Facing the decline of everything he has worked to obtain, conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte and his army confront the British at the Battle of Waterloo.

Director:

(as Sergei Bondarchuk)

Writers:

(story and screenplay), (screenplay) (as Sergei Bondarchuk) | 1 more credit »
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Won 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
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Rupert Davies ...
Gordon
...
La Bedoyere
...
Drouot
Ivo Garrani ...
...
De Lancey
...
Ponsonby
Sergo Zakariadze ...
Blucher (as Serghej Zakhariadze)
Terence Alexander ...
Andrea Checchi ...
Sauret
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Storyline

After defeating France and imprisoning Napoleon on Elba, ending two decades of war, Europe is shocked to find Napoleon has escaped and has caused the French Army to defect from the King back to him. The best of the British generals, the Duke of Wellington, beat Napolean's best generals in Spain and Portugal, but has never faced Napoleon. Wellington stands between Napoleon with a makeshift Anglo-Allied army and the Prussians. A Napoleon victory will plunge Europe back into a long term war. An allied victory could bring long term peace to Europe. The two meet at Waterloo where the fate of Europe will be decided. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Men, the Battle, The Glory, The World Will Remember Forever See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

|

Release Date:

29 October 1970 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Battle of Waterloo  »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Soldiers of the Red Army were used as extras to portray the British army. They panicked repeatedly and scattered during the filming of some of the cavalry charges. Attempts to reassure them by marking the closest approach of the horses with white tape similarly failed, and the scene was cut. See more »

Goofs

As the camera pulls back and then upwards towards the right, in the first establishing shot of the British army after the sun has risen on June 18 (the day of the battle, with Hougoumont in the background), the shadow of the camera crew can be briefly seen on the cannon that it pans over. See more »

Quotes

[Historical quote]
Duke of Wellington: [referring to his army] I don't know what they'll do to the enemy; but, by God, they frighten me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Exquisite for its focus alone
17 November 2000 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

The problem most war movies have, especially if they depict one battle, is the addition of extraneous sub-plots. I suppose the film makers think a broader audience will appreciate a movie more if there's an ordinary fellow shoved in that we can follow, and a love interest . . . Perhaps this view is valid. "Waterloo" comes dangerously on the brink of that pitfall in an early scene, but quickly backs up and focuses on who we really need to know to understand the battle: Napoleon and Wellington. Christopher Plummer was born to play Wellington, and he underplays the part beautifully, so that you know what he's thinking by the flick of an eyebrow or the corner of his mouth. Steiger looks like the older Napoleon, and he tends to chew the scenery, but Napoleon flew into unrestrained rages.

The movie does an admirable job of doing what so many lesser war movies don't: it gives you a good idea of what's going on in the field. If you pay attention, you won't be at a loss for the strategy or tactics.

Furthermore, the way it was shot has kept it from aging. It doesn't look like a "spectacle" from the '50s or '60s -- and though it employs a few of the poor film-making choices of its time that late-sixties film makers thought were so cool but which turned out so confusing and easily dated -- it doesn't seem dated at all.

The script has a peculiarity that might well have destroyed it: the writers seem to have excavated every famous quote from Napoleon, Wellington, et al, and shoved them all into the dialogue; and, amazingly, it isn't a distraction.

The worst problem the film has as a whole is its tendency to try to duplicate famous paintings by Meissonier, Lady Butler, and others; sometimes this works, giving the color tones we have come to expect of the period from those very artworks. Occasionally, it's distracting.

There are a few very rough cuts that look pretty bad. But the movie originally was more than four hours long, and the American release suffers from somewhat poor editing and splicing. Surely it's time to bring a full (and wide-screen) release to home video?

However, if you like your historical war movies diluted with love stories and fictional characters, rather than having the real brains behind the battles at center stage, you'll probably be bored to tears by it. If you want as good a recreation of a famous battle as you can probably get, this movie's for you.


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