From 1769 to 1821, Napoléon Bonaparte's life, loves and exceptional destiny but as seen through the eyes of Talleyrand, the cynic and ironic politician, who once was the Emperor of France's Minister of Foreign Affairs.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeanne Boitel ...
Madame de Dino
Le vicomte Paul de Barras
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Le général Duroc
Eléonore Denuelle
Clément Duhour ...
Cosetta Greco ...
Elisa Baccioli
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Orson Welles è Hudson Lowe in questa mega produzione cinematografica che racconta scorci ed episodi della vita di Napoleone. Written by rosebud6

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama | War


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Release Date:

25 March 1955 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Napoleon  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Orson Welles: as Sir Hudson Lowe, Napoléon Bonaparte's jailer on Saint Helena Island. See more »


The narration by the character of Talleyrand is purportedly spoken in 1821-1822, shortly after Napoléon Bonaparte's death. However, in the last scene Talleyrand describes Napoleon's reburial which happened in 1840, even though Talleyrand himself died in 1838. See more »


Bonaparte: Joseph, I've just been born! Goodbye you British! Goodbye!
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Plaisir d'amour
Music by Jean-Paul Martini
Lyrics from a poem by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian
Sung by Luis Mariano
See more »

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User Reviews

Guitry's best color film?
23 June 2008 | by (France) – See all my reviews

It appears that most of the comments here are based on viewing of the ridiculous Showtime American edition, which cuts out, if I am not mistaken, more than half the film, is dubbed and, apparently substitutes narration for dialogue, of which there is plenty, as well as the narration, ostensibly Talleyrand relating Napoleon's story on the day of his death, framing the historical episodes. At a little over three hours, this is a spectacular epic, and I recommend heartily seeing the French edition (an excellent print in gorgeous color, if a little dirty by American re-mastering standards). It looks gorgeous -- much more interestingly shot, designed and lighted than Guitry's other color epics, "Si Versailles m'etait conte" and "Si Paris nous etait conte," both of which have a very disappointing, glaring flat look. Many interesting star turns, notably a weird Beethoven by Erich von Stroheim and Orson Welles as Napoleon's jailer on St. Helena, but also some excellent more sustained performances, particularly Michele Morgan as Josephine and Daniel Gelin as the young Napoleon. (As in his earlier "Le destin fabuleux de Desiree Clary", Guitry -- who insists that after Austerlitz Bonaparte became Napoleon, another man entirely -- casts the younger and older Napoleon with two radically different-looking actors.) It's a very enjoyable film, and, if you know French, well worth seeking out in the French edition (no subtitles, unfortunately). The American one is a complete waste of time and money.

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