Conquest (1937)

Approved  |   |  Drama, History, Romance  |  22 October 1937 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.7/10 from 970 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 7 critic

A Polish countess becomes Napoleon Bonaparte's mistress at the urging of Polish leaders, who feel she could influence him to make Poland independent.


, (uncredited)
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A wife neglected by her husband, a medical researcher in China, falls in love with a dashing diplomatic attaché.

Director: Richard Boleslawski
Stars: Greta Garbo, Herbert Marshall, George Brent
Anna Karenina (1935)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The married Anna Karenina falls in love with Count Vronsky despite her husband's refusal to grant a divorce, and both must contend with the social repercussions.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Greta Garbo, Fredric March, Freddie Bartholomew
Camille (1936)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A Parisian courtesan must choose between the young man who loves her and the callous baron who wants her, even as her own health begins to fail.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Greta Garbo, Robert Taylor, Lionel Barrymore
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Queen Christina of Sweden is a popular monarch who is loyal to her country. However, when she falls in love with a Spanish envoy, she must choose between the throne and the man she loves.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Stars: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Ian Keith
Anna Christie I (1930)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young woman reunites with her estranged father and falls in love with a sailor, but struggles to tell them about her dark past.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Greta Garbo, Charles Bickford, George F. Marion
Mata Hari (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A semi-fictionalized account of the life of Mata Hari, an exotic dancer who was accused of spying for Germany during World War I.

Director: George Fitzmaurice
Stars: Greta Garbo, Ramon Novarro, Lionel Barrymore
Emma (1932)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After decades of raising the motherless Smith children, housekeeper Emma Thatcher is faced with resentment when she marries their father.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Marie Dressler, Richard Cromwell, Jean Hersholt
Ninotchka (1939)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A stern Russian woman sent to Paris on official business finds herself attracted to a man who represents everything she is supposed to detest.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Budapest bar entertainer Zara is a discontented alcoholic who is pursued by many men but lives with novelist Carl Salter. A strange man (Tony) shows up on Salter's estate claiming that Zara... See full summary »

Director: George Fitzmaurice
Stars: Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Erich von Stroheim
Romance (1930)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Young Harry is in love and wants to marry an actress, much to the displeasure of his family. Harry thinks that Bishop Armstrong knows nothing about love so Armstrong tells him the story of ... See full summary »

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Greta Garbo, Lewis Stone, Gavin Gordon
Adventure | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Captain Drummond becomes a prisoner when he intents to protect a beautiful heiress of an espionage organization.

Director: James P. Hogan
Stars: Ray Milland, Guy Standing, Heather Angel
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

While at a ski lodge, Larry Blake sees instructor Karin Borg and decides to sign up for private lessons. The next thing he knows, she is Mrs. Blake. When he announces that he is going back ... See full summary »

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Constance Bennett


Complete credited cast:
Alan Marshal ...
Capt. d'Ornano
Henry Stephenson ...
Count Anastas Walewski
Paul Lachinski (as Leif Erikson)
Maria Ouspenskaya ...
Countess Pelagia Walewska
C. Henry Gordon ...
Claude Gillingwater ...
Stephan (Marie's servant)
Vladimir Sokoloff ...
Dying soldier
Grand Marshal George Duroc
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Raymond Butler ...
Minor Role


After a brief informal meeting two months earlier when they were impressed with each other, Countess Marie Walewska formally meets Napoleon Bonaparte at a ball in Warsaw. When Napoleon notes her husband is three times her age, and as he is taken with her charms, he unsuccessfully tries to seduce her. She ignores his frequent letters and flowers until a few grim Polish leaders led by Senator Malachowski urge her to give into his desires as a personal sacrifice in order to save Poland. She goes to him despite the humiliation of her husband, who leaves for Rome to annul their marriage. They are extremely happy for a while; Napoleon divorces childless Empress Josephine and Marie eventually becomes pregnant. She is about to tell Napoleon about her baby when he tells her he decided to marry Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria. He explains it will be a political marriage to insure his future son could rule securely with Hapsburg blood in him. It will not affect their relationship, he says, ... Written by Arthur Hausner <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Mightiest! See more »


Drama | History | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 October 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Beloved  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,732,000 (estimated)


$2,141,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film lost more money for MGM than any other of its films during the period from 1920 to 1949. See more »


Countess Pelagia Walewska: Who are you?
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte: I am Napoleon!
Countess Pelagia Walewska: Napoleon? Napoleon who?
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte: Hmm? Bonaparte!
Countess Pelagia Walewska: Napoleon Bonaparte? What kind of name is that? What nationality are you?
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte: Corsican by birth. French by adoption. Emperor by achievement.
Countess Pelagia Walewska: So, you are an Emperor, are you? What are you Emperor of?
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte: Emperor of France, madame.
Countess Pelagia Walewska: Hee, hee, hee. So you are Emperor of France. And my very good friend, His Majesty, King Louis Sixteenth abdicated in your honor, I suppose?
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte: Well, he didn't know it at the time but in a sense he did, madame.
See more »


Featured in Garbo (2005) See more »


1812 Overture
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Napoleon's Polish Girlfriend
19 November 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

What was Greta Garbo's greatest film? I suppose most people would opt for CAMILLE, ANNA KARENINA (the sound version), QUEEN Christina, or NINOTCHKA. But I feel that CONQUEST may be the only major film in her career that she ended up being dominated by her co-star. It isn't that she doesn't act, or that Clarence Brown (her favorite sound film director) did not do what he could to show her to advantage. It is that Charles Boyer is a very fine actor, and he is playing one of the leading figures of history. Boyer is Napoleon Bonaparte, and he is fantastically good in the role, showing the childlike hesitation and fascination with simple things that mingled with his military and political genius (and growing egomania). My favorite moment in the film is when Boyer first dances with Garbo, and his clumsiness is actually quite charming.

Garbo could not compete with this character. Marie Walewski may have sacrificed all for her Poland (briefly Napoleon did create a Duchy of Warsaw out of fragments of the Poland that had been destroyed by Prussia, Austria, and Russia), but she did not do all that badly as the Emperor's mistress. She did not succeed Josephine as Empress (she could give no political advantage to Napoleon if they had married) but what advantage did Napoleon's second wife, Marie Theresa of Austria, get out of it - they married in 1809, had one sickly son (who died in 1831 as Duke of Reichstadt), and in 1815 the Emperor was defeated for the second and final time - her husband's empire was finally gone. So we are left looking at that fascinating man of destiny. He at least keeps our attention.

One problem that I have with the film - Reginald Owen is very good as Talleyrand, but in 1815 (at the time of Waterloo) he was not an adviser of Napoleon. In fact, with Joseph Fouche, they were doing their best to undermine the Emperor's attempt to return to power. He certainly would not have supported the creation of a new grand army to confront the Bourbons and the Allies. Yet even with this error, I have to admit that one of my favorite moments in the film is when Napoleon, after a discussion of military strategy with Talleyrand, throws his pen down on the table on a map, and it ("miraculously") lands pointing on the portion of the map where Belgium is, at Waterloo. A corny bit of business, but quite well done.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
A must DVD realease marcin_kukuczka
Discuss Conquest (1937) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: