The Full Wiki

Alexander (film): Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Promotional poster for Alexander
Directed by Oliver Stone
Produced by Moritz Borman
Thomas Schühly
Jon Kilik
Iain Smith
Written by Oliver Stone
Christopher Kyle
Laeta Kalogridis
Starring Colin Farrell
Jared Leto
Angelina Jolie
Val Kilmer
Rosario Dawson
Anthony Hopkins
Christopher Plummer
Rory McCann
Neil Jackson
Joseph Morgan
Nick Dunning
Francisco Bosch
Elliot Cowan
Gary Stretch
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
John Kavanagh
Raz Degan
Erol Sander
Music by Vangelis
Cinematography Rodrigo Prieto
Editing by Thomas J. Nordberg
Yann Hervé
Alex Marquez
Distributed by Warner Bros. (USA)
Intermedia (International)
Release date(s) 24 November 2004 (United States)
3 December 2004 (Greece)
Running time 175 min (Theatrical) 167 min  (Director's Cut)
214 min (Final Cut)
Language English
Budget $155 million USD
Gross revenue $167,298,192

Alexander is a 2004 epic film, based on the life of Alexander the Great. It was directed by Oliver Stone, with Colin Farrell in the title role. The film is based mostly on the book Alexander the Great, written in the 1970s by historian Robin Lane Fox, who gave up his screen credit in return for being allowed to take part in the epic cavalry charge during the film's recreation of the Battle of Gaugamela.

The film was critically derided upon its release and failed at the American box office. It grossed only US$34 million domestically, while costing $155 million to produce. However, it did better internationally in recovering its losses, grossing a total of $132 million in overseas revenue.[1]

The two earlier DVD versions of Alexander ("director's cut" version and the theatrical version) sold over 3.5 million copies in the United States.[2]



The film is based on the life of Alexander the Great, King of Macedon, who conquered Asia Minor, Egypt, Persia and part of Ancient India. Shown are some of the key moments of Alexander's youth, his invasion of the mighty Persian Empire and his death. It also outlines his early life, including his difficult relationship with his father Philip II of Macedon, his strained feeling towards his mother Olympias, the unification of the Greek city-states and the two Greek Kingdoms (Macedon and Epirus) under the Hellenic League[3], and the conquest of the Persian Empire in 331 BC. It also details his plans to reform his empire and the attempts he made to reach the end of the then known world.

The story begins in 356 BC with Ptolemy I Soter, who narrates throughout the film. We see Alexander's daily life and the strained relationship between his parents. Alexander grows up with his mother Olympias and his tutor Aristotle, where he finds interest in love, honor, music, exploration, poetry and military combat. His relationship with his father is destroyed when Philip marries Attalus's niece, Eurydice.

After Philip is assassinated, Alexander becomes king of Macedonia and Greece. Having briefly mentioned his punitive razing of Thebes and burning of Persepolis, Ptolemy gives an overview of Alexander's west-Persian campaign, including his being declared as the son of Zeus by the Oracle of Amun at Siwa Oasis, his great battle against the Persian Emperor Darius III in the Battle of Gaugamela and his eight-year campaign across Asia.

Also shown are Alexander's private relationships with his childhood friend Hephaestion and later his wife Roxana. Hephaestion compares Alexander to Achilles, to which Alexander replies that, if he is Achilles, Hephaestion must be his Patroclus (Achilles's best friend). When Hephaestion mentions that Patroclus died first, Alexander pledges that, if Hephaestion should die first, he will follow him into the afterlife. Hephaestion shows extensive jealousy when he sees Alexander with Roxana and deep sadness when he marries her, going so far as to attempt to keep her away from him after Alexander murders Cleitus the Black in India. After Hephaestion succumbs to an unknown illness either by chance or perhaps poison, Alexander distances himself from his wife, despite her pregnancy, believing that she has killed Hephaeston.

After conquering Babylon, Alexander admits that Hephaestion is the only person whom he loves and dies less than three months after Hephaeston, keeping his promise that he would follow him.


