Napoleon on Video
Edited by J. David Markham
International Napoleonic Society
(Video and Book series, Cromwell Films Limited 1993) Part of
a pretty good series that features reenactments and scenes
from movies. David Chandler serves as the resident
La battaglia del ponte di Lodi, 10 mai 1796
Produced in Italy; good luck finding this one. It was
produced with the cooperation of the French consul in Milan,
which might be a good place to start. My copy was a
The Battle of Austerlitz
This two cassette video is of Abel Gance's movie, which is
along the lines of his more famous Napoleon.
With Greta Garbo and Charles Boyer.(MGM/UA Video of the 1937
movie) The story of Marie Walewska.
Starring Gerard Depardieu, from the novel by
Honoré de Balzac. In French with English
subtitles.(Republic pictures, 1995).
(The Learning Channel, 1996). Two VHS tapes, includes
Napoleon, Alexander, Suleyman the Magnificent and Peter the
Great. Less favorable to Napoleon than to the others, but
still worth watching.
Starring Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons (20th Century Fox
Video of the 1954 movie). A true classic.
Starring Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel (Paramount 1994
video of the 1977 movie). Based on a story by Joseph
Eagle in a Cage (1971)
With John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson. This has to be one
of the worst Napoleonic movies made. It is poorly acted and
makes almost no effort to be historically accurate. The
action takes place on St. Hélène, and has
Napoleon trying to escape and subsequently being caught.
Worse, it has Napoleon in a sexual relationship with a
tomboy turned seductress Betsy Balcombe. Later, Gielgud, one
of the finest actors of this century, makes an absurd
appearance as an English lord there to arrange for
Napoleon's escape to retake France. A deal is cut giving
Napoleon Saxony for his efforts, but it falls through due to
Napoleon's failing health. Watching this movie will cause
your mental health to fail!
Field of Honor (Champ d'Honneur)
In French and Alsatian with English subtitles, Orion
Pictures,1988). Actually takes place in 1869, but worth a
look regardless of the fact that its the wrong empire!
Jacques-Louis David: The Passing Show
(volume 25 in a series Portrait of an Artist, produced by
the BBC TV and RM Arts, 1986. Of obvious interest, though a
(Produced by Jean Renoir in 1938). Not strictly Napoleonic,
but worth the effort just the same.
Starring Norma Shearer and Tyrone Power (MGM/UA Home Video
of the 1938 movie). OK, OK, I know we are a bit far afield
here, but it is more or less of the period, and if your
interest runs to the run-up to the Emperor, its worth a
(Abel Gance, MCA Home Video, two cassette). An absolute
classic; what more need be said. Silent, subtitles, stirring
music. Only goes as far as Italy.
Starring Orson Welles, Maria Schell, Yves Montand and Eric
Von Stroheim) This film, I believe from the 1950s, tells his
life story. Not my favorite, but some like it alot, and the
cast is super.
Napoleon: 1812, the road to Moscow
(Video and Book series, Cromwell Films Limited 1992)
Napoleon: Exclusively in Memphis
(Wonders, 1993). Now here is a real treasure. This is a
video of the exhibition in Memphis (Tennessee, USA) which
was probably the finest Napoleonic exhibition in history. If
you can lay your hands on a copy of this, do it; you will
not be disappointed. It includes some of the finest
Napoleonic treasures in the world, drawn from all of the
major museums and several private collections.
Napoleon: Man on the Rock. St. Helena
Napoleon Bonaparte and the Battle of
Part of the Great Commanders series, which includes
Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, Grant, Nelson and Zhukov. An
excellent series that, if you are reading this, you need to
have. (Ambrose Video/A&E, 1993). Lots of talking heads,
including Chandler and other experts; very well done. Filmed
on location, with many computer graphics.
victoire de Napoléon
In French, produced by the Fondation Napoléon, part
of the Souvenir Napoléon in Paris.
One of the most fun to watch, especially if you like
heart-throb Sean Bean, but do they have to make the French
such nasty fools? Still, great entertainment.
A Tale of Two Cities
Starring Ronald Colman with Basil Rathbone (MGM/US video of
the 1935 movie). Yes, I know, "There he goes again," but its
worth listing just the same!
(Video and Book series, Cromwell Films Limited 1993).
War and Peace
(Kultur video of the 1968 movie. 3 cassettes) For my money,
this is better than the American version.
War and Peace
(American version, see above).
(Produced by Dino De Laurentis, starring Rod Steiger,
Christopher Plummer, Orson Wells, and Jack Hawkins). I'll no
doubt catch hell for saying this, but I consider this one of
the most watchable of all the Napoleonic movies. I use it in
my high school world history class because it gives a very
good idea of some of the politics to say nothing of what the
battle may well have been like.
(Video and Book series, Cromwell Films Limited 1992.
Features lots of footage from the movie Waterloo).
Video and Movie References to Napoleonic Era
Compiled by Ron McGuin
with Contributions by Our Readers
(1985 Egyptian)*: Tale of General Caffarelli during the
Egyptian Campaign 1798-1799.
Adventures of Gerard, The
(1970 British): Farce about officer who becomes involved
with Napoleon. Peter McEnery and Eli Wallach.
Battle of Austerlitz, The
(1960 French-Italian-Yugoslavian): Reenactment of Napoleon's
Masterpiece. International cast includes Vittorio De Sicca,
Jack Palance and Orson Wells.
