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Marie-Antionette is one of the most colorful characters in history. Born in 1755, she was the wife of King Louis XVI and the Queen consort of France from 1774 to the French Revolution. Marie-Antionette was sent to the guillotine in 1793 at the height of the revolution.
Marie-Antionette is perhaps most famous today for the quote Let them eat cake. Marie-Antoinette probably didn’t say this, and it was most likely a story spread as negative propaganda. But that doesn’t mean that Marie-Antionette was innocent of all the charges against her.
These days, there is a huge number of movies about Marie-Antionette and her life in the Palace of Versailles – some of them good and others amazing. With all these choices, here are some of our favorite Marie-Antoinette Movies. If you find this list of movies inspiring, don’t hesitate to book your next trip to Versailles to enjoy the palace, the history, and the lovely gardens.
The Best Marie-Antionette Movies
1. ‘Marie-Antoinette’ (1938)
Made in 1938, this was one of the earliest movies about Marie-Antionette. Starring Norma Shearer, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role, the movie focuses on the relationship between Marie-Antoinette and her husband. In fact, despite the royal surroundings, it’s very much about a family drama, and this makes it all the more relatable.
Directed by W. S. Van Dyke, the movie also featured John Barrymore as King Louis XVI and Tyrone Power as Count Fersen, the man she supposedly had an affair with.
The film is passionate and sumptuous, and it was one of the most expensive movies of the 1930s as well as one of the biggest successes.
2. ‘Royal Affairs in Versailles’ (1954)
Made in 1954, this movie tells the story of the Palace of Versailles, showcasing the greatest and most colorful monarchs that walked the royal halls. Of course, Marie-Antoinette had to be one of them, played by the director’s wife, Lana Marconi.
Directed by Sacha Guitry, this is one of the most interesting Marie-Antoinette movies as it has a bigger scope than other entries. It includes a variety of monarchs ranging from Henri IV to Louis XVI and his famous wife, and it reveals how things changed down the years and how they didn’t.
3. ‘Marie Antoinette Queen of France’ (1956)
Michèle Morgan’s beauty and grace are really what makes this movie so amazing. Her natural poise and charisma make this movie about Marie Antoinette mesmerizing and lends weight to the in-depth character study. It was made in 1956 and directed by Jean Delannoy.
The movie focuses on the Queen’s last years between 1789 and 1793, portraying her as fallible, sensual, and ultimately, a realistic character. In this movie, she is a woman torn between two men as well as between her heart and her duty.
If you want to see this tragic Queen as a person rather than a caricature, this is the movie to watch.
4. ‘La Révolution Française’ (1989)
With Jane Seymour of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman fame playing Marie Antoinette, this movie is a bold experiment. It’s actually two movies put together (La Révolution Française: Les Années Lumière and La Révolution Française: Les Années Terribles) with two different directors, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. Made in 1989, it’s both beautiful and tragic with strong leads.
This is one of the most complex movies about Marie-Antoinette, and it covers the period from the first attacks in Paris to the royal family’s decline. It’s truly masterful work, with the two pieces coming together almost seamlessly to tell a story rich in scope and character.
5. ‘The Affair of the Necklace’ (2001)
This 2001 movie isn’t technically a movie about Marie-Antoinette. It’s based on a true story about a scandal that involved her and focuses on the entire court, not only Marie-Antoinette: the affair of the diamond necklace.
This story of deception focuses on Jeanne de Saint-Rémy de Valois, played by Hilary Swank. Left impoverished by debt, Swank’s character turns to Joely Richardson’s Marie-Antoinette for help. When denied, she sets up one of the most famous heists in history to win back her family’s fortune.
This is the perfect combination of a historical drama and a heist film, and it portrays a whole new side of the famous Queen.
6. ‘Marie-Antoinette’ (2006)
Starring Kirsten Dunst and with some of the best costuming ever seen on the big screen, this movie was created by director Sofia Coppola in 2006.
This movie about Marie-Antoinette has a unique focus, portraying the Queen as if she were a modern-day celebrity focused on sex, parties, and indulgences. This makes it feel more relatable to the modern-day, something which the ‘80s music soundtrack only reinforces.
It’s difficult not to relate to the excesses, the torments, and the confusion of the tragic Queen in this movie. If nothing else, it’s a reminder of the decadence and problems that often ruins the lives of celebrities who are thrust into the spotlight too young!
TIP: Check out this quick guide to the Gardens of Versailles
7. Farewell, My Queen (2012)
This is a movie about the connections between people – what makes them strong and what makes them weak. The movie stars the beautiful Diane Kruger, who makes for a beautiful, charismatic Queen and tells the story of the final days of the French court through the eyes of a servant, Sidonie Laborde, played by French actress Léa Seydoux.
Made in 2012, this is a movie about Marie-Antoinette that looks at another facet of the Queen’s life – her friendships, and in particular, her friendship with the Duchess of Polignac often said to be her lover. It’s a sensuous movie of attraction and infatuation, with the suspense of the queen’s fate always hanging overhead.
8. ‘One Nation, One King’ (2018)
Written and directed by Pierre Schoeller, this 2018 movie is a sweeping historical study of the events and the characters involved in the French Revolution. It’s filled with historical figures like Danton, Marat, and Robespierre, looking at their roles and their place in the Revolution and beyond.
Of all the movies about Marie-Antoinette, this is one of the most complete. It shows the point of view of everyone, from the lowest peasant to the National Assembly debaters who eventually called for the King’s death. Marie Antoinette is played by Maëlia Gentil in this epic movie, but this is no light-hearted queen of cake and pretty shoes. Instead, you see the price of her indulgences and get a real idea of what the French Revolution was really about.