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First-rate acting and beautifully shot, with the visual power of great paintings. --The Hollywood Reporter
Captivating! An engaging mystery and study of a brilliant figure. --Philadelphia Inquirer
- Interviews with Antoine De Caunes and Philippe Torreton
- The Legend of Napoleon
- Photo Gallery
Top Customer Reviews
Opening in 1816 Napoleon (the brilliant Philippe Torreton) is imprisoned on the island of St. Helena along with his most trusted supporters and various citizens who elected to follow him into exile - with an eye on Napoleon's fortune when he dies. There is a new British Governor appointed, Hudson Lowe (Richard E. Grant), who is steely and determined to prevent Napoleon's escape and yes, even protect the British government from the costly extended prison expenditures a prolonged exile will produce. Lowe appoints Basil Heathcote (Jay Rodan) to sit in watch of the Emperor/General only to come under the spell of the mysterious Napoleon and the spell of a young girl Betsy Balcombe (Siobhan Hewlett) who is in love with Napoleon. Others among Napoleon's party include the Montholons (Stephane Freiss and Elsa Zylberstein) the latter of whom Napoleon keeps as his mistress and impregnates, Cipriani (Bruno Putzulu) his butler and half brother, Ali (Igor Skreblin) his bodyguard, Marshal Bertand (Roschdy Zem) his aide de camp, among others. Napoleon's self perception as the Emperor makes him unavailable to close scrutiny and rumors fly about his proposed escapes and about the British idea of poisoning him.Read more ›
This is a mystery which raises anew the question of who is buried in Napoleon's Tomb. The idea behind the movie is that Cipriani, Bonaparte's valet and half brother, died himself of a hereditary stomach cancer, only to ultimately end up in the Emperor's tomb.
This all happens by sleight of hand and a little bribe to Hudson Lowe. Once the deception is complete, the perfectly healthy Napoleon escapes to Louisiana and lives till his final day with Betsy Balcombe, the real life niece of Hudson Lowe.
To the point, true or false, the story is a very interesting mystery movie worthy of watching. It is excellent cinema. It has good acting and excellent dialog. True, false or indifferent - the movie is worth the money and the time to watch it. I recommend it strongly to the thinking movie fan who wants an interesting topic to discuss over cocktails or wine and cheese.
Today, the real life mystery can be addressed very easily by forensic gene testing. The emperor's clothes and other personal items are plentiful and the body is conveniently located in the center of Les Invalides. They can be easily matched or distinguished.
I do not know what the French are willing to consider concerning this prospect. I prefer myself to keep the prospect alive that Napoleon did win his last great battle. It makes the reading of the story of the Age after Waterloo all the more exciting because it ends in a story of final victory -- not only of the British and the Age, but of the spirit of man.
Production: This was produced in France, and is half in English, half in French with English subtitles. Any lines that would have been spoken in French (i.e., those of Napoleon and his "court" at St. Helene) are indeed in French. Lines spoken between Englishmen are in English. There are a few lines between Napoleon and Cipriani spoken in their native Italian. Though this requires a bit of back-and-forth between audible lines and subtitles for those not familiar with French, it does really add something to the authenticity of the production. Incidentally, the uniforms are also well-done in terms of historical accuracy.
Storyline: A bit of a "what-if" here. Plausible, though I am not sure how accurate. This film does not present itself as a history, but more of a possible explanation thereof. Its somewhat fictionalized nature does not, however, distract from the enjoyment for those who are interested in the true history of the period.
In summary, this was definitely worth watching, and for the avid Napoleonic fan, a wonderful addition to the movie collection!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like this movie. they play with the legend that Napoleon didn't die but escaped. The soldiers costuming is spectacular!Published 1 month ago by jamie
A brilliant alternative ending to Napoleon's life; as he outsmarts his British captors.Published 10 months ago by Jose Gomez-Rivera
Not the best film, but like any good French film it leaves you wondering if he possibly did not die in exile, but escaped. Read morePublished on May 2, 2013 by Virginia L Thompson
I really enjoyed this movie. The setting was wonderful, and I thought Phillippe Torreton did an excellent and convincing portrayal of Napoleon as a brilliant, proud and arrogant... Read morePublished on November 11, 2012 by Judith
This movie is French with English subtitles. It is about Napoleon being on St Helena and befriending a girl called Betsy Belcombe. Read morePublished on October 30, 2012 by Ms. Angela Elkington
This is well acted, well written and makes you hope the ending is true. A gotcha to the petty bureaucrats of all governments who think they have won a war, and can impose their... Read morePublished on October 21, 2012 by happy
A fun fantasy about Napoleon on Saint Helena. For those following this period, Antoine de Caunes' film is a worthwhile distraction, although it belies the huge mobilisation in... Read morePublished on June 14, 2012 by Edward B. Crutchley
MONSIEUR N. (2003) with Richard Grant.
A French version of the wacky Oliver Stone conspiracy picture that posits what REALLY happened to Napoleon Bonaparte on St... Read more
This vedio i purchased i now have two in my possesion to whom ever i loan this vedio
they come back and ask me where was he buried. I laugh what do you think.