The way that historical films depict conflict often says much more about the contemporary religious and political climate than it does about the period portrayed on the screen. Shekhar Kapur’s first film about Elizabeth I of England—Elizabeth (1998)—clearly reflects, and adapts, contemporary religious tensions. While a film about Elizabethan England can hardly avoid engaging with religious politics, it is clear that Kapur took contemporary religious debates, and re-purposed them for his films. This re-purposing is visible in the contrasting depictions of Catholics and Protestants: the Catholics are presented as evil and scheming—a metaphor, perhaps, for modern religious fundamentalism; whereas the Protestants, embodied by Elizabeth, are portrayed as being moderate and rational—people who wish to rise above religious divides, and rule for the common good. By focusing on the religious conflict that pervades Elizabeth, this chapter argues that the early-modernism Kapur is engaging in is both a product of decades of Elizabethan scholarship—much of it overtly Whiggish and triumphantly Protestant—and a retrospective application of modern, Western values in a setting where they do not apply. As this chapter demonstrates, the depiction of Elizabeth, and indeed Elizabethan England, on the silver screen acts as “a barometer that measures our own value and place in the world.” 2