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Waterloo (1970)

Facing the decline of everything he has worked to obtain, conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte and his army confront the British at the Battle of Waterloo.

Director:

Sergey Bondarchuk (as Sergei Bondarchuk)

Writers:

H.A.L. Craig (story and screenplay), Sergey Bondarchuk (screenplay collaboration) (as Sergei Bondarchuk) | 1 more credit »
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Won 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rod Steiger ... Napoleon Bonaparte
Christopher Plummer ... Arthur Wellesley - Duke of Wellington
Orson Welles ... Louis XVIII
Jack Hawkins ... Gen. Sir Thomas Picton
Virginia McKenna ... Duchess of Richmond
Dan O'Herlihy ... Marshal Michel Ney
Rupert Davies ... Gordon
Philippe Forquet ... La Bedoyere
Gianni Garko ... Drouot
Ivo Garrani Ivo Garrani ... Soult
Ian Ogilvy ... De Lancey
Michael Wilding ... Ponsonby
Sergo Zakariadze Sergo Zakariadze ... Blucher (as Serghej Zakhariadze)
Terence Alexander ... Uxbridge
Andrea Checchi ... Sauret
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Storyline

After defeating France and imprisoning Napoleon on Elba, ending two decades of war, Europe is shocked to find Napoleon has escaped and has caused the French Army to defect from the King back to him. The best of the British generals, the Duke of Wellington, beat Napolean's best generals in Spain and Portugal, but has never faced Napoleon. Wellington stands between Napoleon with a makeshift Anglo-Allied army and the Prussians. A Napoleon victory will plunge Europe back into a long term war. An allied victory could bring long term peace to Europe. The two meet at Waterloo where the fate of Europe will be decided. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Waterloo. The battle that changed the face of the world. See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | Soviet Union

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 1970 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Waterloo: The Last Hundred Days of Napoleon See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | 70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to actor Richard Heffer he worked on the film for six months. See more »

Goofs

The final sequence of the battle, depicting the destruction of the (apparently) last Old Guard square by artillery, is pure invention and Cambronne (who responds: "Merde!)" was taken prisoner. See more »

Quotes

Napoleon Bonaparte: Le Bedoyere, do you have any children?
Le Bedoyere: Yes, sire; one son, very young,no taller than your boot.
Napoleon Bonaparte: And if he were with you, would you want him with you here today?
Le Bedoyere: Yes, sire.
Napoleon Bonaparte: Yes, why?
Le Bedoyere: So he could see you, sire.
Napoleon Bonaparte: See me? You know, I have a son. I'd give anything in the world to see him. I'd give my heart, I'd give my life, but not here. I wouldn't want him to witness this battle here today.
See more »

Alternate Versions

All UK video and DVD releases are cut by 22 secs to remove horse falls. The B.B.F.C have cut 'Waterloo' in accordance with their policy of censoring scenes showing actual (or what appears to be actual) cruelty inflicted upon animals during filming. For instance, in the British DVD release the scene where the French Cavalry charge the red-coated British squares has lost a few seconds where a horse and rider topple forward after being gunned down. This was cut because of the scene's apparent use of the 'Running W' device, a notorious (and illegal) technique in which a stunt rider charges a horse into a 'W' shaped trip wire to make it fall forwards head over heels on-cue. All horse falls can be seen uncut on the American Region One DVD release. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Poor Editing Mars Superb Story
31 March 2003 | by vox-saneSee all my reviews

The battle of Waterloo gets superb treatment in this spectacular. The cast is extremely well chosen. Rod Steiger embodies Napoleon, and Christopher Plummer is everyone's idea of Wellington. The battle itself, which takes up most of the movie, is also well done. I can't attest to its accuracy, not being a Napoleonic scholar, but at every point of the battle you know what's going on. And though every famous line from Napoleon, Wellington and Blucher worms its way into the movie, they never seem out of place.

All in all, it would stand with the greatest war movies ever made, and certainly a necessary part of anyone's historical education, except for some very peculiar choices in editing. Sometimes these are done just to give the epic story a different look from, say, a David Lean film. 1970 was right in the middle of often detestable and embarrassingly dated experimentation with the look of mainstream films (see "The Thomas Crown Affair" for an example of just how poor the thirty-year-old "cutting edge" can look these days). At other moments, the editing simply looks poor, with abrupt cuts. And what's with the slo-mo in the charge of the Scots Grays? Every effort was made to make the movie look like famous Napoleonic paintings, and that charge is one of the most famous paintings in military history. But it's just another poorly done moment of experimentation.

Overall, the movie is first-class. The cast is solid, the script is good, the production values are first-rate, and there's even some tension, even though we know what happened to Napoleon in the end. But what should be one of the great epic films of all times doesn't seem, in the end, to add up to the sum of its parts. Nevertheless, it's a must for history buffs.


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