Actor Role
Colin Farrell Alexander The Great
Jared Leto Hephaestion
Angelina Jolie Queen Olympias
Val Kilmer King Philip II
Raz Degan Darius III of Persia
Erol Sander Pharnakes
Tsouli Mohammed Persian chamberlain
Annelise Hesme Stateira I
Rosario Dawson Roxana
Connor Paolo Young Alexander
Jessie Kamm Child Alexander
Gary Stretch Cleitus
Christopher Plummer Aristotle
Anthony Hopkins Ptolemy I Soter
Elliot Cowan Young Ptolemy I Soter
Jonathan Rhys Meyers Cassander
Rory McCann Craterus
Francisco Bosch Bagoas
John Kavanagh Parmenion
Joseph Morgan Philotas
Ian Beattie Antigonus
Neil Jackson Perdiccas
Denis Conway Nearchus
Marie Meyer Eurydice
Nick Dunning Attalus
Bin Bunluerit Porus
Toby Kebbell Pausanias of Orestis
Brian Blessed Wrestling trainer
Patrick Adolphe Alexander's servant boy
Alif Shinobi Indian Servant
Jaran Ngamdee Indian Prince
Patrick Carroll Young Hephaestion

Director's cut

Oliver Stone's director's cut was re-edited before the DVD release later in 2005. Stone removed seventeen minutes of footage and added nine back. This, then, shortened the running time from 175 minutes to 167. The differences between the director's cut and the theatrical version are as follows:

  • Dates in the flashbacks and flashforwards use normal historical figures, such as 323 BC and 356 BC, as opposed to referring to time lapses, like "30 years earlier". In his commentary, Stone explains that, for the theatrical release in the United States, he had to refrain from using regular "BC" dates, since (according to data collected from test screenings) there was a significant number of viewers who did not know that 356 BC represented an earlier historical period than 323 BC.
  • Ptolemy's backstory at the beginning is shortened.
  • The two flashbacks with the arrival of Eurydice to the court and the wedding feast are shifted into the eastern campaign, enveloping the trial of Philotas and assassination of Parmenion.
  • The scene in which Aristotle gives a lesson to the young Alexander and his friends is re-edited and extended by a few seconds.
  • Ptolemy's narration leading up to the Battle of Gaugamela gives no reference to the razing of Thebes and burning of Persepolis. He mentions the official Macedonian accusation, that Darius assisted the assassination of Philip — in both versions, it is also mentioned when Alexander rallies the troops —, and the proclamation by the Oracle of Amun is moved to a later part of the narrative.
  • There is no scene on the night before the Battle of Gaugamela or the omen reader looking into the intestine of the ox-sacrifice before the Battle of Gaugamela.
  • Directly after Alexander's mourning the dead after the Battle of Gaugamela, there is an additional flashback in which Philip explains the Titans to the young Alexander.
  • In the theatrical version, during Roxana's dance, Perdiccas can be seen breaking up a fight between Hephaestion and Cleitus. This is removed in the director's cut.
  • The sex scene between Alexander and Roxana is shortened, and her attempt to kill him after her discovery of his relationship with Hephaestion is cut. More explicit footage of Alexander and Roxana having sex is added.
  • When Alexander uncovers the page's plot, the director's cut features a scenelet in which Perdiccas goes to arrest Hermolaus, who falls on his sword with the words "Death to all tyrants".
  • There is no narrative explanation by Ptolemy during the trial of Philotas.
  • Alexander does not mourn Cleitus.
  • The flashback of Alexander questioning Olympias does not appear immediately after the flashback of Philip's assassination; rather, it is moved to follow Alexander's grievous wounds in the Battle of the Hydaspes.
  • The scene in which Roxana is prevented from entering Alexander's tent by Hephaestion is also removed. This is the last remnant of a Roxana-Cassander subplot that was filmed but not included.
  • Between the scene in which Alexander smashes the "rebellion" within the ranks and the final battle, there is an additional scene in which Alexander reads a letter from Aristotle, who is featured dictating it to an unseen scribe.
  • Ptolemy's narration of the march through the Gedrosian desert additionally mentions the helplessness of Alexander watching his broken army die due to natural causes and harsh conditions. He does not mention either Alexander's new marriages in his final years or that the march across the Gedrosian desert was the "worst blunder of his life".
  • The scene of the army returning to Babylon, together with that in which Olympias receives the omen of Alexander's death, is shortened.

