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 <email@example.com>
The picture's opening credits don't start until about the 12:37 minute mark. See more »
The opening text states that "the combined armies of Austria, Russia, Prussia, and England" had recently defeated Napoleon at Leipzig. However, England did not participate in that battle. At the time of the battle, Wellington had just started an invasion of southern France (Leipzig is hundreds of miles away, in the middle of modern Germany). Interestingly, Sweden did fight at Leipzig (although their army was considerably smaller than each of the Austrian, Russian, and Prussian armies), but is not mentioned. See more »
[Napoleon is watching the charge of the Scots Greys]
Those men on grey horses are terrifying.
They are the noblest cavalry in Europe; and the worst led.
That may be; that may be, but we will match them with our lancers.
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According to an article written by the film's editor and associate producer Richard C. Meyer, the longest version is the 132 minute version. This has been confirmed by Vladimir Dorsal, the film's First Assistant and later the head of Mosfilm in Moscow. He says that they only have the 132m version in their vaults and no longer 4 hours version ever existed. The myth may derive from an earlier part of Meyer's article when he states that the rough cut was 4 hours long - not unusual for a film of this scope and scale. But after much discussion the present length was agreed on. He also says he stupidly didn't make a dupe of this rough cut, a usual process in post production. So this 'cut' will never see the light of day. It is clear from the cast list that many characters were cut. The film was planned as a Road Show release but by 1970 the practice had lost favor with the studios. Columbia Pictures also shortened CROMWELL for the same reason. Richard Heffer who play a major featured role in the film says the script as filmed was much longer than the film that came out that many of the cast had huge chunks of their roles deleted. See more »
I only discovered Waterloo a couple of years ago and that was after buying the DVD for £4 in Asda! What a bargain buy it turned out to be, a true classic in every sense of the word.
The two main protagonists Napoleon and Wellington are portrayed superbly by Rod Steiger and Christopher Plummer respectively, as we get a really detailed insight into both men's characters. These 2 generals had a special rivalry in 19th century military history and the way real quotes are dropped in at certain points during the movie is top class. Napoleon was the man to beat in 1815 and Wellington had his eyes very much set on that prize, this is well exemplified just before the battle commences when a soldier asks Wellington to fire a cannon shot when Napoleon rides into range, to which Wellington replies somewhat aghast "Certainly not, commanders of armies have something better to do than to fire at one another". Wellington knew this would be the battle that would make or break him, and he wanted Napoleon there operating at his best.
Another quote from the movie which embodies the respect and honour associated with this period of military history; Wellington is observing the French preparations for the commencement of battle, watching over the pomp and ritual somewhat contemptuously but also in admiration, "Dramatic fellows, these French, music and banners, quite beautiful."
As far as I am aware the historical attention to detail is second to none with all the main areas included such as the lead-up to the battle at Ligny and Quatre Bras. Furthermore the battle appears to go exactly how historians would have wanted with plenty of emphasis put on every area of the battlefield. Sometimes in Britain and among Anglo-Saxons the battle is simply described as the Brits beating the French, however the movie sticks to historical facts and shows it was very much an Allied army that won at Waterloo with only something like 20%-30% of it comprising of British soldiers. The rest of the Allied force was made up of Prussians, Hessians, Hanoverians, Dutch, Belgians, Danes. This was very much a broad European coalition.
Another great thing about this film is that even though Bonaparte was essentially the 'tyrant' we get such an insight into his character and into Bonaparte 'the man' that you feel sorry that he loses the battle in the end up.
The battle scenes are truly lavish, a real epic of a film.
Top top drawer.
For me its a 10 out of 10 !
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