Napoléon (TV Mini-Series 2002) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
41 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
A mixed bag
AJS2189 May 2005
On the plus side: the costumes and interiors are magnificent, Isabella Rossellini is good as Josephine, the historical events depicted are presented accurately, and the series gets better as it goes along (don't give up after the muddled first episode!).

On the minus side: we never really get a feel for what Napoleon actually stood for or why and how he was such a military genius, the film dwells on his private life when it could be dealing with the huge social and political issues of the time, the actors playing some of the secondary characters are laughably bad (Murat, Ney, Marie-Louise), and one has to strain to hear the dialogue (due to the foreign accents, background noise and music).

As for Christian Clavier, it's amazing how the comments on his performance stretch from "brilliant" to "trash." My own view is that he was off the mark as the younger Napoleon, but as the mature Napoleon had basically the right look and plenty of gravitas.

A good contribution to the body of film about the Emperor but also full of flaws.
23 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Well, at least it's accurate!
benoit-322 April 2003
I admit I found it a little hard to stomach Christian Clavier (Jacquouille la Fripouille from « Les Visiteurs » and Astérix from the Astérix films) as Napoléon, especially when that role has been interpreted in English by the likes of Marlon Brando, Charles Boyer, Herbert Lom and Rod Steiger and in French, by the likes of Albert Dieudonné, Daniel Gélin, Sacha Guitry, Raymond Pellegrin and Jean-Louis Barrault. Because of all those famous precedents, one has come to expect in the role a kind of forceful but graceful personality. Clavier plays him a little bit on the educated warthog side, but that's OK because so did Marlon Brando.

IMDb users seem to hate this TV movie for all the wrong reasons. It can't be faulted for historical accuracy. There is every indication that almost every single word spoken in this script was actually said by the protagonists. And here is at least one English-language movie that doesn't show Napoléon's soldiers taking aim at the Sphinx's nose for target practice (an English myth). The sets and costumes are magnificent. The action is a little simplified for my taste but it allows the viewer a more unencumbered comprehension of the timeline. I have seen many French movies that naturally expect their French audience to know all the dates and the battles by heart and take it from there, so to speak. I am sure that the DVD version, which is longer, will reconcile many critics with scenes that seemed a little too short on TV.

I only noticed two major goofs in the whole four hours. John Malkovitch seems to think he is too great an actor to accept suggestions as to the pronunciation of French names, either from his co-stars or from a French coach, which must be responsible for his coasting through every possible phonetic permutation of the words 'Duc d'Enghien' in the course of an hour, some of them successful. Also, the same character warns Joséphine not to go to Poland before Napoléon has even met Marie Waleska, which is mysterious indeed. Did he actually know they would meet and fall in love?

But, all in all, it is a magnificent effort in a TV series, one that is not without its artistic and poetic merits.
32 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
You will buy it anyway
davidjpeers29 December 2008
It is probably pointless recommending or not recommending this series as there are two types of people that are going to buy this: The Napoleon nuts like me and the period drama people. The latter will be in their element as the domestic sets are both lavish and authentic. There are also some remarkable likenesses such as Josephine, Murat and Caulencourt.

On first viewing I was left a little cold. I thought that at last a substantial amount of time had been allocated to this, perhaps the greatest of all individual subjects. However, if there is one thing that any expert on the subject will tell you, it is that there is no way that you can even begin to condense this subject into 60 hours, let alone 6. The worst mistake that this film makes is attempting to replicate the battles themselves. The camera angles pan across large expanses revealing (at best) eight or nine hundred extras. All this whilst regular references are made to 20,000 losses on each side (Austerlitz, Eylau, Essling and especially Waterloo). Sometimes, it is almost laughable and cheapens the rest of the film. The makers would have been much better off by excluding any military action and just leaving it to innuendo – after all, Borodino is just referred to by Caulencourt when in Moscow conversing with Murat.. Thank God they didn't try to replicate that terrible battle! So, the plus points: Napoleon: At first I thought that Clavier was miles off the mark. If, like me you have seen and were bowled over by Rod Steiger's rendition in Waterloo then this will get some getting used to. After all, Napoleon is a red-blooded Corsican genius, capable of flying off the handle at any time, exhausting his counterparts and friends alike. Not in this version. Yet, Clavier has one saving grace. He introduces a measured, human approach that we know Napoleon had to have had from time to time. Almost schizophrenic some might say (Megalomania is the preferred terminology). I don't prefer his interpretation of Napoleon's to Steiger, but it is warmer if not necessarily more Corsican. If we could introduce this to Steiger's approach you may have the perfect Napoleon.

The relationship between Napoleon and Josephine is also one of the better points of this series. Clavier's in-love out-of-love relationship is perfectly handled without the usual mushiness. Here is a relationship based on love, intensity, necessity and ultimately friendship and loss.

Finally, Caulencourt is dealt with in some depth, as is Fauche, Murat and Talleyrand. But where is Berthier, Bessieres, Augereau, Davout and Ney (who suddenly appears towards the end despite his Russian campaign heroics)? Holes? Yes. But unless we get someone with $500,000,000 willing to approach this subject with the endeavour it deserves then we are left with this kind of product. So overall, not too bad. Vive l'Emperor!
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Well-made and interesting
S Bodmann12 January 2003
This series, consisting (in Germany) of 4 parts, tells the story of the most important figure in French history, Napoléon Bonaparte whose remarkable career started as a mere officer in an artillery regiment. The film focuses especially on Napoléon's (C. Clavier) relationship to his early love, Josephine, who is quite beautiful but also some years older than Napoléon. Indeed, most of the film is centered largerly around the numerous affairs and relationships of the Emperor, who seeks an heir but also to strenghten the french influence in Europe. There are some quite fascinating battle-scenes, although, for a 42 million Euro project, one might say they could've been done better. Obviously most of the money has been spent on the wonderful costumes, and, naturally, on the prominent cast, which includes some famous European, as well as Amercian actors.

Generally, if you are interested in such kind of movies and have a certain knowledge of the historical facts, "Napoléon" is absolutely recommendable. It might have some flaws, and some historical facts may be, to the normally educated, not clear, but then, it's only a TV movie. And it's really rather enjoyable, bringing a fascinating period of European history to life.
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
interesting characterization
chips7630915 April 2003
As an American I was not familiar with French actor Christian Clavier, but I was pleasantly surprised at his characterization of Napoleon. M. Clavier has the confidence and presence to personify a historical character of amazing charisma. I look forward to seeing him as Asterix! As for the overall production, it was very well-done and was a fair summary of a life that encompassed unimaginable highs and lows.
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
chrsmil167472 September 2003
Excellent rendition chronicling Napoleons life. As usual Malkovich & Gerard Depardeau were magnificent in their roles and Heino Ferch was a breath of fresh air.Christian Clavier brought such a human & at times Humane quality to Napoleon.
12 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Interesting and accurate, but....
koolsbergen16 April 2006
All my life I was fascinated by the Emperor of the French so I was glad to find this movie on DVD. As far as I know this is a pretty accurate description of the life and - particularly - the wars of Napoléon. I liked most of the actors and certainly Christian Clavier. However, three things could have been done better. To begin with there are too many battle scenes while it's impossible to keep overview; instead I would have preferred more attention for the political developments in the Napoleontic era. Then I don't understand why the movie is in the English language; Napoléon and his friends spoke French! My main objection is that it's difficult to identify with the main characters. Why does Napoléon do what he does, what's going on in the minds of Murat or Ney, what exactly attracts Walewska to Napoleon, etcetera? For people interested in what Napoléon might have moved, I strongly recommend the film 'Waterloo' (Bondarchuk 1970) with an overwhelming Napoléon played by Rod Steiger!
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Excellent performance by M. Clavier
missmarmite2 August 2004
I was never interested in Napoleon. Although I visited the Louvre I didn't go to see Napoleon's chambers, which are on display there. I would have never watched this series if it wasn't for the actors in it. And now, after six hours of Napoleon and nothing but Napoleon, I actually got interested in the chap and think about reading a biography. And I'm sure this is down to the excellent performance of Christian Clavier. Simple as that.

Okay, his English could be a tiny bit better, agreed, but I rather get used to an accented English than to a bad performance by English native speakers. Christian Clavier is truly an excellent actor, although he might be best known (in France) for his parts in very silly comedies. If he only decided to take more "serious" parts, maybe more people would notice what a fantastic talent he has. What he can express just with his eyes is quite stunning. But that may be a female point of view...

