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Conquest (1937)

Approved  |   |  Drama, History, Romance  |  22 October 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 962 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.


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


The Love Story of Marie Walewska 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?


The lavish ballroom set where Napoleon dances with Marie Walewska is actually identical to that used in Maytime (1937) - the Jeanette McDonald /Nelson Eddy operetta. It has simply been redressed and given a different floor covering and shot from a different angle. 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 »


Referenced in It Ain't Half Hot Mum: Class of 1945 (1980) See more »


1812 Overture
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
See more »

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User Reviews

Charles Boyer's Napoleon Bonaparte, the gorgeous sets and costumes, and Greta Garbo's exquisite beauty are good reasons to see this film.
5 March 1999 | by (Pine Grove, California) – See all my reviews

Some scenes in this film drag on too long and others are too wordy, but I thoroughly enjoyed Charles Boyer's performance as Napoleon Bonaparte. His slight accent accentuates believability. The same can be said about Greta Garbo's slight accent, but she is so stunningly beautiful I hardly noticed. She is also excellent in her last dramatic performance. There are two great scenes to watch for: the opening attack of the cossacks, riding their horses inside the stately home of Garbo and Henry Stephenson and wrecking it; and the ball at the palace in Warsaw, filled with noblemen and noblewomen adorned in gorgeous period clothing. (The gowns were designed by Adrian). Both crowd scenes are handled very well by director Clarence Brown. I was a little disappointed in the limited screenplay. Somehow, when I think of Napoleon I think of a grand epic such as "War and Peace," and not just his personal life. The only part of his war life you see is a brief scene of his retreat from Moscow in the harsh Russian winter. I was impressed by Napoleon's vision of a United States of Europe. He would have been delighted at the introduction of the Eurodollar this year.

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