Character: Olympias
Original Release: November 16, 2004 (US)
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Written by: Oliver Stone, Christopher Kyle, Laeta Kalogridis
Produced by: Moritz Borman, Jon Kilik, Thomas Schühly, Iain Smith
Running Time: 175 minutes (Theatrical Version)
Box Office: $167,298,192 (Worldwide)

Conquering 90% of the known world by the age of 25, Alexander the Great led his armies through 22,000 miles of sieges and conquests in just eight years. Coming out of tiny Macedonia (today part of Greece), Alexander led his armies against the mighty Persian Empire, drove west to Egypt, and finally made his way east to India.

This film will concentrate on those eight years of battles, as well as his relationship with his boyhood friend and battle mate, Hephaestion. Alexander died young, of illness, at 33. Alexander's conquests paved the way for the spread of Greek culture (facilitating the spread of Christianity centuries later), and removed many of the obstacles that might have prevented the expansion of the Roman Empire. In other words, the world we know today might never have been if not for Alexander's bloody, yet unifying, conquest.

Cast & Characters

Anthony Hopkins (Old Ptolemy), Colin Farrell (Alexander), Jared Leto (Hephaistion), Val Kilmer (Philip), Connor Paolo (Young Alexander), Christopher Plummer (Aristotle), John Kavanagh (Parmenion), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Cassander), Rosario Dawson (Roxane)

Photo Gallery
Filming Dates: September 22, 2003 - February 2004
Filming Locations: (view all)
  • Udon Rachatani, Thailand
  • Ait Benhaddou, Morocco
  • Intermedia Films AG, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
  • London, England, UK
  • Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England, UK
  • The biography of Alexander by Oxford University professor Robin Lane Fox was an original inspiration and source of information for director Oliver Stone. As an historical advisor, Professor Fox didn't get an on screen credit; his price for giving his advice was to be allowed to take a place at the head of what is one of the largest cavalry charges ever filmed. Professor Fox was used to riding around the English countryside, but gladly dressed up as a Macedonean cavalry officer to live his dream of charging for Alexander.
  • The film almost never made it to the theatres in Greece. A group of Greek lawyers decided to try to ban the film on the grounds that Oliver Stone was denigrating the figure of Alexander the Great by making reference to his bisexuality. The film was ultimately given a theatrical release in Greece and premiered at #1.
  • Angelina Jolie plays Colin Farrell's mother even though she is less than a year older than he is.
  • Heath Ledger was originally considered for the role of Alexander before Colin Farrell was cast.
  • Before he makes his suicidal charge during the Indian battle, Alexander remarks, "Isn't it a lovely thing to live with great courage, and to die leaving an everlasting fame!" This paraphrases part of the opening lines to Alexander the Great (1956).
  • Brad Pitt was considered for the role of Hephaestion, but turned down the role due to personal concerns with the character.
  • Director Oliver Stone's first choice for the role of Alexander the Great was Russell Crowe, who turned it down.
  • Oliver Stone's first choice for the role of King Philip was Liam Neeson, who turned it down.
  • Is by far the most expensive Oliver Stone film yet made.
  • Oliver Stone previously tried to mount the project with Tom Cruise in the title role.
  • Sean Connery was originally considered for the role that was eventually offered to Val Kilmer.
  • Baz Luhrmann was originally going to make a different version of Alexander, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. But he dropped the idea when Oliver Stone wanted to make this movie.
  • The fact that Olympias is shown to have an affinity for snakes could be a reference that some ancient authors believed that the god Zeus (or Ammon) appeared to her in the form of a serpent before they conceived Alexander.
  • Despite the film's generally negative reception - both critically and financially - it's actually relatively historically accurate, with almost all of the characters and events depicted in the film having some basis in the real history, and even some lines of dialogue being verbatim from ancient sources.
  • Historical consultant Robin Lane Fox and the costume design team originally planned for Angelina Jolie to be clothed exactly as a woman of Olympias's time and position would have appeared. This included a long dress and shawl that would have fully covered her entire body including her hair. Jolie, however, objected strongly to this and insisted her character be far less clothed to emphasize her sexual power.

Different Versions
  1. Theatrical Cut - 175 minutes.
    Released: Later in 2005.
    This is the version of the film as it was originally released in theaters.
  2. Directors Cut - 167 minutes.
    Released: 2005.
    This director's cut was re-edited before the DVD release later in 2005. Stone removed seventeen minutes of footage and added nine back. This shortened the running time from 175 minutes to 167.
  3. Revisited: The Final Unrated Cut - 214 minutes.
    Released: February 27, 2007
    The film is restructured into two acts with an intermission. Alexander: Revisited takes a more in-depth look at Alexander's life and his relationships with Olympias, Philip, Hephaestion, Roxana and Ptolemy.
  4. Ultimate Cut - 207 minutes.
    Released: Premiered July 3, 2013 at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and was released on Bluray and DVD on June 3, 2014.
  • In the USA, the film is widely considered as a box-office "flop". However, the film also performed surprisingly well in the home video market in the USA, so Warner Bros asked Oliver Stone to make a fourth version of the film. (Later, the fourth version became "Alexander: The Ultimate Cut".
  • A personal message from Oliver Stone was inserted with the 2-DVD set of Alexander Revisited in which he explains his reasons for this third version of the movie.
    According to him "I believe this version now (3.5 hours) is my clearest interpretation of Alexander's incredible life. For those who didn't appreciate the original, rest assured this is my last pass, as there is no more footage to be found."
    Although the latter may be true, this doesn't mean, nor does it seem to be implied, all footage was used in Alexander Revisited. There are extended scenes (Pella with the boy Alexander, some more sentences in the Indian revolt speech) to be found on the theatrical version, some fragments of scenes only a few seconds long throughout the original movie as well as a complete scene (old Ptolemy in Alexandria, indoors) not included in the third version.