(1962 U.S.-British): Tale of young sailor and sadistic petty
officer in 1797 British Navy. Robert Ryan and Terence
Captain Horatio Hornblower
(1951 British): Story of British Navy Captain during
Napoleonic Wars. Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo.
(1953 U.S.): Officer thought killed during Napoleonic Wars
returns to France to recover his estates. Richard Greene and
Damn The Defiant
(1962 British): Story of mutiny aboard British ship during
Napoleonic era. Alec Guinness and Dirk Bogarde.
(1940 German)*: Propaganda movie about the Rothschilds and
the Battle of Waterloo.
Elusive Pimpernel, The
(1950 British): Remake of the Scarlett Pimpernel. Originally
a musical, but, music cut from release. David Niven and
Entrevue de Napoleon et du Pape
(1897 French)*: First recorded film on Napoleon.
Fighting Kentuckian, The
(1949 U.S.): Story of French exiles after Waterloo
settling in the United States. John Wayne and Oliver Hardy
(of Laurel and Hardy).
Fighting O'Flynn, The
(1949 U.S.): Swashbuckler set in Ireland of the 1800s during
a French Invasion. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Richard
Horatio Hornblower and the Duel
(1998 TV Movie British): Called Even Chance in the
U.K. Ioan Gruffudd and Robert Lindsey
Horatio Hornblower and the Fire
(1998 TV Movie British): Called Examination for
Lieutenant in the U.K. Ioan Gruffudd and Robert
Horation Hornblower and the Wrong
(1998 TV Movie British): Called The Frogs and the
Lobsters in the U.K. Ioan Gruffudd and Robert
Horatio Hornblower: The Duchess and the
(1998 TV Movie British): Ioan Gruffudd and Robert
(1949 U.S.): Comedy set in Russia in the 1800s where a man
is believed to be a friend of Napoleon. Danny Kaye and
Iron Duke, The
(1935 British): Story of the Duke of Wellington,
England, France and Europe in 1815. George Arliss.
(1944 German)*: Propaganda tale of the defence of Kolberg in
La Nuit des Varennes
(1983 French): Tale of Louis XVI and his flight from Paris
in 1791. Marcello Mastroianni, Jean-Louis Barrault and
La Sentinelle Endormie
(1965 French)*: Comedy about a plot to kill Napoleon.
Le Diable Boiteux
(1948 French)*: Talleyrand and the Napoleonic Era. Sacha
Le Fabuleux Destinde Desiree
(1942 French)*: Story of Desiree, romanced by Napoleon,
married Marshal Bernadotte and later Queen of Sweden.
(1994 French)*: Fanciful tale of Talleyrand and Fouche
discussing their and France's future.
Love and Death
(1975 U.S.): Comic retelling of War & Peace. Woody
Allen and Diane Keaton.
(1955 French): Epic life of the Queen of France. Michele
Morgan and Richard Todd.
(1959 U.S.): Young novice leaves the convent and falls in
love with British Officer in Peninsular War Spain. Carroll
Baker And Roger Moore.
Naked Maja, The
(1959 U.S.): Story of Goya and the famous painting set in
Peninsular War Spain. Ava Gardner and Anthony Franciosa.
Napoleon and Josephine: A Love
(TV Miniseries 1987): Follows Napoleon from pre-revolution
to his exile. Jacqueline Bisset and Armand Assante.
Napoleon and the English Sailor
(1908 British)*: First non-French film about Napoleon.
Nelson Affair, The
(1973 British): Remake of the romance between Lord Nelson
and Lady Hamilton. Peter Finch and Glenda Jackson. [also
titled: A Bequest to the Nation]
(1965 Polish)*: Story of the fate of Polish Officers during
the Napoleonic Wars.
Pride and The Passion, The
(1957 U.S.): Story of Spanish resistance against the French
during Peninsular War. Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and Sophia
Purple Mask, The
(1955 U.S.): Pimpernel-like swashbuckler against Napoleon in
1803. Tony Curtis and Colleen Miller.
Reign of Terror
(1949 U.S.): Search for valuable diary set against early
French Revolution. Robert Cummings and Arlene Dahl.
[also titled: The Black Book]
Return of the Scarlett Pimpernel,
(1938 British): Reworking of the familiar tale. Barry K.
Barnes and Sophie Stewart.
Scarlett Pimpernel, The
(1935 British): Classic story about Englishmen saving French
nobles from death during the French Revolution. Leslie
Howard and Merle Oberon.
Scarlett Pimpernel, The
(TV Movie 1982 U.S.): Remake of the classic tale. Anthony
Andrews and Jane Seymour.
Scarlett Pimpernel, The
(TV Movie 1998 British): Remake of the classic tale. Richard
Start The Revolution Without Me
(1970 U.S.): Comedy about two sets of twins told against the
start of the French Revolution. Gene Wilder and Donald
Tale of Two Cities, A
(1917 U.S.): Silent version tale of Englishman who helps
others during French Revolution. William Farnum and Jewel
Tale of Two Cities, A
(1958 British): Yet another remake. Dirk Bogarde and Dorothy
Tale of Two Cities, A
(1980 U.S.): Made for TV version. Chris Sarandon and Peter
(1963 U.S.): Chiller set in 1810 Baltic at a mysterious
castle. Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson.
That Hamilton Woman
(1941 U.S.): Story of romance between Lord Nelson and Lady
Hamilton. Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh. [also
titled: Lady Hamilton]
Young Mr. Pitt, The
(1942 British): Story of Prime Minister of Britain during
Napoleonic era. Robert Donat and Robert Morley.
*Information supplied by Yves
& Video Index ]