Born Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine (in modern Germany), Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (1872–1918) became empress of Russia through her marriage to Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia. She was known for her beauty and shyness when young, and as tsarina she played a part in the end of the Russian monarchy through two key factors. For one, she was very much an absolutist and encouraged her husband to be so as well. More importantly, her son, the heir to the throne Alexei, had hemophilia. Alexandra fell under the influence of famous mystic Rasputin, who was able to help Alexei. But because Alexei’s illness was a secret, the imperial family really removed themselves from the Russian people and so was out of touch with the problems of the masses, while the masses had little emotional investment in the imperial family.
I in no way have a crush on Alexandra, but like some of the other women we’ve featured, she is an interesting and important historical figure who has been on screen many times. Let’s run down her film and TV appearances!
The Fall of the Romanoffs (1917)
An American silent film, with Nance O’Neil as the empress.
Rasputins Liebesabenteuer (1928)
A German silent film that was sympathetic to Rasputin. Diana Karenne (The Queen’s Necklace) played Alexandra.
Rasputin and the Empress (1932)
An American film with Ethel Barrymore as Empress Alexandra.
Rasputin, Demon with Women (1932)
A German film focused on Rasputin’s relationship with the imperial family. German actress Hermine Sterler plays Alexandra. That title is hilarious!
Knight Without Armor (1937)
A British film starring Marlene Dietrich that’s set during the Russian Revolution. Lisa Lee plays a minor, uncredited role as Empress Alexandra.
A French film focused on Rasputin; Marcelle Chantal (The Queen’s Necklace) plays Alexandra.
The Night They Killed Rasputin (1960)
An Italian-French film, with Italian actress Gianna Maria Canale (Theodora, Slave Empress; Madame du Barry; Napoléon) as Alexandra.
Rasputin, the Mad Monk (1966)
A Hammer horror film focused on, you guessed it, Rasputin. English actress Renée Asherson (Henry V, Caesar and Cleopatra) plays the tsarina.
I Killed Rasputin (1967)
Based on a book by one of the people who killed Rasputin (Felix Yusupov, who also appears in the film). Franco-German actress Dorothée Blanck has an uncredited role as Alexandra.
Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)
A British comedy/musical, adapted from a stage play, that tells the story of World War I using popular music of the era. English actress Pamela Abbott has an uncredited role as the Russian empress.
Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)
A British “epic historical drama” focused on the tsar and his wife (Janet Suzman – The Draughtsman’s Contract).
A Soviet film that, per Wikipedia, “notable for its rich, sometimes baroque style, its sumptuous recreation of episodes from the final year of Imperial Russia and the psychological portraits of Grigori Rasputin and the Imperial family.” Latvian actress Velta Līne plays Alexandra.
Fall of Eagles (1974)
A ginormous British miniseries that spans 1848-1918 and follows the ruling families of Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia. Gayle Hunnicutt plays the Russian empress.
A cárné összeesküvése aka “The Tsar’s Conspiracy” (1977)
A Hungarian TV movie with Éva Ruttkai as Alexandra.
An American TV movie focused on Anna Anderson, who claimed to be Alexandra’s (Claire Bloom: Richard III, The Buccaneer) daughter Anastasia.
Assassin of the Tsar (1991)
A Soviet film about Yakov Yurovsky, one of the imperial family’s executioners, with Olga Antonova as the empress.
Искупительная жертва aka “The Atoning Sacrifice” (1992)
All I can tell is it’s Russian! Eleonora Kazanskaya plays Alexandra.
Конь белый aka “The White Horse” (1993)
A Russian TV miniseries focused on the Russian civil war in Siberia (1917-20). Eleonora Kazanskaya again plays the empress.
Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny (1996)
A TV movie with Greta Scacchi as Alexandra.
The Romanovs: An Imperial Family (2000)
A Russian film about the last days of the imperial family. English actress Lynda Bellingham (All Creatures Great and Small) plays Alexandra.
The Lost Prince (2003)
A British TV miniseries focused on Britain’s King George V and Queen Mary, and their son Prince John; at one point the Russian royal family comes to visit. Lithuanian actress Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė (Shadow of the Vampire) played Alexandra.
A Russian TV miniseries about the death of poet Sergei Yesenin. Ekaterina Untilova plays Alexandra.
Столыпин … Невыученные уроки aka “Stolypin … Unlearned lessons” (2006)
A Russian TV miniseries about Minister of Internal Affairs Pyotr Stolypin, who attempted to reform the Russian Empire before the revolution. Vera Bobrova plays the empress.
A Russian TV movie, maybe about the plot to kill Rasputin? I’m guessing based on the DVD cover! Christina Orbakaite plays Alexandra.
Star of the Empire (2007)
I got nothing, except that it’s Russian, and Nataliya Zhitkova plays Alexandra!
The Romanovs (2013)
A docu-drama about the family that ruled Russia from 1613 to 1917. I tried to watch this, and while it’s pretty, it’s ALL rapid fire narration. “THIS happened then THIS happened then THIS happened.” No analysis, no dialogue — I just couldn’t get interested.
Grigoriy R. (2014)
A Russian TV miniseries focused on Rasputin. Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė reprises her role as the empress.
A Russian film focused on ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya, mistress to Nicholas II before he married Alexandra (German actress Luise Wolfram).
Крылья империи aka “Wings of the Empire” (2017)
A Russian TV series focusing on a soldier, a poet, and a socialist worker from 1913 through 1921. Ekaterina Proskurina plays Alexandra.
The Last Czars (2019)
A Netflix docu-drama about Nicholas II from his accession to the throne through his murder. Deeply weird.
Who’s your Empress Alexandra of Russia on screen?