Published by Streaming Movies Right staff | Blog
"Space I can recover. Time, never."
This quote from Napoleon has stood the test of time, and although he was talking about battle strategies, we think you can apply it to a number of things - including what movies you should spend your time watching.
We've heard on the grapevine that Ridley Scott is working on a new movie about Napoleon Bonaparte, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the short Frenchman. So we thought it would be a good idea to create a guide of the best movies about Napoleon because despite being such an interesting historical character, there actually aren't that many good movies to choose from. But we wanted to make sure that you only watch the very best of the bunch.
We should start by saying that it isn't for want of trying - many directors have tried to get a movie made about Napoleon Bonaparte, including big names such as Stanley Kubrick. But the truth of the matter is this - in many parts of the world, Napoleon just isn't that interesting to them. Napoleon is a huge name in European history, but globally his story isn't as well-known. And because Hollywood tends to control what types of movies get made, it is clear to see why there has been little interest in making movies about this historical figure. The other issue is that there is so much that happened to Napoleon in such a short space of time that many directors have avoided the topic for fear that they wouldn't be able to fit all of the stories in a 2-hour movie.
Now that we've outlined why so few movies have been made about Napoleon, let's look at our favorites that have actually been made and released:
This is a remake of a 60s film on the same topic - it's about a soldier who becomes the Governor of St. Helena and a jailer of Napoleon. The movie is a pretty interesting and entertaining look at the last days of Napoleon, plus it gives you a great history lesson. Also, Kenneth Haigh is excellent as Bonaparte. You can rent this movie via Amazon Prime Video.
This movie is a comedy/drama hybrid, and Ian Colm (Bilbo Baggins) is excellent as Bonaparte. It's quite a silly movie, and definitely not a history lesson like our first pick in this list, but it's a fun time. This is actually the 3rd time that Holm played Napoleon in his career, so he is very comfortable with the role. This movie is from director Alan Taylor, who has done big blockbusters such as the 2nd Thor movie. You can rent this movie via VUDU.
This is not a movie totally about Napoleon, but the whole central story of the film is focused around the advent of the Napoleonic army. John Malkovich plays Wellington in this movie and gives a great performance, and although it's not perfect we still think it is one of the better movies to include Napoleon. You can stream this movie for free via Prime Video with IMDBtv.
So Napoleon isn't really in this movie a huge amount, but the entire plot of the film revolves around an order that he puts into place - following a Republican uprising, Napoleon orders the arrest of all men from a small rural village. This leaves the women without men for 2 years, and they all decide that if any man returns to the village they will all marry him. The film is romantic and is beautifully filmed, and it is also impressive to note that this was the director's debut. It is all apparently based on a true event, making it even more interesting. You can stream this movie via Kanopy.
At almost 3 hours long, this movie is definitely not one to watch if you're looking for a tight and fun 90-minute film. But for anyone who is interested in learning more about Napoleon Bonaparte, and specifically his role in the Battle of Austerlitz, then this is definitely a movie to check out. The battle is generally regarded to be the best victory ever achieved by Napoleon, and one of the most crucial moments in the Napoleonic Wars. Although this might not be the most exciting movie about Napoleon, it is definitely worth watching if you're interested in his history.
As you can see from the above list, there isn't much choice when it comes to movies about Napoleon. However, we're really excited to see Ridley Scott's name attached to a potential film, and we'll be keeping a close eye on that production.