The other well known actors had, of course, smaller parts, in comparison. But none of them was miscast. And I especially liked how actors from different countries once again worked together. This as well is what the European idea is about.

One of the few things I didn't like were the flashbacks at the end. They were completely out of place and should be cut out. They don't make sense at all at the end of the film.

And a last remark about Monsieur Clavier's language skills: The first way he said "Ich liebe dich" got me guffawing, the second way he made my heart melt. Maybe he should think about doing a film in German...?
15 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
OckGal10 September 2003
Not all movies have the BEST graphics, and maybe this one didn't have graphics that would blow you away, but that wasn't really the point, and it looked fine, to me.

I caught part of this on A&E, recently. I watched a few minutes, then turned the channel to watch a regular show. I came back to it, and watched the end of the first half. The next day, I ran into the second part. I missed quite a bit, but watched the last hour, or so. I started craving the rest of it. I got online and did a search, found it was out on DVD, and made a trip to my local video retailer. I got the 3-DVD set and have since made a website devoted to Christian Clavier because I thought he did a wonderful job, and this movie made me a fan almost instantly. I've always liked Isabella Rossellini, and her role as Josephine was very convincing.

I've always been a fan of Napoleon movies, and I've seen several, but this one has to be the best. The interaction between Napoleon and Josephine and the action during the war scenes had me on the edge of my seat. Most people know how the end turned out, but that didn't stop me from thinking that things would be different.

I highly recommend this movie, in DVD format for the "making of" section. I wish I had watched this in high school because I would have learned quite a bit.

Go watch this movie!
11 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Another battle Napoleon lost
maxime-209 May 2009
Being interested in the subject and seeing the amazing cast it had, I thought i would enjoy this mini-series and put both DVDs (eps 1-2 and eps 3-4) on my Netflix. What a disappointment! I had to force myself to get through episode 1. I thought it might get better with the second episode, but no such luck. The story keeps dragging, the acting is uninspiring, the dialog plain boring and almost laughable. Yes, this is one of the most expensive European productions ever made, but no matter how much money they spent on this, it still looks cheaply done. The colors are so over the top vibrant and colorful that it lacks any authenticity. And honestly, with its $46 million budget, would it have been so hard to find a real, beautiful sunset near the French sea cost instead of putting Clavier in front of a super fake looking green screen??? What was the most disappointing about this production is the acting. And honestly, you can't blame the actors for it. The script and dialog they had to work with is just terrible, over dramatic and way too wordy. Not everything needs to be explained. Not every character's name need to be mentioned in every single line of dialog. Less is more. But here, more is the norm. Well, I now realize I need to log onto Netflix, and delete my next film in my queue: Napoleon Disc II.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
misses too many points
max_s44411 October 2003
in my opinion, the major flaw of this production is that it doesn't aim properly. there is no way to capture the entire napoleonic era, not in 6 hours and not in 60 hours. the best angle is to pick one topic and focus on it. picking napoleon is of course the most natural thing to do. focusing on his character alone is slightly more problematic. it could've been done better if the character wasn't written so flatly - there is a lot of conflict inside him considering his origin, his position and the many pressures from all sides that he constantly struggles against, quite successfully at times. none of that is shown. we get a cardboard figure, with many good points missing (like the jena battle, where his victory was sidelined by one of his marshals' success at the same time in auerstadt, and napoleon's dilemma regarding the man), many interesting characters missing or lacking depth (massena, bernadot, ney) and other faults. the small scale of the massive battles is a shame, also, although judging from other comments here, the DVD version could have them more on the wide-scale.

all in all, it could've been better. TV movies are judged less harshly then "real" movies. maybe if the creators where put more to the test, this work could've achieved a higher standard.
9 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Magnificent Work... Underrated, but a few Errors..
akhoya8717 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
With an exceptional performance by Clavier, and the rest of the Napoleon cast, this multi-million dollar miniseries is highly underrated. It depicts Napoleon's life well for such a short lifespan, but there are a few mistakes that accompany the film.

First, Malkovich wasn't the best choice to play the renowned diplomat Talleyrand. Malkovich portrays him in a rather bland and placid manner, and the director shows him as a bit of a weakling, whereas Talleyrand was one of the most powerful men in all Europe -- even after Napoleon's defeat.

Second, Alain Doutey as Marshal Ney... not as enthusiastic as the real Marshal Ney would have been. His famous line, repeated in the film, was said unenthusiastic and without spirit.