Final cut: "Alexander Revisited"

Stone also made an extended version of Alexander. "I'm doing a third version on DVD, not theatrical," he said in an interview with "I'm going to do a Cecil B. DeMille three-hour-45-minute thing; I'm going to go all out, put everything I like in the movie. He [Alexander] was a complicated man, it was a complicated story, and it doesn't hurt to make it longer and let people who loved the film [...] see it more and understand it more."

The extended version of the film was released under the title of Alexander Revisited: The Final Unrated Cut on 27 February 2007. The two-disc set featured a new introduction by Stone. "Over the last two years," he said, "I have been able to sort out some of the unanswered questions about this highly complicated and passionate monarch — questions I failed to answer dramatically enough. This film represents my complete and last version, as it will contain all the essential footage we shot. I don't know how many film-makers have managed to make three versions of the same film, but I have been fortunate to have the opportunity because of the success of video and DVD sales in the world, and I felt, if I didn't do it now, with the energy and memory I still have for the subject, it would never quite be the same again. For me, this is the complete Alexander, the clearest interpretation I can offer."[4]

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, Roxanne and Ptolemy. The film has a running time of three hours and 34 minutes (214 minutes) (about 40 minutes longer that the theatrical cut and almost 50 minutes longer than the first director's cut) and is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen with English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround audio. Beyond the new introduction with Stone, there are no other extras, except for a free coupon to the movie 300.[5]

Production details



Box Office performance

  • Budget: US$ 155,000,000.00
  • Total Domestic Grosses: US$ 34,297,191.00
  • Total Overseas Grosses: US$ 133,001,001.00
  • Total Worldwide Grosses: US$ 167,298,192.00


Even prior to its release, there was controversy about the film's depiction of ancient Greek sexual mores or, more specifically, homosexuality. A group of 25 Greek lawyers initially threatened to file a lawsuit against both Stone and the Warner Bros. film studio for what they claimed was an inaccurate portrayal of history. "We are not saying that we are against gays," said Yannis Varnakos, "but we are saying that the production company should make it clear to the audience that this film is pure fiction and not a true depiction of the life of Alexander". After an advanced screening of the film, the lawyers announced that they would not pursue such a course of action.[6]

At the British première of the film, Stone blamed "raging fundamentalism in morality" for the film's US box-office failure.[7] He argued that American critics and audiences had blown the issue of Alexander's sexuality out of proportion.[8] The criticism prompted him to make significant changes to the film for its DVD release, whose cover characterizes them as making it "faster paced, more action-packed".

Criticism by historians

Alexander attracted critical scrutiny from historians due to its various factual errors. Most academic criticism was concerned with the insufficient adherence to historical details.[9]

Major objections came from Iranian historians, who were upset by the film's renderings of Persians and Macedonians alike. As an example, Alexander and his troops defeat the Persian army in a single battle in the movie, but Persian historian Farrokh holds that the real Alexander had to fight several fierce battles before he was able to defeat Darius III. Farrokh also observed that, in the film, the "Macedonian forces are typically shown [to be] very organised, disciplined, and so on, and what's very disturbing is, when the so-called Persians are shown confronting the Macedonians, their armies are totally disorganised.[10]

The final battle depicted in the film, heavily dramatized and altered from history, was the Battle of Hydaspes or Jhelum River in ancient India (now in modern-day Pakistan). Alexander was not (contrary to what the movie claims) severely injured by an arrow during this battle. This only occurred during a siege later that year against the Malli in what is now the city of Multan, Pakistan. Hydaspes was not fought in a forest on a sunny day, but on a muddy plain on a night with torrential rains. The center of the Macedonian line was never surrounded by any accounts, though the infantry did suffer many casualties. The film has also been criticized for omitting a famous story about Alexander's conversation with Indian King Porus. When Alexander won the battle, Porus was captured and presented to him. "Tell me", said Alexander, "in what way should I treat you?" Porus replied, "Treat me, O Alexander, like a king."[11] However, a similar scene exists in the film regarding the Princess of Babylon.

