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Not to be confused with Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile (book).

"My father, King Ptolemy Auletes has many enemies. They tell lies against him, saying he's foolish and wasteful, and doesn't understand the struggles of his people. The worse thing is that the citizens believe the lies. Father's life is in danger if he stays in Egypt."
Cleopatra writes in her diary

"Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile" is a short film based on Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile by Kristiana Gregory. The movie first aired on HBO on September 18, 2000. It starred Elisa Moolecherry as Cleopatra VII and Hrant Alianak as King Ptolemy Auletes. The film is the first installment in a series of films based on The Royal Diaries by Scholastic.

A young Cleopatra travels to Rome with her father, King Ptolemy Auletes of Egypt, after his life and rule are threatened. In hopes of receiving military aid, the king and Cleopatra plead their case to Julius Caesar and Cicero.


In Alexandria, Egypt, Princess Cleopatra VII (Elisa Moolecherry) records a troubling event in her diary. Earlier, she visits her father, King Ptolemy Auletes (Hrant Alianak), to bid him goodnight. She discovers that a deadly snake was placed in bedchambers. Then a young servant arrives with wine, but Cleopatra stops her father from drinking it. He forces the servant to drink it and he promptly collapses, indicating another assassination attempt. King Ptolemy subsequently goes into hiding. Cleopatra's oldest sister, Tryphaena (Linda Gizirian), takes over their father's bedchambers. She offers figs to Cleopatra and their other sister, Berenice (Larissa Gomes). The girls refuse, suspecting that they may be poisoned.

Later, Cleopatra meets her friend, Olympus (Yani Gellman), at the docks. He reveals a rumor that her father may ask the Romans for aid. Olympus then tells her that the common people are angry with her father. Cleopatra refuses to believe, but decides to go to the marketplace to see for herself. She dresses as a common girl and is accompanied by Neva (Marilo Nunez) and Puzo (Billy Khoury), her loyal servant and bodyguard. Cleopatra overhears the general disfavor with father, but Olympus pulls her aside before she can hear more. He informs her that her father is setting sail for Rome. Cleopatra sneaks aboard with Neva and Puzo by having herself rolled into a carpet. Her father is cross but impressed with her bravery.

Cleopatra later writes in a diary about Neva revealing her feelings for Puzo. She worries for them since her father disapproves of servants marrying. Some days later, word arrives that Tryphaena has crowned herself queen and put forth an edict that Cleopatra and their father will be executed if they return to Egypt. In Rome, King Ptolemy Auletes and Cleopatra are welcomed rudely by Cicero (David Calderisi), who insults the king in Latin. Cleopatra retorts back, gaining the admiration of Julius Caesar (Jan Filips) and Cicero. Later, a letter arrives revealing that Tryphaena has been killed by her father's followers and Berenice is now queen. Cleopatra does not mourn her sister, feeling that Neva is more like a sister to her.

Over a period of time, Cleopatra becomes friendly with Cicero and grows exasperated with her father. She learns from Marc Antony (Matthew Witherly) that Cicero has been stalling the Senate. Cleopatra begins researching the Sibylline prophecies, which Circero has used to argue against helping her father. Later, Cleopatra puts together a speech that she presents before Caesar, Cicero, and Marc Antony. She wins them over, and finally she and her father can return to Egypt with Rome's support. After returning home, King Ptolemy Auletes takes back his throne and orders Berenice's execution. He allows Neva and Puzo to marry, but Cleopatra is now wary of her father. She feels wiser and prepared to be queen one day.

