A notable historical figure, Napoleon Bonaparte is considered to be one of the greatest generals in military history. Through Ridley Scott’s ‘Napoleon,’ we see his ruthless tactics on the battlefield, his rise to become the first Emperor of France, his relationship with Josephine, and the decisive battle that led to Napleon’s downfall.
“He came from nothing. He conquered everything.”
2 hr 38 minNov 22nd, 2023
Where Can I Watch ‘Napoleon’?
The movie held its premiere at Salle Pleyel in Paris on November 14, 2023. Although the film is set for an Apple TV+ debut later this year, it was released exclusively in theaters on November 22nd for a limited run.
With the film’s runtime of 2 hours and 38 minutes, some viewers may want to enjoy ‘Napoleon’ from the comfort of their homes. Luckily, the historical war epic is now available to rent or purchase on VOD platforms such as Apple TV, Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, and Vudu. Prices range from $19.99 for rental or $24.99 for purchase.
There is no confirmed date for when ‘Napoleon’ will stream on Apple TV+.
Recreating the Battle Scenes
To recreate the battle scenes, Ridley Scott worked with long time collaborator and cinematographer Dariusz Wolski (‘The Last Duel’, ‘House of Gucci’). Crafting epic battle scenes such as the Battle of Austerlitz and the Battle of Waterloo required extensive planning and coordinating on many fronts.
“You’re basically creating a huge event. You have army personnel, you have extras trained to behave like soldiers from the 19th century, you have horse people, then we have armor, you have professional effects people, explosions, then you have main characters. You basically design the whole battle,” said Wolski.
While some CGI was utilized, the majority of the battle scenes used practical effects such as large soldier formations, cavalry runs, and canons without lethal ammunition rounds. Scenes are shot with over eight cameras simultaneously.
Napoleon and Josephine
This may be a war epic, but for Ridley Scott, it was also important to show the curious and often times, volatile relationship between Napoleon and his long-time love, Josephine (Vanessa Kirby). Napoleon may be relentless and confident on the battlefield, but when it comes to his relationship with Josephine, he is insecure and awkward.
Opposite Napoleon, Josephine was quiet and observant, alluring and flirtatious. Their dynamic shifted constantly. Prior to filming, Kirby traveled to Josephine’s home in Malmaison as a part of her extensive research. In an interview with Deadline, she spoke about the fear of taking on the role initially:
“I love most taking on things that scare me. This was scary just because it’s hard to play a real person, and it’s a different kind of process. You’re not inventing their history, their lives, their childhood, their background, and their psyche. You are trying to accurately embody someone that really has lived, and lived such an extraordinary life that’s really, really far from any of ours or anything that I could relate it to personally.”
Four Hour Director’s Cut
The movie sits at a hefty 2 hours and 38 minutes, but there’s a chance we’ll see a four hours and 10 minutes Director’s Cut once the film is released on streaming. During an interview with Total Film, Scott mentions the extended cut will head to Apple TV+:
“I’m working on it. It was four [hours] 10 [minutes] this morning. And so what will happen is, we’ll screen [the theatrical cut] first with Sony, and then it has its run, and then the perfect thing is that [the director’s cut] goes to streaming, and we have four hours 10 minutes.”
Watch the official trailers for ‘Napoleon’ below:
The official synopsis for ‘Napoleon’ is below:
‘Napoleon’ is a spectacle-filled action epic that details the checkered rise and fall of the iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, played by Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix. Against a stunning backdrop of large-scale filmmaking orchestrated by legendary director Ridley Scott, the film captures Bonaparte’s relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine, showcasing his visionary military and political tactics against some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed.
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