7.5/10
5,714
54 user 34 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
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
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
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
Foolish Wives (1922)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A con artist masquerades a Russian nobility and attempts to seduce the wife of an American diplomat.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Rudolph Christians, Miss DuPont, Maude George
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 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
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: Grigoriy 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
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuits living in the Arctic Circle.

Director: Robert J. Flaherty
Stars: Allakariallak, Nyla, Cunayou
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

One of the first feminist movies, The Smiling Madame Beudet is the story of an intelligent woman trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband is used to playing a stupid practical joke in ... See full summary »

Director: Germaine Dulac
Stars: Germaine Dermoz, Alexandre Arquillière, Jean d'Yd
Les vampires (1915)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An intrepid reporter and his loyal friend battle a bizarre secret society of criminals known as The Vampires.

Director: Louis Feuillade
Stars: Musidora, Édouard Mathé, Marcel Lévesque
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A frail waif, abused by her brutal boxer father in London's seedy Limehouse District, is befriended by a sensitive Chinese immigrant with tragic consequences.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp
Edit

Cast

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

Comic-Con 2017: All Aboard the IMDboat

 | 

July 20 to 23, 2017

Get entertainment news, trailer drops, and photos with IMDb's coverage of 2017 San Diego Comic-Con featuring host and IMDboat captain Kevin Smith. Watch our exclusive celebrity interviews, and tune in to our LIVE show from 3:30 to 5 p.m. PDT on Saturday, July 22.

Browse Our Guide to Comic-Con

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

Director Abel Gance was worried that the film's finale wouldn't have the proper impact by being confined to a small screen. He thought of expanding the frame by using three cameras next to each other. For the first time, cinema utilized a rectangular image (with an approximate 4.00:1 aspect ratio). This is probably the most famous of the film's several innovative techniques. Though American filmmakers began experimenting with 70mm widescreen in 1929, widescreen didn't take off until CinemaScope was invented in 1953. See more »

Goofs

Flags of the British troops at the battle of Toulon show either the Union Jack or a regimental colour with the Union jack in the upper left canton. However the Union Jack used is the one adopted in 1801 and incorporates the red cross of St Patrick, whereas the Battle of Toulon was in 1793. Similarly the ensign flown by the ship that sees Napoleon at sea after fleeing Corsica is the white ensign of the White Squadron of the Royal Navy, but it too uses the 1801 Union Jack pattern See more »

Connections

Referenced in Historia del cine: Epoca muda (1983) 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

 
Gance needed a figure as powerful as "Napoleon" to fulfill his dream of super cinema…

Abel Gance's 'Napoleon' was premiered on April 7, 1927, at the Paris Opera House, the first movie to be accorded such an honor… It was been shown on a triple screen and to full orchestral accompaniment, running slightly under four hours…

Impressive as it seems, it was conceived as the first of a six-part biography running many hours and tracing the life of Napoleon from childhood to the bitter end in St Helena… Fortunately-for Abel Gance who directed and for us-the project was only completed to that moment where Napoleon enters Italy at the head of the French army, and the later and less pleasant aspects of his spectacular career were left unfilmed... The Little Corporal, after all, is a less controversial figure than the Emperor…

Gance needed a figure as emblematic and powerful as 'Napoleon' to fulfill his dream of super cinema…

'Napoleon' is a masterpiece of excess:

  • The child Bonaparte keeps a pet eagle and wins a snow fight while at
school in Brienne... In this sequence, the frame splits into nine subliminal images; as Napoleon watches his men entering Italy, the screen expands on each side to form a breathtaking panorama, then changes into three coordinated views of the scene…

  • The National Convention seems to sway and rock as Napoleon makes his
escape from Corsica in a storm-tossed sailboat…

  • The Gallic of cabaret singers, Damia, leads French troops into battle
personifying 'La Marseillaise'…

'Napoleon' is like one grand musical composition. It throbs with life…

That was Gance the great filmmaker who thought that film could do everything and who said to Kevin Brownlow: 'For me, the cinema is not just pictures. It is something great, mysterious and sublime.' Brownlow is known now not only as an English filmmaker and film historian but also as a great restorer of silent films, notably Abel Gance's 'Napoleon.'


29 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?