8.1/10
6,382
60 user 41 critic

Napoleon (1927)

Napoléon vu par Abel Gance (original title)
A film about the French general's youth and early military career.

Director:

Abel Gance

Writer:

Abel Gance
Reviews
4 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Greed (1924)
Drama | Thriller | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Gibson Gowland, Zasu Pitts, Jean Hersholt
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young American soldier witnesses the horrors of the Great War.

Directors: King Vidor, George W. Hill
Stars: John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Hobart Bosworth
The Wheel (1923)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (who Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally ... See full summary »

Director: Abel Gance
Stars: Gabriel de Gravone, Pierre Magnier, Georges Térof
The Crowd (1928)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The life of a man and woman together in a large, impersonal metropolis through their hopes, struggles and downfalls.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Eleanor Boardman, James Murray, Bert Roach
Foolish Wives (1922)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A con artist masquerades a Russian nobility and attempts to seduce the wife of an American diplomat.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Rudolph Christians, Miss DuPont, Maude George
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Arch-criminal Dr. Mabuse sets out to make a fortune and run Berlin. Detective Wenk sets out to stop him.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Aud Egede-Nissen, Gertrude Welcker
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A large-scale view on the events of 1917 in Russia, when the monarchy was overthrown.

Directors: Grigoriy Aleksandrov, Sergei M. Eisenstein
Stars: Boris Livanov, Nikolay Popov, Vasili Nikandrov
Adventure | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A medieval love story with lots of adventures. The times are troubled - there's a revolt of peasants going on. To secure its safety a monastery chases for a relics of a holy Brigitte. A ... See full summary »

Director: Grigori Kromanov
Stars: Aleksandr Goloborodko, Igrida Andrina, Elza Radzina
Kevade (1969)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Semi-autobiographical story by Oskar Luts about friendship, love and life in a small Estonian country boarding school in the late 1800s. Followed by Suvi (1976) and Sügis (1990).

Director: Arvo Kruusement
Stars: Arno Liiver, Riina Hein, Aare Laanemets
Certificate: Passed Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, Mae Marsh
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A reedited version of Abel Gance's silent masterpiece 'Napoléon vu par Abel Gance', with sound effects added, dialogue post-dubbed, and with new scenes filmed with additional new cast ... See full summary »

Director: Abel Gance
Stars: Albert Dieudonné, Gina Manès, Damia
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An aging doorman, after being fired from his prestigious job at a luxurious Hotel is forced to face the scorn of his friends, neighbours and society.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Albert Dieudonné ... Napoléon Bonaparte
Vladimir Roudenko Vladimir Roudenko ... Napoléon Bonaparte enfant
Edmond Van Daële ... Maximilien Robespierre
Alexandre Koubitzky Alexandre Koubitzky ... Georges-Jacques Danton
Antonin Artaud ... Jean-Paul Marat
Abel Gance ... Louis Saint-Just
Gina Manès ... Joséphine de Beauharnais
Suzanne Bianchetti ... La reine Marie-Antoinette
Marguerite Gance Marguerite Gance ... Charlotte Corday
Yvette Dieudonné Yvette Dieudonné ... Élisa Bonaparte
Philippe Hériat Philippe Hériat ... Antonio Salicetti
Pierre Batcheff ... Le général Lazare Hoche
Eugénie Buffet Eugénie Buffet ... Laetizia Bonaparte
Acho Chakatouny Acho Chakatouny ... Pozzo di Borgo
Nicolas Koline Nicolas Koline ... Tristan Fleuri
Edit

Storyline

A massive six-hour biopic of Napoleon, tracing his career from his schooldays (where a snowball fight is staged like a military campaign), his flight from Corsica, through the French Revolution (where a real storm is intercut with a political storm) and the Terror, culminating in his triumphant invasion of Italy in 1797 (the film stops there because it was intended to be part one of six, but director Abel Gance never raised the money to make the other five). The film's legendary reputation is due to the astonishing range of techniques that Gance uses to tell his story, culminating in the final twenty-minute triptych sequence, which alternates widescreen panoramas with complex multiple- image montages projected simultaneously on three screens. Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Abel Gance's 1927 Masterpiece [reissue]


Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

France

Release Date:

17 February 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Abel Gance's Napoleon See more »

Edit

Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$39,448
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD) | (2000 restoration) | (1981 restored) | (cinémathèque française print) | (Blu-Ray digital restoration)

Sound Mix:

Dolby (1981 re-release)| Mono | Silent

Color:

Black and White | Black and White (tinted) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Abel Gance had cameramen shooting behind-the-scenes footage for nearly all of the production. Most of this still exists and appears in Kevin Brownlow's documentary, Abel Gance: The Charm of Dynamite (1968). See more »

Goofs

The French troops attacking Toulon and the Army of Italy use flags with triangles in corners, the pattern introduced in 1804. In 1793, the pattern was based around a large central cross with the regimental number surrounded by a wreath, with different patterns and colours in the four corners (one flag similar to this is seen carried by the Army of Italy). See more »

Alternate Versions

There are apparently at least 19 different versions of this film, starting with the original 6-hours cut (in a "triptych" format, requiring three projectors on three screens, called Polyvision). It has been shown in various formats and different running times, including a 1934 version re-edited by director Abel Gance and featuring an added soundtrack. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Labyrinth (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

The Thrill of Being In Love (Love Theme of Napoleon and Josephine)
Music by Carmine Coppola
Lyrics by Italia Coppola (USA version)
UK version: score by Carl Davis (based largely on works by Beethoven)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Excellent -- but where's the DVD?
6 January 2003 | by Bry-2See all my reviews

I saw this back in '81 or '82, on the Big Screen at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, with Carmine Coppola conducting a live orchestra -- there has never been anything like that in all my movie-going experience! The closest that's come since was _Intolerance_, restored, with another live orchestra performing under the baton of the composer, Gillian Anderson (no, not the one from the X-Files). That, too, was an occasion to remember ... but where is Napoleon on DVD?

As many other reviewers have said, Napoleon was a relevatory experience. Certainly, other films to that point had used most of the devices Gance employed so brilliantly (except, of course, his three-screen-wide "Polyvision"), but then sound came in and the requirements of the microphone killed the recently mobilized camera. The camera became very static for at least the next ten years of films -- dynamic camera movements only returned when sound mixing came in to being, and scenes could be shot MOS (mit out sound), with foley and overdubbing replacing the missed sounds.

For this reason, Napoleon is important to see -- as a technical achievement. But Gance's artistry wasn't limited to gimmicks. His pacing, editing, and direction of the actors (including Dieudonne as Nappy -- looking amazingly Rod-Stewart-like) is excellent as well.

Highly recommended -- and when the DVD comes out -- hopefully, with the fuller, five-hour restoration, and Coppola's music on one track, with a reconstruction of the original music on another (and perhaps Gillian Anderson has a score of her own to share?) -- you'll owe it to yourself, as a student of Film, to see it, over and over again.


21 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 60 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed