7 user 5 critic

Napoleon and Samantha (1972)

Two young children, who, rather than part with an old pet lion who was once a circus performer, go on a perilous mountain trek to stay with a recluse friend.


Bernard McEveety


Stewart Raffill
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Michael Douglas ... Danny
Will Geer ... Grandpa
Arch Johnson ... Chief of Police
Johnny Whitaker ... Napoleon
Jodie Foster ... Samantha
Henry Jones ... Mr. Gutteridge
Zamba ... Major the Lion
Vito Scotti ... The Clown
John Crawford ... Desk Sergeant
Mary Wickes ... Clerk
Ellen Corby ... Gertrude
Rex Holman ... Mark
Claude Johnson ... Gary
John Lupton ... Pete


11-year old Napoleon lives with his grandfather and has a good friend who is a circus clown; Napoleon takes care of his pet lion, Major, when he returns to Europe. But after Napoleon's grandfather dies, he and his best friend, Samantha, run off with Major. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Two runaways and a guardian lion lost in the wilderness... AN INCREDIBLE ADVENTURE! See more »


Adventure | Drama


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Jodie Foster was attacked by one of the lions and carried briefly in its mouth during the filming of this movie, and still has the scars from the attack. When she appears naked in certain films, she is photographed from specific angles to conceal the scars. See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy! (1998) See more »

User Reviews

A cool and intriguing concept, just not fulfilled one bit
6 August 2020 | by r96skSee all my reviews

A waste.

I appreciate the darker story tone that 'Napoleon and Samantha' attempts to provide, sadly none of it really sticks and it comes out as a slow paced, dull would-be adventure.

The cast features two very familiar names - Michael Douglas and Jodie Foster. The latter doesn't have much to do, while Douglas plays an oddly written character. Johnny Whitaker, fresh off the lovely 'The Biscuit Eater', is alright. Will Geer's role has a lot of heart, if not much else.

They try to cram so many different elements into this, to the point it feels overcrowded and unrefined. There's a lion in the film, for practically no reason whatsoever. As well as unexplored plot lines and characters. Without wanting to give anything away, it's all very uneven.

A cool and intriguing concept, just not fulfilled one bit. Disappointing.

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

5 July 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Napoleon ja Samantha See more »

Filming Locations:

Canyon City, Oregon, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »

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