Napoléon (1955 film)

For other uses, see Napoleon (disambiguation).
Directed by Sacha Guitry
Produced by Clément Duhour
Angelo Rizzoli
Written by Sacha Guitry
Starring Daniel Gélin
Raymond Pellegrin
Michèle Morgan
Maria Schell
Sacha Guitry
Music by Jean Françaix
Cinematography Pierre Montazel
Edited by Raymond Lamy
Distributed by Filmsonor
Les Films C.L.M.
Release dates
  • 25 March 1955 (1955-03-25) (France)
Running time
187 minutes
Country Italy
Language French

Napoléon is a 1955 French historical epic film directed by Sacha Guitry that depicts major events in the life of Napoleon.

Napoleon is played by two actors, Daniel Gélin as a young man and Raymond Pellegrin in later life; the switch takes place during a scene at a barber. Director/actor Guitry played the role of Talleyrand, controversial diplomat and first Prime Minister of France, narrating the story from a drawing room as if having just heard of Napoleon's death on the island of Saint Helena in 1821. Guitry had played Talleyrand before, in 1948's Le Diable boiteux. Yves Montand appears as Marshal Lefebvre and Maria Schell as Marie-Louise of Austria. The film also has cameo appearances by a number of notable actors, particularly Erich von Stroheim as Ludwig van Beethoven, and Orson Welles as Napoleon's British jailor, Sir Hudson Lowe.

The English version is a contemporary dub made as part of the original production, but does not run as long as the French version.


The film follows the life of Napoleon from his early life in Corsica to his death at Saint Helena. The film is notable for its use of location shooting for numerous scenes, especially at the French estates of Malmaison and Fontainebleau, the Palace of Versailles, and sites of Napoleonic battles including Austerlitz and Waterloo.


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