Oliver Stone has, in his various commentaries in the film's DVD, defended many of the most glaring historical issues by claiming that he had no time or resources to accurately portray a multitude of battles at the expense of storytelling. He goes into great detail explaining how he merged all the major aspects of the Battle of Granicus and the Battle of Issus into the Battle of Gaugamela, as well as heavily simplifying the Battle of Hydaspes into a straight-forward clash, while merging the near-death of Alexander from the siege of Malli.

Criticism by film critics

One of the principal complaints among US film critics was that Alexander resembled a history documentary more than an action-drama film. Roger Ebert wrote in his review, "[W]e welcome the scenes of battle, pomp and circumstance because at least for a time we are free of the endless narration of Ptolemy the historian".[12]

Faint praise came from Daily Variety Magazine, published on 21 November 2004, for which Todd McCarthy wrote, "Oliver Stone's 'Alexander' is at best an honorable failure, an intelligent and ambitious picture that crucially lacks dramatic flair and emotional involvement. Dry and academic where Troy was vulgar and willfully ahistorical(...)"[13] Manohla Dargis wrote in The New York Times that Alexander "brought out the best of the worst in terms of inaccurate storytelling that lacks planning."


See also


  1. ^ "". Alexander Box Office Gross. Retrieved 2006. 
  2. ^ Retrieved from
  3. ^ Bowra, C. M., [1957] (1994), The Greek Experience, London: Phoenix, Orion Books Ltd, ISBN 1-85799-122-2, p. 9.
  4. ^ "Oliver Stone's 'Alexander' Gets Another DVD Release The final, final cut is now confirmed... By Brad Brevet (Monday, 18 December 2006)
  5. ^ Warner Bros. Online: DVD Shop Browsing
  6. ^ Greek lawyers halt Alexander case
  7. ^ "Stone blames 'moral fundamentalism' for US box office flop" (Thursday 6 January 2005)
  8. ^ "Stone says Alexander is too complex for 'conventional minds'" (Friday, 10 December 2004)
  9. ^ "ALEXANDER (opened 11/ 24/04) Oliver Stone's Costly History Lesson" By Cathy Schultz, Ph.D. in Dayton Daily News, 24 November 2004. (Also in Joliet Herald News, 28 November 2004; Bend Bulletin, 28 November 2004; Providence Journal, 26 November 2004.)
  10. ^ Kaveh Farrokh
  11. ^ Rogers, p. 200.
  12. ^ Alexander (R)
  13. ^ Alexander

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Alexander is a film (2004) directed by Oliver Stone and based on the life of Alexander the Great. The screenplay is by Christopher Kyle, Laeta Kalogridis and Oliver Stone.



