This analysis of how filmmakers have portrayed England's Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), and the audience's perception of Elizabeth based upon these portrayals, examines key representations of the Tudor monarch in various motion pictures and television miniseries. It appraises of the productions themselves and the actresses who have portrayed Elizabeth, among them Bette Davis, Glenda Jackson, Vanessa Redgrave, Judy Dench, Cate Blanchett and Helen Mirren, as well as Quentin Crisp's cross-dressing appearance as the Queen in Orlando (1992). The text focuses on the historical context of the period in which each film or miniseries was made; the extent of the portrayals of Elizabeth; and how these representations have influenced the characterization of Elizabeth on film, as well as popular understanding of the historical Queen.
Bethany Latham is an associate professor and electronic resources/documents librarian at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. Her articles have appeared in such publications as Reference Reviews and Library Journal. She is managing editor of The Historical Novels Review.