November 24th, 2004

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Still of Anthony Hopkins in AlexanderAlexanderBridgetta Tomarchio at event of AlexanderStill of Oliver Stone and Angelina Jolie in AlexanderStill of Jared Leto in AlexanderStill of Oliver Stone and Colin Farrell in Alexander

Alexander, the King of Macedonia and one of the greatest military leaders in the history of warfare, conquers much of the known world.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 5.4/10 (78,437 voted)

Critic's Score: 39/100

Director: Oliver Stone

Stars: Colin Farrell, Anthony Hopkins, Rosario Dawson

Alexander, the King of Macedonia, leads his legions against the giant Persian Empire. After defeating the Persians he leads his Army across the then known world venturing further than any Westerner had ever gone all the way to India.

Writers: Oliver Stone, Christopher Kyle

Colin Farrell - Alexander
Angelina Jolie - Olympias
Val Kilmer - Philip
Anthony Hopkins - Old Ptolemy
Jared Leto - Hephaistion
Rosario Dawson - Roxane
Jonathan Rhys Meyers - Cassander
Rory McCann - Crateros
Gary Stretch - Cleitus
Ian Beattie - Antigonus
Neil Jackson - Perdiccas
Raz Degan - Darius III
Christopher Plummer - Aristotle
John Kavanagh - Parmenion
Annelise Hesme - Stateira

Taglines: Fortune favors the bold


Official Website: Constantin Film [Germany] | Monolith [Poland] |

Release Date: 24 November 2004

Filming Locations: Ait Benhaddou, Morocco

Box Office Details

Budget: $155,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $13,687,087 (USA) (28 November 2004) (2445 Screens)

Gross: $167,300,000 (Worldwide) (1 May 2005)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | (director's cut)  | (final cut)

Did You Know?

Some scenes from the film were supposed to be shot in India but the Indian elephants weren't well trained so they had to shoot it in Thailand instead.

Factual errors: On road marches (as opposed to marching to contact, i.e., when the enemy is in sight or there is imminent contact), the 4 to 7 metre (13 to 21 feet) sarissa would have been broken down into its two components for ease of transport. In the movie, the sarissa is always shown at full length deployment.

[first lines]
Old Ptolemy: Our world is gone now. Smashed by the wars. Now I am the keeper of his body, embalmed here in the Egyptian ways. I followed him as Pharaoh, and have now ruled 40 years. I am the victor. But what does it all mean when there is not one left to remember - the great cavalry charge at Gaugamela, or the mountains of the Hindu Kush when we crossed a 100,000-man army into India? He was a god, Cadmos. Or as close as anything I've ever seen.

User Review

My take on this


At first, I didn't feel much of a need to comment on the film, since so many others have written and have said so many things. But I think there are some really important points to made, and I haven't seen anyone make them. So here I am writing.

In my opinion, almost everyone misunderstood the relationship between Hephaistion and Alexander. In the modern world, especially in the West, two men are either very close to each other, sleep together, and have sex, or they keep a good comfortable distance from each other and, if they're friendly, might punch each other on the arm. In this film, we see a relationship that is hard for most people today to understand, namely a passionate love relationship between two men in which sex is not very important and possibly even absent.

Aristotle essentially explained the whole film near the beginning when he told the young couple something like the following, as best I can remember it, "When two men lie together in lust, it is over indulgence. But when two men lie together in purity, they can perform wonders." Or something like that. Given what I know of that culture, I am sure that "in purity" means no sex, or at least very little. That's why we never see them kiss. In the film, as in many older films, kissing is a metaphor for sex. Even when Alexander kisses his mother, it refers to the idea of sex. That's why Alexander kisses Bagoas, but not Hephaistion.

Now I'm not sure if the real historical Aristotle would have made that remark. That's not exactly what he says about homosexuality in the Nicomachean Ethics. But the remark is plausible enough since Alexander could easily have heard such an idea during his youth. Plato (before Aristotle) expressed that idea, and Zeno of Citium (after Aristotle) did too. So even if Aristotle never said this to Alexander, it is plausible enough that the idea was in the air and that Alexander heard it from someone or other.

Some have complained that the "homosexuality" (assuming that A's relationship with Heph. should even be called that) was thrown in their faces too much. But it's crucial to the plot. Stone is hypothesizing that Hephaistion was essential for what Alexander did. Further, it's a standard Hollywood convention to juxtapose a love story with some great political, military, or otherwise grand event. There are tons of examples. Titanic, Enemy at the Gates, Gone with the Wind, ... the list could go on forever. It really is homophobic to complain about Stone continually going back to this theme, because he has a perfectly good artistic reason to do it.

A few more details: Alexander's hair. I think that Stone was trying to make Alexander look like Martin Potter in Satyricon -- a nod to Fellini.

Alexander's accent and soft appearance. Another nod to a great director passed on, this time Stanley Kubrick. Farrel really looks a lot like Ryan O'Neil in Barry Lyndon. In fact, he really looks like a Ryan O'Neill / Martin Potter coalescence. I think it's deliberate.

The softness of Alexander's personality. In a lot of scenes it made sense. He was gentle enough to know how to approach Bucephalus and tame him without scaring him. He was open minded enough to adopt a lot of Persian culture and encourage intermarriage, while the other more "he-man" folks around him were less comfortable with the idea.

Yes, if you haven't figured it out by now, I do like the film. People's hatred of the film is hard for me to understand.

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