I like that closing scene to the first half too as Cleo sails away and the music swells up. Her barge entering Tarsus in the second half is a wow too .... but here Burton rants and Taylor gets shrill ("I asked it of Julius Caesar, I DEMAND it of you"..), then the final scenes in the tomb are marvellous. I first saw this on its general release, maybe in '64 or '65, and those close-ups of Taylor on the big screen as the asp bites are someone one remembers .... Legend has it that Mankiewiz was writing the script by night and shooting during the day, after the film relocated to Italy and the famous scandal erupted. The dvd and blu-ray packages are good too, packed with all those features and documentaries including footage of Peter Finch and Stephen Boyd, initially cast, and Joan Collins' screen test as Cleo ...... it would not have been the same.
CLEOPATRA remains impressive and a lot of fun, without the cachet of Kubrick's SPARTACUS or Mann's EL CID or FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, or those other great epics of the time like Lean's LAWRENCE OF ARABIA or Visconti's THE LEOPARD.