Cast and characters[]

Crew and credits[]

  • Directed by: Randy Bradshaw
  • Written by: Lori Lansens
  • Adapted from the book: "Cleopatra VII, Daughter of the Nile" written by Kristiana Gregory
  • Based on: the Scholastic book series "The Royal Diaries" created by Jean Feiwel
  • Executive producer: Deborah Forte
  • Co-executive producers: Bill Siegler, Martha Atwater
  • Editor: David B. Thompson
  • Production designer: Ian Brock
  • Director of photography: Ludek Bogner
  • Line producer: Lena Cordina
  • Executive in charge: Christie Dreyfuss
  • Music by: Jack Lenz and Douglas John Cameron
  • Associate producer: Tessa Abdul
  • Production manager: Lena Cordina
  • 1st assistant director: John Pace
  • Location manager: Karen Perez
  • Art director: Roderik Mayne
  • 1st assistant art director: Theresa Tindall
  • 2nd assistant director: Eric Banz
  • Production coordinator: Nancy Wilson-Kelly
  • Script supervisor: Donna Gardon
  • Set decorator: Jeff Fruitman
  • Costume designer: Joyce Schure
  • Key wardrobe: Wayne Godfrey
  • Property master: Alan Doucette
  • Make-up: Mary Sue Heron
  • Hairstylist: Etheline Joseph
  • Camera operator: Barry Bergthorson
  • Sound recordist: Bryan Day
  • Re-recording engineer: Steve Foster
  • Gaffer: Michael Forrester
  • Key grip: Brian Potts
  • 1st assistant camera: Lisa Piltcher
  • Production supervisor: Lynda McKenzie
  • Assistant editor: Paul Rubenstein
  • Construction coordinator: Bill White
  • Transport coordinator: Russ Martin
  • Stunt coordinator: Anton Tyukodi
  • Special effects by: Brock Jolliffe
  • Casting: Susan Forrest and Sharon Forrest
  • Production accountants: Bev Ross, Donna Demers
  • Scholastic financial executive: Diane Vilagi
  • Scholastic post production manager: Carolyn Kelly
  • Production services provided by: Protocol Entertainment Inc.
  • Special thanks to: Translation Center University of Massachusetts, Dome Audio Video & Effects, The Lab

Home media[]


The film on VHS

"Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile" was first released on video tape in September 2000. It was later released on DVD with "Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor" and "Isabel: Jewel of Castilla" under the title, The Royal Diaries on July 1, 2008.[4]

Back of tape description:
"Princess Cleopatra is caught in a spiral of intrigue at the Egyptian court. Assassination attempts are made against her father, the Pharaoh, and she suspects her own sister of betrayal. Moving in disguise among the common people, Cleopatra witnesses their poverty and feels their anger toward the Pharaoh. Fearful for her father's life, she flees with him to Rome. There, her intelligence and her charm win the support of Julius Caesar. Cleopatra triumphantly returns to Egypt, knowing that while the Romans can help win back her country, only compassion will conquer the hearts of the people."

Differences from the book[]

  • Arrow is played by a cat, instead of a leopard. Therefore Berenice's pet baboon is omitted, and Arrow runs away after Tryphaena orders her guards to capture him.
  • Several supporting and minor characters are omitted, including Julia, Theophilus, Tullus Atticus, Pompey the Great, Octavian, and three of Cleopatra's siblings, Arsinoë, Ptolemy XIII (only briefly mentioned), and Ptolemy XIV.
  • Cleopatra sneaks onto her father's ship by rolling herself in a carpet. This is a nod to how Cleopatra supposedly met Julius Caesar in real life.
  • Julius Caesar is only mentioned several times in the book, but appears as a full character for the film.
  • In the film, Ptolemy Auletes allows Neva and Puzo to marry despite his opposition to servants marrying. In the book, Cleopatra secretly has them married towards the end with plans to persuade her father later.
  • Cicero cites the Sibylline prophecies as his main reason for opposing helping Ptolemy Auletes. In the book, his reasons are more monetary.
  • Cleopatra takes a more proactive approach about returning home in the film. None of her research or the pleading of her case to Caesar happens in the book.
  • Marc Antony has only one scene with dialogue, while the rest of his scenes from the book are cut.

Behind the scenes[]



From the Dear America website (October 2001)



  • Parents' Choice Award (2001) - Silver Honor[5]


See also[]

External links[]