Golda starring Helen Mirren — release date, cast, plot, first look, and all about the movie following Israel's legendary Prime Minister Golda Meir

First look! Golda star Helen Mirren is almost unrecognisable as the famous Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.
First look! Golda star Helen Mirren is almost unrecognisable as the famous Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. (Image credit: Bleecker Street)

Helen Mirren has become Golda Meir! She may look unrecognisable in the role — take a peek above at the first look picture of her new movie Golda — but Helen is bringing her A Game to play Israel’s first female Prime Minister Golda Meir in this powerful movie directed by Israeli filmmaker Guy Nattiv. 

The story, penned by Florence Foster Jenkins’ writer Nicholas Martin, is set during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.  It focuses on the difficult, and sometimes controversial decisions, PM Golda Meir was forced to make during this time and how she also had to contend with non-stop infighting amongst her all-male cabinet members. 

So here's everything you need to know about the upcoming movie Golda with Helen Mirren...

Golda release date

Golda will have its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival 2023 which starts on February 16 2023. Its worldwide cinema release date has yet to be announced but it should be later in 2023. Trust us, we’re keeping a close eye on this one! Keep checking this page and we’ll update it as soon as it’s announced. We'll also update on which steaming service it will arrive on after its cinema release, whether that be Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or another service.

Is there a trailer for Golda?

Sadly there’s no Golda trailer available yet, which is a shame as we can’t wait to see Helen Mirren in action. We’ll put it up on this page as soon as it’s released though. At the moment the movie is still being filmed in London and Israel.

Golda plot — what happens in the movie?

Described as a "ticking-clock thriller", Golda focuses on the high-stakes decisions Israeli PM Golda Meir made during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 when Egypt, Syria and Jordan launched a surprise attack on Israel on its holy day. It shows how her hostile all-male cabinet members were fighting among themselves and how Golda dealt with a war that threatened the very existence of Israel. 

Golda cast — Helen Mirren on playing Golda Meir and the controversy over her casting

Helen says: “Golda Meir was a formidable, intransigent, and powerful leader. It’s a great challenge to portray her at the most difficult moment of her extraordinary life. I only hope I do her justice.” 

By now Helen Mirren is an expert in playing strong women, having played Queen Elizabeth I in the 2005 TV series, Elizabeth 1 and Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 film, The Queen.

Her impressive career first took off after her role in The Long Good Friday in 1980 alongside Bob Hoskins and since then she’s been in numerous movies including The Mosquito Coast (1986), Gosford Park (2001) and Calendar Girls (2003). She’s perhaps best known for playing detective Jane Tennison in the long-running TV show Prime Suspect which first started in 1991. She also starred as Catherine The Great in the 2019 miniseries of the same name.

Thrilled that Helen is taking on the role of Golda, director Guy Nattiv says: “I have long been an admirer of the great Helen Mirren. She has melted so brilliantly into Golda Meir’s character with incredible talent, intelligence, depth, and emotion, doing justice to the richness and complexity of this incredible woman.” 

The movie Golda has already caused controversy, with Coronation Street actress Maureen Lipman questioning whether a non-Jewish actress such as Helen Mirren was the correct choice to play the Jewish Israeli Prime Minister. It's provoked a debate, particularly in Britain and even Helen Mirren has said question over her playing Golda Meir "utterly legitimate". Helen told the Daily Mail:“It was certainly a question that I had, before I accepted the role. [Meir] is a very important person in Israeli history,” she said. “I said, ‘Look, Guy, I’m not Jewish, and if you want to think about that, and decide to go in a different direction, no hard feelings. I will absolutely understand.’

Helen highlighted that the Jewishness of the character is so integral: "I do believe it is a discussion that has to be had – it’s utterly legitimate. I very much respect Maureen. And I love her as an actress, absolutely. I’d love to bump into her and sit and have a cup of tea and talk about it. Dame to dame, I suggest. My only real fear is if I’m really bad as Golda ... in which case, I’ll be toast.”

Helen Mirren will be transformed to play Golda Meir.

Helen Mirren will be transformed to play Golda Meir. (Image credit: Alamy)

Who else is starring in Golda? 

In Golda, look out for Schindler’s List star Rami Heuberger who will play Moshe Dayan, the Israeli Minister of Defence while Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi will take on the role of Golda’s chief of staff David Elazar. Hollywood star Liev Shrieber meanwhile plays US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Kit Rakusen plays Israeli diplomat Gideon Meir.

Black Mirror’s Ellie Piercy, Ed Stoppard (The Pianist), Dvir Benedek, Rotem Keinan, Dominic Mafham, Ben Caplan, Emma Davies and Kit Rakusen also star. Call My Agent star Camille Cottin has also joined the cast.  

Rami Heuberger, who starred in 'Schindler's List' (above) will play defence minister Moshe Dayan in 'Golda'

Rami Heuberger, who starred in Oscar-winning 'Schindler's List' (above), will play defence minister Moshe Dayan in 'Golda'. (Image credit: Alamy)

Who was Golda Meir? 

Born in Kiev, then part of Russia (now in Ukraine), Golda emigrated to Milwaukee, America, as a child in 1906, fleeing the brutal pogroms against jews in ther homeland at the time. She became a teacher, then moved with her husband to a kibbutz in Palestine in 1921. She was a fervent Zionist and in 1948 she travelled to the US and raised $50,000,000 to purchase arms for the young country.

She eventually served as labour minister and foreign minister in the Israeli government before she became the first female prime minister of Israel in 1969. She headed up Israel's Labour Party. By then she was 70 and the Jewish State was barely 20 years old. At the time a grandmother who was in poor health and wore orthopaedic shows was seen as an unlikely leader of a country that constantly found itself under threat but during her five-years in office, Golda emerged as a tough, resourceful personality who stamped her authority onto the country. She famously had to deal with the fallout of the massacre of Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics in 1972.

Golda met all the top world leaders, including US Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, as well as British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and The Queen. A year after the Yom Kippur War, Golda resigned her post and published her autobiography My Life (opens in new tab) in 1975. She died of lymphoma three years later in 1978, aged 80.

The real Gold Meir was Israel's Prime Minister from 1969 to 1974 and died in 1978.

The real Gold Meir was Israel's Prime Minister from 1969 to 1974 and died in 1978. (Image credit: Alamy)

Other TV dramas and movies about Golda Meir…

Golda Meir was famously portrayed by both Sweden's late Hollywood legend Ingrid Bergman in her last ever role and Judy Davis (who played Golda as a young woman) in the 1982 two-part drama A Woman Called Golda (opens in new tab). Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek's Mr Spock) played Golda's husband in this mini-series about her rise to the top of Israeli politics. Ned Beatty, Nigel Hawthorne and Franklin Cover also starred.
Golda Meir was then played by Colleen Dewhurst in the 1986 movie Sword of Gideon. Lynn Cohen appeared as Golda in the 2005 Steven Spielberg movie Munich, which told the story of the capture and massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics.
In 2019 Golda herself was the star of the self-titled documentary about her life, using archive footage. Before her death she had been interviewed for Israeli television, speaking freely as she lit one cigarette after another.

Ingrid Bergman's last ever role was as Gold Meir in the 1982 miniseries 'A Woman Called Golda' here with Jack Thompson..

Ingrid Bergman's last ever role as Gold Meir in the 1982 mini series 'A Woman Called Golda', pictured here with Jack Thompson as Ariel. (Image credit: Alamy)
Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.