  • (Of his father Phillip)This is the man who is going to take you from Greece to Persia?! He can't even make it from one couch to the next.
  • You've all honored your country and your ancestors and now we come to this most distant place in Asia where across from us Darius has at last gathered a vast army, but look again at this horde and ask yourselves, who is this great king who pays assassins in gold coins to murder my father, our king in a most despicable and cowardly manner? Who is this great king Darius who enslaves his own men to fight? Who is this king but a king of air? These men do not fight for their homes. They fight because this king tells them they must. And when they fight, they will melt away like the air, because they know no loyalty to a king of slaves! But we are not here today as slaves. We are here today... as Macedonian free men! And all their arms, their numbers, their chariots and their fine horses will mean nothing in the hands of slaves. Some of you, perhaps myself, will not live to see the sun set over these mountains today, for I will be in the very thick of battle with you. But remember this, the greatest honor a man can achieve is to live with great courage, and to die gloriously in battle for his home. I say to you what every warrior has known since the beginning of time: conquer your fear and I promise you you will conquer death! Someday I promise you, your sons and grandsons will look into your eyes. And when they ask you why you fought so bravely at Gaugamela, you will answer, with all the strength of your great, great hearts: "I was here this day at Gaugamela...for the freedom...and glory...of Greece!" Zeus be with us!
  • It's a high ransom she charges for nine months lodging in the womb.
  • In the end, all that matters is what you've done.
  • When I was a child my mother thought me divine and my father weak... which one am I Hephaistion? Weak or divine?
  • Were we gods we'd breach these walls to the Eastern Ocean.
  • Each land, each boundary I cross, I strip away another illusion. I sense death will be the last. Yet still I push, harder and harder to reach this..."home." Where has our eagle gone? We must go on Ptolemy, until we find an end.
  • Aristotle be damned! By Zeus and by all the gods, what makes you so much better than them, Cassander! Better than you really are! In you and those like you is this.
  • What disturbs me most is not your lack of respect for my judgment, but your contempt for a world far older than ours.
  • You break my heart, you men...afraid!? Of course you have fears, we all have fears. Because noone has ever come this far before.
  • Yes, you're right Crateros. I should have sent you veterans home sooner, and I will. The first of your shall be the Silver Shields, and then every man who has served seven years. Respected, rich, LOVED! You'll be treated by you wives and children as heroes for the rest of your lives. And enjoy a peaceful death. But you dream Crateros! Your simplicity long ended when you took Persian mistresses and children and you thickened your holdings with plunder and jewels... Because you have fallen in love with all the things in life that destroy men! Do you not see? And you, as well as I, know, that as the years decline, and the memories stale, and all your great victories fade, it will always be remembered, you left your king in Asia! Because I will go on...with my Asians!
  • Men of Macedon, we're going home.
  • May all those who come here after us know when they see this altar, that titans were once here.


  • A king isn't born, Alexander, he is made. By steel and by suffering. A king must know how to hurt those he loves. It's lonely. Ask Heracles. Ask any of them. Fate is cruel. No man or woman can be too powerful or too beautiful without disaster befalling. They laugh when you rise too high and crush everything you've built with a whim. What glory they give in the end, they take away. They... They make of us slaves.
  • There's only one thing better than winning a battle, son, and that's the taste of a new woman! You'll find it far sweeter than self pity.


  • Herakles did it by himself. Did you conquer Asia by yourself, Alexander? I mean, who planned the Asian invasion while you were being spanked on your bottom by my sister Lanike? Was it not your father? Or is his blood no longer good enough?
  • Pay attention lad, your father's still watching over you!
  • I don't serve your purpose?! What was I serving when I saved your puppy-life at Gaugamela?! Were you Zeus' boy?! What if I left you to die in the dust there? You think we'd be forced now to mate with brown apes?!!!


  • It was said later that Alexander was never defeated, except by Hephaistion's thighs.
  • Back, and to the left! ~ Macedonian Soldier
  • All men reach and fall...
  • Alexander used to say that we are most alone when we are with the myths.
  • He was a god, Cadmos, or as close as anything I've ever seen.
  • His tragedy was one of increasing loneliness and impatience with those who could not understand. And if his desire to unite Greek and barbarian ended in failure... what failure! His failure towered over other men's successes. I've lived... I've lived a long life, Cadmos. But the glory and the memory of man will always belong to the ones who follow their great visions. And the greatest of these is the one they now... call "Megas Alexandros" - the greatest Alexander of them all.


  • All you desire in the world is yours! Take it...
  • In my womb I carried my avenger!
  • You will be nineteen this summer and the girls already say you don't like them, you like Hephaistion more. I understand it is natural for a young man.
  • Alexander, the world is yours. Take it!
  • Their skin is water. And their tongue is fire. She is your friend.
  • Look at you! Look at you! You are everything he (Philip) was not. He was coarse, you are refined. He was general, you are a king. He could not rule himself...and you, shall rule the world.


  • I found it in Egypt. The man who sold it to me said it came from a time when man worshipped sun and stars. I'll always think of you as the sun, Alexander and I pray your dream will shine on all men. I wish you a son.
  • You're everything I care for and by the sweet breath of Aphrodite I'm so jealous of losing you to this world you want so badly.
  • The generals question your obsession with Darius... they say it was never meant for you to be King of Asia.
  • Sometimes expecting the best of people can be a flaw.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address