7.5/10
5,566
54 user 31 critic

Napoleon (1927)

Napoléon vu par Abel Gance (original title)
A film about the French Field Marshal's youth and early military career.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
4 wins. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

La roue (1923)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (who Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally ... See full summary »

Director: Abel Gance
Stars: Séverin-Mars, Ivy Close, Gabriel de Gravone
Greed (1924)
Drama | Thriller | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Gibson Gowland, Zasu Pitts, Jean Hersholt
Pandora's Box (1929)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The rise and inevitable fall of an amoral but naive young woman whose insouciant eroticism inspires lust and violence in those around her.

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Stars: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In documentary style, events in Petrograd are re-enacted from the end of the monarchy in February of 1917 to the end of the provisional government and the decrees of peace and of land in ... See full summary »

Directors: Grigori Aleksandrov, Sergei M. Eisenstein
Stars: Boris Livanov, Nikolay Popov, Vasili Nikandrov
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An aging doorman, after being fired from his prestigious job at a luxurious Hotel is forced to face the scorn of his friends, neighbours and society.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Arch-criminal Dr. Mabuse sets out to make a fortune and run Berlin. Detective Wenk sets out to stop him.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Aud Egede-Nissen, Gertrude Welcker
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Douglas Fairbanks, Mae Marsh
Stachka (1925)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A group of oppressed factory workers go on strike in pre-revolutionary Russia.

Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Stars: Grigori Aleksandrov, Maksim Shtraukh, Mikhail Gomorov
Zemlya (1930)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In the peaceful countryside, Vassily opposes the rich kulaks over the coming of collective farming.

Director: Aleksandr Dovzhenko
Stars: Stepan Shkurat, Semyon Svashenko, Yuliya Solntseva
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In 1918 a simple Mongolian herdsman escapes to the hills after brawling with a western capitalist fur trader who cheats him. In 1920 he helps the partisans fight for the Soviets against the... See full summary »

Director: Vsevolod Pudovkin
Stars: I. Inkizhinov, I. Dedintsev, Valéry Inkijinoff
J'accuse! (1919)
Drama | Horror | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The story of two men, one married, the other the lover of the other's wife, who meet in the trenches of the First World War, and how their tale becomes a microcosm for the horrors of war.

Director: Abel Gance
Stars: Romuald Joubé, Maxime Desjardins, Séverin-Mars
The Crowd (1928)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The life of a man and woman together in a large, impersonal metropolis through their hopes, struggles and downfalls.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Eleanor Boardman, James Murray, Bert Roach
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Vladimir Roudenko ...
...
Alexandre Koubitzky ...
...
Abel Gance ...
...
Suzanne Bianchetti ...
Marguerite Gance ...
Yvette Dieudonné ...
Élisa Bonaparte
Philippe Hériat ...
...
Eugénie Buffet ...
Acho Chakatouny ...
Nicolas Koline ...
Edit

Storyline

A massive six-hour biopic of Napoleon, tracing his career from his schooldays (where a snowball fight is staged like a military campaign), his flight from Corsica, through the French Revolution (where a real storm is intercut with a political storm) and the Terror, culminating in his triumphant invasion of Italy in 1797 (the film stops there because it was intended to be part one of six, but director Abel Gance never raised the money to make the other five). The film's legendary reputation is due to the astonishing range of techniques that Gance uses to tell his story, culminating in the final twenty-minute triptych sequence, which alternates widescreen panoramas with complex multiple- image montages projected simultaneously on three screens. Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Abel Gance's 1927 Masterpiece [reissue]


Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Release Date:

17 February 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Abel Gance's Napoleon  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD edition) | (2000 restoration) | (1981 restored) | (cinémathèque française print) | (Blu-Ray digital restoration)

Sound Mix:

(1981 re-release)| |

Color:

| (tinted) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A copyright dispute over which music soundtrack should be performed with "Napoleon" exists between Zoetrope Studios/Francis Ford Coppola and the BFI/Kevin Brownlow/Carl Davis. When Brownlow assembled the original restored version in 1981, two scores were eventually produced, one (apparently for the American market) by Carmine Coppola (Francis' father) and another (apparently for the UK market) by Carl Davis, veteran of many new scores for old silent movies. Prior to two live performances of the Davis score in December 2004 to accompany a new five-hour-plus restoration of "Napoleon", Coppola attempted to prevent the performances going ahead without his late father's score on the grounds that his family owns the copyright over the film, even though Carmine Coppola's score was written for the short four-hour restoration. In the end the performances went ahead with Davis' score being used, although the dispute remains unresolved. Brownlow commented on this issue (comparing Coppola's behavior to that of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels) before Davis himself conducted the two London performances (Davis was recovering from a foot operation and was brought on stage in a wheelchair). See more »

Goofs

Junoit makes a comment about not needing sand when an artillery shell dumps soil on the sign he is painting. This is based on an actual incident, but Junot was writing a letter for Napoleon not painting a sign. See more »

Connections

Featured in Edición Especial Coleccionista: Especial Scope (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

The Thrill of Being In Love (Love Theme of Napoleon and Josephine)
Music by Carmine Coppola
Lyrics by Italia Coppola (USA version)
UK version: score by Carl Davis (based largely on works by Beethoven)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Abel Gance was a Visionist
21 February 2001 | by (Los Angeles, California, USA) – See all my reviews

"Napoleon" is an absolute masterpiece in the world's history of filmmaking. In 1927, it was completely overshadowed by the technology of "The Jazz Singer". And that was a real tragedy for decades. Abel Gance is a director I will always admire for his innovation in filmmaking that still is impressive in the 21st Century. He mounted cameras on skis and swings to give the audience the effects that he wanted to convey, and it works perfectly. I was impressed by two great scenes - the 'ocean storm' scene and the final battlefield scene, which was done in the tints of the three colors of the French flag. Any aspiring director should study the techniques of Abel Gance, because the brilliance of this great director would be inspiring! Gance was also instrumental in perfect casting. Though Albert Dieudonne was older, as actors go, he was perfectly cast as Napoleon. If this was an American film and not a French film, I'm sure it would be considered as one of the greatest films ever made by AFI and other organizations.

I was glad that Abel Gance was able to see the affection that audiences had for this film in the late 1980's and early 1990's when the film went on a world tour with a world class orchestra. It would have been sad if Gance had passed on without knowing that his film was considered a masterpiece. If their was ever a silent film that 'pulls out all of the stops', this film is it. Viva Le Gance - the Visionist!


17 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?