Cleopatra Egypt's sole ruler and takes her as his mistress. A son, Caesarion, is born of their union. Caesar, however, must return to Italy. Although he is briefly reunited with Cleopatra during a magnificent reception for the queen in Rome, Caesar is assassinated shortly thereafter, and Cleopatra returns to Egypt. When Mark Antony, Caesar's protégé, beholds Cleopatra aboard her elaborate barge at Tarsus some years later, he is smitten and becomes both her lover and military ally. Their liaison notwithstanding, Antony, to consolidate
Production: 20th Century Fox
  Won 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 13 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
192 min


And so it fell out

that at Pharsalia...

... the great might and manhood of Rome

met in bloody civil war...

... and Caesar's legions

destroyed those of the great Pompey...

... so that now only Caesar

stood at the head of Rome.

But there was no joy for Caesar

as in his other triumphs...

... for the dead which his legions

counted and buried and burned...

... were their own countrymen.

The smoke of burning Roman dead

is just as black...

...and the stink no less.

It was Pompey, not I,

who wanted it so.

Let what I have said be set down.

You may stand.

Do not try and impress me by looking

either too penitent or too proud.

As field officers,

you fought miserably for Pompey.

Men under your command will be

permitted to enlist in my legions...

...and returned to Rome as Romans.

You shall have the same privilege.

I'm not magnanimous. Your names

are marked. You'll be watched.

First sign of treachery,

you'll be killed.

What is it, Flavius? Antony?

Oh, yes. Canidius.

With news of Pompey, I hope.

- Hail Caesar!

- Drink that in my name, Canidius.

To all Marc Antony's cavalry,

Caesar's left wing and right arm.

What news of Pompey, or what's left?

Pompey's gone, Caesar.

Slipped through our fingers,

disguised as a peddler.

- Leaving most of his merchandise.

- Gone? Where?

He has a galley waiting at the coast.

Provision enough for Egypt, they say.

Egypt. Possibly.

They owe him a great deal.

He'll ask for sanctuary.

Borrow money, borrow time.

I thought it was over.

It seems it's not.

Rufio, consult the augurers.

I want to know.

In Egypt, will Pompey face me at last?

But surely Caesar will now

return to Rome!

I must go to Egypt in any case.

King Ptolemy and his sister

have a civil war of their own...

...intent on destroying each other,

and in the process, Rome's wheat.

That cannot be so urgent.

Let the Romans welcome

great Caesar properly at last... this greatest of his triumphs.

Triumph? Over what?

Over whom?

- Canidius.

- Caesar?

Leave me the 10th and 12th.

Antony's to take the rest to Rome.

- When can he start?

- Whenever you say.

Then at once.

And in Rome,

Marc Antony is to speak for Caesar.

His authority is not to be questioned.

His word will be yours.

As always, Caesar's word is law.

Of course.

But remind him to keep his legions

intact. They make the law legal.


And even as Caesar's galleys

sailed the great sea to Egypt...

... it was happening that,

just as the Romans...

... so the Egyptians made war,

one upon the other...

... for King Ptolemy would no longer

share the throne...

... with his sister Cleopatra...

... but drove her

from the city of Alexandria...

... and sought to destroy her.

We've arrived on their market day.

Once a week they're allowed

in the royal enclosure.

Where's the guard of honor for Caesar?

Some representative

of the royal or military?

We have the privilege of watching

Caesar battle through our marketplace.

Marcellus, a dozen front-rank men,

swords only.

Clear a direct line

to the palace steps.

Then as many more to keep it open.

It's precisely what they hope we'd do:

Manhandle their people.

No. This is their market day,

we will go marketing.

- You're not serious.

- We'll shop our way to the palace.

Have you my money?

Everything is to be paid for by coin.

Tell them to put away the swords

and carry moneybags.

Olives. Oil of olives.

Ah, the wine of Samos.

How much for your wine? Four drachma.

Sixty of your wine for my men.

Pay him.

Pay him.

You said they'd push the people

and make them angry.

Why aren't they doing

what you said they'd do?

Your king has asked a question,

Lord Chamberlain.

The Romans have degenerated minds,

Most High Majesty.

They do the unexpected.

Particularly one Roman.

Master of the unexpected.

But with so few men.

You all look so impressive.

Any one of you could be king.

His Divine Majesty, my Lord Ptolemy...

...lord of the Upper

and Lower regions...

...son of Ra, of Horus and of Thoth,

beloved of...

Et cetera, et cetera. You welcome me.

And I, Gaius Julius Caesar,

Pontifex Maximus... cetera, et cetera, thank you.

From the Senate and people

of Rome, hail King Ptolemy.

And his sister and co-ruler,

Queen Cleopatra?

They won't tell you so,

but Cleopatra's dead.

She tried to kill me,

and we chased her into the desert.

And there she died.

Whereas it is true

that His Majesty's sister...

...repeatedly plotted

to have him killed... is not true

that Cleopatra is dead.

Whereas it is true that she

fled from Alexandria...

I seem to always interrupt you...

...but the search for truth

can go on and on.

Pothinus, is it not?

Lord Chamberlain and chief eunuch

to King Ptolemy. An exalted rank.

Obtained not without certain,

shall we say, sacrifice.

Theodotus, am I right?

Tutor to His Majesty in history,

philosophy and ambition.

And Achillas.

They say you're a good soldier.

- As one to another, where is Cleopatra?

- With her army.

And how many of your men

between her and Alexandria?

- Enough.

- May I speak?

Surely you have come in peace.

And we present ourselves to you

in warm and respectful welcome.

Our only problem being an

internal one, of concern only to us...

...why have you come, Caesar?

As we all know, when the father

of both Ptolemy and Cleopatra died...

...he named the two of them

Rate this script:3.2 / 6 votes

Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Joseph Leo Mankiewicz (February 11, 1909 – February 5, 1993) was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. Mankiewicz had a long Hollywood career, and he twice won the Academy Award for both Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay for A Letter to Three Wives (1949) and All About Eve (1950). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Cleopatra" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 17 May 2024. <>.

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