Read more detailed information about the versions here.

Memorable Quotes

Olympias: My poor child. You're like Achilles; cursed by your greatness. You must never confuse your feelings with your duties, Alexander. A king must make public gestures for the common people. You will be nineteen this summer, and the girls already say you don't like them, you like Hephastion more. I understand, it's natural for a young man. But if you go to Asia without leaving a successor you risk all.
Alexander: Hephastion loves me. As I am. Not who.

Olympias: The world is yours. Take it!

Alexander: I'm his only worthy son, you crazed woman. He'd never hurt me. Even if Eurydice had a boy, he'd be twenty before he'd let him rule.
Olympias: Yes. And you would be forty. Old, and wise. Like Parmenion. And Philip's young son would be twenty. Like you, now. But raised by him. His blood. He will never give you the throne now, Alexander, never.
Alexander: What would you have me do?
Olympias: Whatever is necessary.
Alexander: Where have you lost your mind? There'd be civil war, clan against clan chaos!
Olympias: Yes. And you would win.

Olympias: My little Achilles.

Olympias: Pregnant, so soon? The little whore. He will marry her in the spring, during Dionysus' festival. And when her first son is born, her sweet Uncle Attalus will convince Phillip to name the boy his successor. And you will be sent on some impossible mission against some barbarous northern tribe, to be mutilated in one more meaningless battle. And I, no longer Queen, will be put to death with your sister and the remaining members of our family.
Alexander: I wish sometimes you could see the light, mother. The truth is he's taken from you nothing that you've not been long without.
Olympias: The only way is to strike. Announce your marriage to a Macedonian, now! Beget a child of pure blood. He would be one of them, not mine. And he would have no choice but to make you king. Eurydice was perfect! If your father, that pig, had not ravaged her first...
Alexander: Say nothing more of my father! Do you hear me? Say nothing!
Olympias: You're right. Forgive me. A mother loves too much.

Olympias: Three months you have been in Babylon, and leave me at the mercy of your enemies, of which you have many. Antipater: accustomed now to the power that you have given him. I must watch him grow stronger. I am certain that he communicates secretly with Parmenion, who is dangerous. But beware most of all of those closest to you. They are like snakes, and can be turned. Cassander is Antipater's son. Even Cleitus, your father's favorite. And Ptolmey. Your friend, yes, but beware of men who think too much. They blind themselves. Only Hephastion do I leave out. But all of them you make rich, while your mother and yourself you leave in generous poverty. Why won't you ever believe me? It is only a dark mind like mine that can know these secrets of the heart. For they are dark, Alexander. So dark. But in you, the son of Zeus, lies the light of the world. Your companions will be shadows in the underworld when you are a name living forever in history as the most glorious, shining light of youth. Forever young, forever inspiring. Never will there be an Alexander like you, Alexander the Great.

Olympias: Making himself a thirteenth god! He's drunk so much wine, my poor Phillip, he's lost his mind.

Olympias: Why won't you ever believe me? Philip did not want you! You had a condition of the breathing and he wanted to leave you in the mountains for the birds to peck out your eyes!

Olympias: So many wanted it. Greeks, Persians, men, women, I would be shocked if there were not a god or two he had profaned.

Olympias: You are everything Phillip was not. He was coarse, you are refined. He was a general, you are a king. He could not rule himself. And you shall rule the world.

Alexander: You birthed me in a sack of hate! Hate you have for those stronger than you!
Olympias: I taught you my heart! And by Zeus and Dionysus you grew beautiful!
Alexander: Damn your sorceress soul!
Olympias: Your soul is mine, Alexander.
Alexander: No! You've taken from me everything I've ever loved! You've made me you!
Olympias: Stop it! Stop acting like a boy! You're a king, act like one!

Olympias: I was never a barbarian as Phillip said. We are of Achilles' royal blood.

Olympias: So many wanted it. Greeks, Persians, men, women, I would be shocked if there were not a god or two he had profaned.

Olympias: In my womb I carried my avenger!

Olympias: If you hesitate, she will strike.

Olympias: Women are the only ones who know Dionysus.

Quotes from Cast & Crew

"I felt that if I lived at that time, with the dangers she had and the threats she had and the lack of power she had as a woman, I would not have been that different from her. And I thought I also just saw her as a mother who really would push her son at a time that if he didn't get the throne, he didn't acquire a certain kind of strength and ability and greatness, he would probably just die or be killed or be exiled. So out of concern, out of love for your own, just to come from this place that seems very much like the horrible mafia father, but in fact it was for his own survival that she was focused on, which made it very easy for me to focus on thinking of my own son and what he had to do to protect himself from bad things that could hurt him."
- Angelina Jolie

”When men bring their experience and their pain, their frustrations to projects, they’re by no means simple — they are weighted with something. Oliver has that. Blood and Honey was born of my frustration at the lack of [international] intervention in a crisis. The world is aware… but people are continuing to die.”
- Angelina Jolie, on director Oliver Stone in 2011

Awards & Nominations

GLAAD Media Awards - Outstanding Film - Wide Release