Simoneau would have done better had he shown elements of the Duke of Wellington to contrast the two military leaders... we definitely didn't really want to see the blubbering Louis XVIII, or the King/Prince of Spain, for that matter.

Other than that however, the rest of the performances were fantastic. Josephine, Caulaincourt, Caroline Bonaparte, Murat -- and of course, the Emperor Napoleon, were all shown true to form.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Terminally boring, but heavenly to look at
Shezan18 October 2002
This lavish production of "Napoleon", which cost French State TV and others $40 million, is everything a biopic should not be. Each historical character is given long historical tracts to mouth as best s/he can, of the "and now I've vanquished Prussia, I shall conquer Poland" variety (Christian Clavier as Napoleon), to which the Emperor's semi-faithful Foreign Minister Talleyrand (John Malkovich) answers "I understand Polish women are very beautiful, Sire." Then, just to ensure we get the hint, Police Minister Fouché (Gérard Depardieu) reprises about the same line to about-to-be-cuckolded Empress Josephine (Isabella Rossellini). "Your Majesty, I advise you not to go to Poland." Etc., etc.; Greta Garbo movies had better dialogue and far better historical savvy.

This mammoth (4 90-minutes eps, for a total runtime of 6 hours) mini-series is, however, utterly lovely to look at. Guy Dufaux's cinematography is sensitive and beautifully-lit, as effective in intimate scenes between Napoleon and Josephine as in great battle scenes. Shot in the castles and palaces of Eastern Europe, or in Morocco (standing in unconvincingly for Egypt, with the odd CGI-ed Pyramid thrown in), the entire production achieves the kind of Biennale des Antiquaires look no set decorator could afford. Clothes, uniforms, carriages all contribute to a splendid museum experience.

But it's not enough. A talented comic in farces like "Les Visiteurs", Christian Clavier is hopelessly miscast as Napoleon, lacking the drive and intensity that mesmerized all contemporaries. He walks dutifully through the part, eliciting no sentiment whatsoever. You can't believe Clavier could write a love-letter to Josephine, let alone the entire French Legal Code. His family of Corsican upstarts has been gentrified to the point of utter boredom, with Anouk Aimée trying to sound hard as Madame Mère Letizia Buonaparte, and looking merely exhausted. Equally, Isabella Rossellini has great charm, but none of the brittle elegance expected of Josephine. She performs in slightly accented French, which is more than can be said for Malkovich, who's obviously dubbed (English-language viewers will hear his voice and get Clavier et al. dubbed: this is a Eurosausage of a production, with money from half a dozen channels) but from what we can see has got the personality of the dapper, aristocratic and manipulative Talleyrand, whom he plays as a run-down Valmont from Dangerous Liaisons, wrong.

It's mostly not Malkovich's fault. The authors, best-selling popular historian Max Gallo and novelist/screenwriter Didier Decoin, have a tin ear for early 19th-century French, and make absolutely no attempt to give any of their characters period sensitivities. Ladies-in-waiting hop into bed with Napoleon like Carrie and Miranda in "Sex and the City"; the Pope expresses himself with the world-weariness of Peter Jennings tut-tutting the "Axis of Evil" speech. There is no psychological exploration of any kind: next to this clichéed pantomime, "Friends" could have been scripted by Ingmar Bergman. Talleyrand, a scion of the oldest French aristocracy turned sometime revolutionary, suggests the kidnapping and execution of a Bourbon prince after a Royalist bomb nearly blows up Bonaparte's carriage. None of the complex political and psychological reasons motivating him are even hinted at -- he's not just a slimebag, he's an uninteresting slimebag.

In the middle of this painted-porcelain debacle, Gérard Depardieu proves once again that he is one of our times' major actors. Given the underwritten part of Police Minister Joseph Fouché, Depardieu imbues the least move, the simplest word, with a haunted complexity he creates entirely on his own (and which constitutes a fascinating reading of Fouché's historical character: Depardieu's creation contains more valid historical speculation than the entire screenplay.) His Fouché sees the quasi-totalitarian secret police he invents and runs (it was Fouché who thought of making every concierge in France a police informer) as the last defense against the brutality of the dictatorial state. "If we know the thoughts of the citizens," he implies, "we can prevent them from committing crimes, and therefore spare them the excessive brutalities of widespread repression." It's a flawed rationalization, and his Fouché is a dark and tortured bear of a man, hoping vainly but ceaselessly for a goodness that eludes him. Depardieu alone would make this production bearable, but there simply isn't enough of him onscreen.
7 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Stunning Portrayal of One of Europe's Greatest Men
Gui199923 October 2013
Detailing the life and times of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon the four part mini-series is a stunning portrayal of one of Europe's greatest men.

