9 user 3 critic

Eagle in a Cage (1972)

In 1815, a soldier becomes the Governor of St. Helena, and jailer of Napoleon.


Fielder Cook


Millard Lampell (screenplay)

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Credited cast:
John Gielgud ... Lord Sissal
Ralph Richardson ... Sir Hudson Lowe
Billie Whitelaw ... Madame Bertrand
Kenneth Haigh ... Napoleon Bonaparte
Moses Gunn ... General Gourgaud
Ferdy Mayne ... Count Bertrand
Lee Montague ... Cipriani
Georgina Hale ... Betty Balcombe
Michael Williams ... Dr. O'Meara
Hugh Armstrong ... English soldier
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Athol Coats Athol Coats ... Sentry (as Athol Coates)


In 1815, a soldier becomes the Governor of St. Helena, and jailer of Napoleon.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


War and women were his passions... and no island fortress could cage his lust for power! See more »




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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

25 April 1972 (Poland) See more »

Also Known As:

Ein gewisser General Aparte See more »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Group W,Ramona See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)
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Did You Know?


Napoleon asks a British guard where he did battle. The guard replies, "Egypt, Waterloo, Corsica." The British had not fought at Corsica, by the time Napoleon was on Elba. While the British did have a NAVAL battle in Egypt against the French (August 1798), the soldier would have to be on a naval vessel. The British fought at Waterloo AFTER Napoleon escaped from Elba. See more »


[first lines]
Count Bertrand: Allow me to introduce myself.
Sir Hudson Lowe: That's quite unnecessary. I know who you are.
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Remake of Eagle in a Cage (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

Entertaining and Intriguing Look at Napoleon's Last Days
22 January 2014 | by bayardhilerSee all my reviews

Napoleon Bonaparte. The name inspires awe, wonder, and fascination, or terror, hatred, and villainy, depending on one's point of view. While he may be mostly remembered for his victories, military glory, and ruling of nations, his exile and imprisonment on the island of St. Helena is just as equally intriguing in its own way. 1972's "Eagle in a Cage" is a little seen British movie that explores this, albeit with a little bit of fiction thrown in here and there. It all starts when the fallen Emperor arrives on the desolate rock that will be his home for the rest of his life. Played with a beaming set of confidence by Kenneth Haigh, Napoleon rejects the very notion that he is a prisoner, much to the annoyance of his jailer, Sir Hudson Lowe (Played by the late, great Sir Ralph Richardson). Joining Napoleon is some of his last loyal followers, which include Count Bertrand (Ferdy Mayne), General Gourgaud (Played by Moses Gunn), and Madame Bertrand (the ravishing Billie Whitelaw), wife of the count and Napoleon's one time mistress. Together, they try to make a living under the watchful eyes of the British but it's not long before escape enters Napoleon's mind and it is partly this angle that makes "Eagle" what it is. But it's more than that that makes the movie memorable; in many ways, it's also a study of the frustrations and regrets of people trapped in a dreary existence. For Napoleon, it's his far fall from grace, for Madame Bertrand, her desire to be a mother again, and even for the British jailer, Sir Hudson Lowe, his frustration over not being promoted through the ranks as quickly as those who have connections to the governing elite.

All of this is done impeccably by the actors in their roles, but especially by Kenneth Haigh, who must be congratulated for his role as a legend who's trying to reclaim destiny while romancing and teaching life lessons to a young English girl Betty Balcombe (Georgina Hale), even as his body begins to fail him. The jagged mountains and cliffs of the location shoot also go a long way to invoke the desolate feeling Napoleon and the others must have felt being trapped on that small island that Napoleon himself called in his journal as a boy. Also, it helps to have authentic uniforms of the time period and on this, the production delivers as well. Even a fictional idea of British intrigue to put Napoleon back on the throne helps add some spice to the story (A little performance by the late, great Sir John Gielgud as a British lord trying to implement this little scheme is an added bonus). To sum it up, "Eagle in a Cage" is a film that deserves to have a much wider audience than it does because it tells an excellent story with a little bit of intrigue while giving you a basic history lesson. I don't know if the movie is available on DVD but I do know that is on you tube. So if you are the least bit interested in Napoleon or if you're just looking for a good story, check out "Eagle in Cage" if you get the chance. Also starring Michael Williams as British surgeon Barry O'Meara.

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