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‘Marie Antoinette’ on PBS: 5 Movies About the French Queen

Showbiz CheatSheet logo: MainLogo Showbiz CheatSheet 3/19/2023 Megan Elliott

Marie Antoinette’s reign at PBS begins on March 19. The public broadcaster’s new series about the infamous French queen stars Emilia Schüle as the young Austrian archduchess who is married off to Louis, the dauphin of France (Louis Cunningham). It’s just the latest on-screen depiction of the legendary royal. Here are five movies about Marie Antoinette to watch before you binge the new show. 

Kirsten Dunst starred in Sofia Coppola’s ‘Marie Antoinette’ 

Kirsten Dunst played a young Marie Antoinette in Sofia Coppola’s lavish, occasionally anachronistic 2006 period drama Maria Antoinette. It covers some of the same territory as the new PBS series, including the young queen’s awkward early years at Versailles. Jason Schwartzman plays Louis XVI. 

Marie Antoinette is streaming on Paramount+ and available to rent or buy on Amazon. 

‘Farewell, My Queen’ take place just before the French Revolution 

Diane Kruger portrays Marie Antoinette in the 2012 French movie Farewell, My Queen. Set on the eve of the French Revolution, it focuses on Sidonie Laborde (Léa Seydoux), a servant at Versailles who is the queen’s reader. Sidonie witnesses the chaos at the palace as people begin to realize the monarchy is under threat. She’s pulled into the drama when the queen asks her to risk her life to save her friend and lover, the Duchess de Polignac (Virginie Ledoyen).  

Farewell, My Queen is streaming for free on Tubi. 

Norma Shearer played the queen in a 1938 movie 

Norma Shearer (center) in ‘Marie Antoinette’ | Laszlo Willinger/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images © Provided by Showbiz CheatSheet Norma Shearer (center) in ‘Marie Antoinette’ | Laszlo Willinger/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

One of the earliest film depictions of Marie Antoinette came in 1938’s Marie Antoinette, which featured Norma Shearer in the title role. It focuses on the queen’s struggles in her arranged marriage to Louis XVI (Robert Morley), her problems at court, and her relationship with the Swedish Count Axel von Fersen (Tyrone Power). It continues to follow the queen through the revolution and up to her execution in 1792. Morley and Shearer were both nominated for Oscars for their work in the film. 

Marie Antoinette is available for rent or purchase on Prime Video and iTunes.    

Marie Antoinette is an important character in ‘The Affair of the Necklace’ 

Oscar-winner Hilary Swank stars in The Affair of the Necklace. This 2001 historical drama is inspired by a real-life royal scandal involving a valuable diamond necklace. Swank plays Jeanne De La Motte Valois, who orchestrates an elaborate plot to regain her family lost land and title that ends up doing serious damage to the queen’s reputation, which may have helped set the stage for the French Revolution. Joely Richardson plays Marie Antoinette. 

The Affair of the Necklace is streaming on Kanopy and available for rent or purchase on Prime Video and iTunes.   

‘Chevalier’ is coming to theaters in April 2023

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Marie Antoinette plays a supporting role in the upcoming Chevalier. The movie, which opens in April, is based on the true story of the composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (Kelvin Harrison Jr.). The illegitimate son of an enslaved woman and a French plantation owner, his talents as a composer and a fencer allow him to rise in French society, until an ill-fated love affair and a falling out with the queen (Lucy Boynton) force him to make a choice about what he believes in. 

Chevalier releases in theaters on April 21, 2023. 

Marie Antoinette premieres Sunday, March 19 at 10 p.m. ET on PBS. 

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