One minute we are in a tent somewhere in the olive fields of Italy the next we are in a ball watching Napoleon meet the beautiful Comtesse Walweska.

Christian Clavier plays a fantastic Napoleon Bonaparte with that cunning and yet short tempered mind that the Emperor is so famous for. Isabella Rossellini does a good job at playing Josephine De Beauharnais and Marie Horbiger plays an equally good Marie-Louise matching the real Empress's personality well. Out of the three women however Alexandra Maria Lara played the strongest character as Comtesse Walweska, the enigma who in the latter stage of the series takes a prominent role.

I found John Malkovich's portrayal of Charles-Maurice Talleyrand yet another fantastic performance. Napoleon's family was also represented with great representations of Caroline and of Murat Bonaparte. The role of Fouche was well represented by Gerard Depardieu.

In total however I found the series too short, I thought it should have been double the size. The Peninsular Campaign is way to brief in the series and many of the battles are not accurately represented nor really showing Napoleon's real genius which was on the battlefield as well as at the drawing table. The 16 Marshals are badly represented with only a couple being mentioned and Marshal Ney 'The Fearless' is briefly added in at the end to fit the story line. Many of the key points of the era are missing from this otherwise stunning portrayal of one of Europe's Greatest Men.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
selffamily11 December 2009
I have to admit my knowledge of Bonaparte and French history is sketchy at best. When I saw this DVD set for sale, I grabbed it, being fairly certain that it would be quality and worth watching. Well, four episodes later, having become totally addicted, I hope I have better knowledge because I found it fascinating and enthralling. I don't like battle scenes, they evoke too many emotions for me of the wastage of humankind, but I found the graphics clearly illustrated for me where the campaigns were heading, what happened and I think I learned from it. I found the acting was convincing, I loved Josephine and ached for her when they divorced; I found our hero more sympathetic that I had expected, and that was pleasing because a nation such as France would not blindly follow someone who was not passionate about the country. I thought that this was (given obvious time/money limitations) quite splendid and can't wait to share it!
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Beautifully made documentary, superbly casted
pvdharten28 July 2005
Although quite lengthy, this documentary never became boring.

Much to the credit of the script writers, there is an excellent balance between action scenes, political intrigue and romance. This all leads to a much better understanding of the character of Napoleon Bonaparte, although more credit could have been given to his constitutional and governance reforms which are still tangible for many European nations today.

The original score and photography is of a very high standard, but what is even more important, I have rarely come across a movie in which the casting was this well tailored to the characters. Rather than putting famous names in all the lead roles, a true effort has been made to match the skills of the actor to the character in a fine, pan-European cast.

Christian Clavier's accent is quite charming: I guess this is how we think Napoleon would have sounded, if he would have spoken English....
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This Version of Napoleon did not quite make it.
blaine37 August 2003
Overall I was disappointed in comparing it to Sergei Bondarchuk's version of "Waterloo". However I realize that to make a film of Napoleons entire Career on that scale would be impossible now (perhaps even then) due to financial and political considerations (there is no Red Army now to use in the battle scenes!)

Isabella Rossellini as Joséphine de Beauharnais was perfectly beautiful but not nearly as calculating as the real Joséphine. Gérard Depardieu as Joseph Fouché the minister of police was not nearly as sinister as the character called for.Alexandra Maria Lara as Countess Marie Walewska didn't quite make it. Alain Doutey as Maréchal Ney was too much of an old fogey..he showed nothing of the reckless daring of the real Ney. Last but not least Christian Clavier as Napoléon gave an uneven performance. Sometimes he was good in the more introspective scenes but I could not see the charisma that would have inspired troops on to victory in this Napoleon.

