Kate & Leopold

Kate & Leopold is a 2001 Miramax romantic-comedy fantasy film about a duke who travels through time from New York in 1876 to the present and falls in love with a career woman in modern New York. The film is directed by James Mangold and stars Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber.


In 1876, Leopold Alexis Elijah Walker Thomas Gareth Mountbatten, Duke of Albany, is a stifled dreamer. Strict Uncle Millard (Paxton Whitehead) has no patience for Leopold's disrespect for the monarchy, chastising him and telling him he must marry a rich American, as the Mountbatten family finances are depleted. His uncle has told him that on his "thirtieth birthday he had become a blemish to the family name." The Duke finds Stuart Besser (Liev Schreiber), an amateur physicist (and descendant of Leopold, according to deleted scenes) perusing his schematic diagrams and taking photographs of them. He had seen him earlier at Roebling's speech about the Brooklyn Bridge. Leopold follows Stuart and tries to save him from falling off the unfinished bridge; only to fall with him into a temporal portal between centuries. Leopold awakens in 21st century New York City. He is at first confused and thinks that he has been kidnapped. Stuart says that he has created formulae to forecast portals in the temporal universe and that Leopold must stay inside his apartment until the portal opens again a week later. As Stuart takes his dog out, he is injured by falling into the elevator shaft, and is eventually institutionalized for speaking about his scientific discovery. (According to Stuart's books, Leopold's unintentional time travel to the 21st century has caused a disruption of all elevators, him leaving the 19th century before he could register for a patent.) Leopold is intrigued by the cynical and ambitious Kate McKay (Meg Ryan), Stuart's ex-girlfriend, who comes to the apartment for her PalmPilot stylus. He observes that she is a "career woman" and that her field, market research, is a fine avocation for a woman and states that he once dated a librarian from Sussex. Kate dismisses him and demands that he take Stuart's dog for a walk. Leopold is overwhelmed to see that Roebling's bridge is still standing. Back at the apartment, he befriends Charlie (Breckin Meyer), Kate's brother and an actor between gigs, who believes him to be an actor as well, steadfast to his character. Kate and Leopold become romantically involved, as they dine and tour New York. When shooting begins on the commercial in which Leopold has agreed to act, he finds the product, diet margarine, disgusting. He cannot understand how Kate would have him endorse a flawed item without qualms, and declares that "when someone is involved in something entirely without merit, one withdraws." Echoing his uncle, Kate says that sometimes one has to do things one doesn't want to. He chides her about integrity. She retorts, "I don't have time for pious speeches from two hundred year old men who have not worked a day in their life." Their dalliance seems at an end.

Stuart escapes from the mental hospital, and sends Leopold back to his own time. That night, while Kate is accepting her promotion at a company banquet, he and Charlie are racing to meet her. Moments before she goes on stage, they arrive and produce pictures from Stuart's camera that show her in 1876. Stuart says that he had thought he disrupted the spacetime continuum, but actually "the whole thing is a beautiful 4-D pretzel of kismetic inevitability." Kate chooses a life with Leopold over her career, and the three of them escape to the Brooklyn Bridge. There, catching the portal before it closes at midnight, Kate vanishes into 1876, where Leopold appears resigned to be pragmatic, as Kate and his uncle had advised him, and marry Miss Tree for her family fortune; but, just as he is about to announce his intention to become engaged to Miss Tree, as he opens his mouth to speak, he sees Kate and announces her name, Kate McKay, as his bride-to-be. In the closing scene, they kiss and the camera is drawn outward showing a grandfather's clock depicting 12:15.


  • Meg Ryan as Kate McKay
  • Hugh Jackman as Leopold Alexis Elijah Walker Thomas Gareth Mountbatten, Duke of Albany
  • Liev Schreiber as Stuart Besser
  • Breckin Meyer as Charlie McKay
  • Natasha Lyonne as Darci
  • Bradley Whitford as J. J. Camden
  • Paxton Whitehead as Millard Mountbatten
  • Spalding Gray as Dr. Geisler
  • Josh Stamberg as Bob
  • Matthew Sussman as Phil
  • Charlotte Ayanna as Patrice
  • Philip Bosco as Otis
  • Cole Hawkins as Hector
  • Kristen Schaal as Miss Tree
  • Stephanie Sanditz as psychiatric nurse Gretchen
  • Craig Bierko as actor in an advertisement (uncredited)
  • Monique Gabriela Curnen as Monica Martinez (uncredited)

Alternate versions

The DVD edition contains two versions of the film: one, the original theatrical release, runs for 118 minutes while the director's cut version runs for 122. One scene in the director's cut shows Ryan's character in a test screening for a new film and also features a cameo by Mangold. An additional scene stresses the Duke's ancestry of Stuart, resulting in an awkward scene where Kate realizes she may be related to her ex-boyfriend.

Film score

  1. A Clock in New York
  2. I Want Him Resplendent
  3. Leopold Chases Stuart to Brooklyn
  4. That Was Your Best?
  5. Let's Go!
  6. Leopold Sees the Completed Bridge
  7. You Did So Great (Kate's Theme)
  8. Galloping
  9. Dearest Kate...
  10. Prolixin/Leopold and Charlie Buy Flowers
  11. Charlie Wins Patrice, Leopold Wins Kate
  12. Secret Drawer
  13. Time for Bed
  14. Charlie Realises Leopold Was For Real – 1876
  15. Kate Goes to the Awards
  16. Kate Sees the Pictures – "I have to Go"
  17. You Have to Cross the Girder
  18. Back in 1876 – Waltz
  19. Back Where I Belong (song – Jula Bell)
  20. Until... (song – Sting)

Award and nominations

Hugh Jackman was nominated in 2001 for Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. The film won Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for the song "Until," written and performed by Sting. The same song was also nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Historical inaccuracies

Prince Leopold's family name—Mountbatten—did not exist in 1876, because it was originally adopted on 14 July 1917 by a branch of the Battenberg family due to rising anti-German sentiment among the British public during World War I.

In the film, Leopold must return to the 19th century to patent the elevator, marry, and become Stuart's great-grandfather. Leopold names the elevator company after his valet Otis; however, the real Elisha Otis, who created the "safety elevator" and in 1853 founded the Otis Elevator Company, had quite a different personal history. Leopold and Stuart first see each other in 1872 at John A. Roebling's speech, at the Brooklyn Bridge, but the famous engineer actually died in 1869.

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