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The Abdication (1974)

Queen Christina of Sweden abdicates and travels to Rome to embrace the Catholic Church.


Anthony Harvey


Ruth Wolff (play), Ruth Wolff (screenplay)

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Complete credited cast:
Peter Finch ... Cardinal Azzolino
Liv Ullmann ... Queen Kristina
Cyril Cusack ... Oxenstierna
Paul Rogers ... Altieri
Graham Crowden ... Cardinal Barberini
Michael Dunn ... The Dwarf
Kathleen Byron ... Queen Mother
Lewis Fiander ... Father Dominic
Harold Goldblatt Harold Goldblatt ... Pinamonti
Tony Steedman ... Carranza
Noel Trevarthen ... Ginetti
Richard Cornish Richard Cornish ... Charles
James Faulkner ... Magnus de la Gardie
Edward Underdown Edward Underdown ... Gustaf II Adolf, Christina's father
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Franz Drago Franz Drago ... Birgito


Queen Christina of Sweden abdicates and travels to Rome to embrace the Catholic Church.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She shook the Vatican like an earthquake. Shocking whispers had preceded her. Debauchery. Unspeakable acts. A reign of scandal...And now she had cast her spell over one of them. See more »


PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

3 October 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Abdicação de uma Rainha See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Liv Ullmann and Peter Finch appeared together previously only the year before in "Lost Horizon" (1973). See more »


[first lines]
Queen Kristina: I, Kristina, Sovereign of Sweden, do hereby abdicate my throne.
See more »


Follows Queen Christina (1933) See more »


Christmas Song
Written by Nino Rota
See more »

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User Reviews

THE ABDICATION (Anthony Harvey, 1974) **1/2
15 February 2009 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This film was shown once on local TV in the early 1980s (but I was too young to watch it) and then fell completely off the radar in the interim; however, thanks to the God-sent overhaul that TCM UK has finally decided to give its long-decaying schedule of endlessly-repeated titles, I was able to finally catch up with it after some 25 odd years! Not because the film has any kind of reputation per se but its credentials are certainly impeccable and European History has always been one of my favorite subjects in school (and one in which I excelled in). The story of Sweden's Queen Christina had already been dealt with magnificently by Rouben Mamoulian in his eponymous 1933 film which had provided Greta Garbo with arguably her greatest role; this being made a good 40 permissive years later, the independent-minded Protestant monarch (Liv Ullmann) renounces her faith and throne to sneak into the Vatican and pour out her lesbian longings for a childhood friend onto a Roman Catholic Cardinal (Peter Finch) engaged to investigate her well-documented wanton ways and her newly-professed piety! The two stars, reunited a year after Ross Hunter's maligned 1973 musical version of LOST HORIZION, are practically the whole show here despite being surrounded by opulent sets and a cast of thespian notables: Cyril Cusack (as Christina's guardian), Graham Crowden (as a fellow Cardinal), Edward Underdown and Kathleen Byron (as, respectively, Christina's chivalrous father and embittered mother) and diminutive Michael Dunn (in his last film as Christina's enigmatic servant). Celebrated cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth shoots the opening abdication scenes in moody candlelight, bathes the film in mist during Christina's childhood reminiscences and lends it a sunny look during her liberated passages; Nino Rota's music score is also appropriately sensitive or soaring according to the film's moods. Incidentally, another failed historical/religious charade featuring Liv Ullmann I would like to see is Michael Anderson's POPE JOAN (1972)…who knows if TCM UK will likewise surprise me and provide the opportunity to catch up with it in the not-too-distant future?

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