On the plus side I thought John Malkovich was perfectly slimy as Tallyrand, although he looked nothing like the real Tallyrand. I appreciated that they portrayed Armand Augustin Louis, (Marquis de Caulaincourt)as one of Napoleon's closest confidants during his imperial period. Most films give Caulaincourt short shrift. I think Caulaincourt was one of the more honorable men associated with Napoleon.Toby Stephens as Tsar Alexander I was one of the better portrayals of the Tsar. The scene where one of Napoleons closest confidants (I forget his name) had his head taken off by a cannon as he was beside Napoleon was historically accurate as was Napoleons close relationship with Marshal Lannes. Sebastian Koch as Marshal Jean Lannes, in his death scene was good and I think the last words of Lannes were historically accurate, where he urged Napoleon to give up his lust for war.

Murat was shown to be Napoleons favorite commander right from the beginning when Napoleon saved the Assembly from the Royalist mob with a "whiff of grapeshot". Was this accurate?

Where did that character with the turban playing the part of Napoleons valet come from? Napoleon said he picked him up in Egypt. Napoleons valet most of his career was a Frenchman named Constant.

I felt a bit of sadness when the loutish British governor was seen mistreating Napoleon, the depression and sense of isolation that must have overcome Napoleon was evident. Napoleons relationship with the governors daughter (of whom Napoleon became quite fond) was not explored.
6 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
See Waterloo (1970)
rynotows11 April 2003
Rod Steiger in 1970 NAILED the role of Napoleon. I can't believe that this 2002 catastrophe is available on dvd and the classic 1970 version with Christopher Plummer as Wellington is not. what a strange and cruel twist that is.

By all means if you are interested in Napoleon, see Waterloo. You won't regret it.

As for the 2002 version, eh, if you have the time and NOTHING better to do.
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
paola-mazzarini11 February 2003
"Napoleon" is a great film and the reason is Christian Clavier: he's a perfect Napoleon, his performance is divine. Christian Clavier is a wonderful actor, not only in "Napoleon", but also in "Les Miserables", "Les Visiteurs", and all his films. Mr Clavier gives to the spectator special emotions and creates a magic atmosphere. All Christian Clavier's performances are simply an enchantment!!!
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The worst at his best
jean-no26 February 2003
Christian Clavier is a french comic actor of the kind of Louis De Funes : he jumps, shouts, takes a stupid voice. Actually he can be funny - well he has ever been funny, like in "les bronzés"... twenty-five years ago. Giving Clavier the part of Napoleon was not a very good idea : for the french audience it is ridiculous (just imagine Jerry Lewis in George Washington or Ronald Reagan as a president). But that is not the worst. The director's work is a shame, you can see magnificent places and objects shot just as if it was a not very good promotional music video. There is a few combat scenes that really suck. To end, the script is not very clever and some computer animations used to show geographic facts look like the average BBC documentary style. A really awful TV-movie.
7 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Strange movie
Neferkara3 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
As a historian, I thought this movie was lacking in certain parts. Yet it had a lot of history in it, which I seemed to me to be correct and well done. There are a lot of beautiful shots, wonderful colors and the art department did a great job in this movie. The costumes of Napoleon and the foreign minister was almost magic. I was taken away by the details of the costumes and the scenery. I was most likely not filmed at Versailles or Paris, yet you had the impression that they were filming there. It was generally well edited and filmed. That said, there are several things that bothered me. For example, when Napeolon moves across Europe with his army and confronts the Allied forces or even the Prussians; they animated this by computers. I didn't think this was at all necessary, I think it would have been a better movie if the director simple left this out (that is what most directors do anyway). The maps rather bothered me, too many details; names and dates of battles covered were enough. The other thing that really bothered me was the whole accents. We are supposed to be watching a movie set in Napoleonic France where people spoke French. Most of the actors don't come from France and so speak with a heavy American or German accent. I first noticed this when Murat was attacking the Directoire and so says "attack" in a clear American accent; this bothered me. I would have preferred to have the movie in French and subtitled.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
AMAZING production. Well condensed version of story of a lifetime of struggle. Accurate
cowboyerik2 January 2014
Yes, the "Eagles" or monarchs of Europe and England did ultimately defeat Bonaparte. They did destroy his armies. They did crush the people's revolution. Napoleon made mistakes, mistakes that were already in history and would be repeated again. Even now in our century. His war against the Kings of Europe was the good fight. His men, his people wanted an end to eat. They didn't want to just eat cake. They wanted bread. The despotic rulers of Europe sowed the seeds of their own end. Had Bonaparte made a few less mistakes, or maybe just one, he would have been successful. As it was, it would be another 75 to 100 years for Kings/Queens to be eliminated and freedom to reign.

Today, I am often disgusted at how these figure head Kings and Queens, Prince and Princess's carry on, most prominently in England, these kids need to come out and admit they are nothing. God didn't place them in power, the are just people that happen to have been born into their palaces and estates. It's a waste of money. Had Napoleon not weakened them, and showed the world that they were beatable, the people may not have eventually overthrown them. If Napoleon had been successful it is possible there would have been no WORLD WARS. Both world wars were cause by and set off by various ruling house having treaties and loyalties to each others by cousins, families and in-laws and it was so confusing it lead to WW1. Then the miserable outcome of WW1 led to WW2, then the Cold War and beyond. The World is still un-dividing and disarming and we still have incredibly huge militaries and expenditures when we can't take care of people around the world. Napoleon tried to end 100 years war before it started. This is the story of his attempt to end it. Truly his story. Well told. Teaser bits of battles, the agony and cost of defeat, his love for people and his women. Not fat drunk. Not a murderer or executioner. An honorable Battlefield Commander in the name of his people, and the people of the world. A liberator that showed the way to freedom, the way to democracy, that path out of tyranny. Most interesting figure in history. Can't be touched or denied.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An (Historical) Epic Stinker
jlacerra12 April 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I played this movie with great hopes. I'm a history enthusiast, and now I was to see a story about the entire life of one of history's great figures. What a let down. The acting was baaad! Even John Malkovich couldn't muster a decent performance, and the perennially over-rated Isabella Rosselini was more than usually dreadful.

But the movie's crown jewel of lame performances is Cristian Clavier in the title role. Who would follow this mumbly-mouthed, nondescript troll into battle? He comes off like the creepy guy from the local pizza parlor playing dress-up and reading lines without his glasses.

Possible Spoilers:

The plot is disjointed and difficult to follow. For example, we see "Napoleon" leading his troops into a disastrous battle in Italy, and then cut to a Paris salon where his "victory" is being discussed!

Later, we are told that Napoleon's disaster in Egypt (where he abandoned his entire stranded army, they neglected to add) somehow will make him super-popular in France. Go figure!

Napoleon once said, "To a man like me, the lives of fifty-thousand men is just so much s_ _ t." Well, to a man like me, this movie is soooo much s_ _ t!!!
3 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Napoleon on the side
talkbaktalk16 June 2018
This is the first Napoleon epic where the chief speaks with a French accent; that is good. HIs words are his, many of the events are accurate. Because his life was crowded with events, all detail is left out except the love interest of Josephine.

This is a modern interpretation, so any glory of war is ruthlessly stamped out, to the point that great battles are always seen as useless slaughter with piles of corpses. Well, in part they are.

If you're looking for any of La Gloire, a big part of the period, you'll look in vain. The people rarely cheer Napoleon. We know his soldiers often shouted "Vive L'Empereur" as he passed. Instead, in the film, they barely notice him on the battlefield.

Isabel Rossellini as Josephine is seen too often, as (one of the) the women of his life. Murat stands in for all his Marshals, as a film can only pay so many actors. John Malkovich as Talleyrand is very good.

An interesting and intelligent film. Clavier plays the part of Napoleon well, although in the interests of covering all his life, he is a bit one dimensional. If you thirst for battlefield tactics, and scenes of battle, you'll be disappointed. Only one battle is covered in any detail is Austerlitz, his finest victory.

Napoleon was an extremely intelligent and relatively peaceful man. Most of the wars he fought were forced upon him by European nations in the pay of the English, who could not abide him. He was a better man than they were.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Felt I was treated to a instant classic
rkmsand5 January 2017
To all of the fans of this film We know why we have this in our personal collection. To all of the critics .......

You are way way way jaded. Give it a rest.

I need more lines. the color was awesome. The acting was awesome. The picture was awesome.

If you did not like this movie you are a spoiled snob that needs a vacation. I can not wait to share this movie with my friends .

Hey snobs .....what the hell do you want from people anyway?? Why am I typing a review that no one will read anyway?

Why am I wasting my time anyway?

What is the point of all of this? Hello go watch the movie idiots.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed