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The Emperor's New Clothes (2001)

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During Napoleon's exile on St. Helena, some loyalists hire a look-alike to swap places with the deposed emperor: while the impostor lives in luxury on the island, the real Napoleon returns to Paris in order to retake the throne.



(novel), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Napoleon Bonaparte / Sergeant Eugene Lenormand
Nicole 'Pumpkin' Truchaut
Dr. Lambert
Tom Watson ...
Louis Marchand
Sergeant Justin Bommel
Bob Mason ...
Captain Nicholls
Russell Dixon ...
Dr. Quinton
Papa Nicholas
Niall O'Brien ...


Napoleon, exiled, devises a plan to retake the throne. He'll swap places with commoner Eugene Lenormand, sneak into Paris, then Lenormand will reveal himself and Napoleon will regain his throne. Things don't go at all well; first, the journey proves more difficult than expected, but more disastrously, Lenormand enjoys himself too much to reveal the deception. Napoleon adjusts somewhat uneasily to the life of a commoner while waiting, while Lenormand gorges on rich food. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The world's most powerful man is about to fight his greatest battle... between love and glory.


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief language | See all certifications »



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Release Date:

7 December 2001 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Las nuevas ropas del emperador  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$7,474 (USA) (14 June 2002)


$569,435 (USA) (4 October 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ian Holm played Napoleon twice before, in Time Bandits (1981) and Napoleon and Love (1974). See more »


[first lines]
Napoleon Bonaparte: No, that's not it. That's not right. Let me tell you what really happened...
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Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Vastly entertaining and thoughtful whimsy...Ian Holm once again demonstrates his range...being both hilarious and hauntingly human.

Magical arthouse gem (released here on Paramount's "Classic" label) which deserves a wider release...and rescue from the curse of small theater presentation...(I saw it improperley masked on a tiny screen which appeared to have a very vociferous nest of fledglings behind it...and the film still glowed...my first raves have to be for the superb photography and inspired digital wizardy which made the audience's journey back to 1821 so enchantingly real). Very clever and charming script manages to manipulate the myths, legends, and cliches surrounding Historys favorite mini meglomaniac and find a spark of humanity missing from most movie representations (except for Abel Gance's masterpiece...which is beautifully saluted in this movie's final snowy scene). Ian Holm sinks into the role of the exciled emperor and the burlesque turn of the galley swabber recruited to impersonate him with equal aplomp...(to be honest I would have relished a bit more of the impersonators delicious descent into debauchery). Excellent supporting performances, beautiful score, and unique unsentimental portrait of the period (with unvarnished representations of 1820's undertaking, hygine, and nontreatment of mental illness). A film to treasure if just for the gentle subtlety of it's central romance...including a tryst on a rooftop overlooking Paris during a thunderstorm which ranks as one of the loveliest shots in years. A sweet smart little gem which belongs in the collection of every cinema connosuire

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