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Waterloo [DVD]

Rod Steiger , Christopher Plummer , Sergey Bondarchuk    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
Price: 5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Waterloo [DVD] + Cromwell [DVD] (1970) [2003]
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Product details

  • Actors: Rod Steiger, Christopher Plummer, Orson Welles, Jack Hawkins, Virginia McKenna
  • Directors: Sergey Bondarchuk
  • Writers: Sergey Bondarchuk, H.A.L. Craig, Mario Soldati, Vittorio Bonicelli
  • Producers: Dino De Laurentiis, Richard C. Meyer, Tom Carlile
  • Format: PAL, Widescreen, Surround Sound
  • Language: Finnish, English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Uca Catalogue
  • DVD Release Date: 6 Jun 2005
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004RCO8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,548 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



"A film that will never be equalled for its spectacle and dramatic power" says the stirring trailer on this otherwise sparsely featured DVD. Taking the story of the Napoleonic Wars to Bonaparte's final defeat, Waterloo is an unofficial continuation to director Sergei Bondarchuk's own 70mm super-epic War and Peace (1968). The climactic battle of Waterloo is shown in the second half of the film and re-enacted with such stunning realism by a cast of around 20,000 extras that it looks like documentary footage from history itself (some 20 years later, Gettysburg, 1993, did the same for the American Civil War). Those who hailed the groundbreaking impact of Saving Private Ryan should see Bondarchuk's films, as for sheer scale and intensity--if not bloodiness--they make Spielberg's hit look like an amateur video. Without ever attempting a French accent, Rod Steiger makes a commanding Napoleon, Christopher Plummer a worthy adversary as Wellington, while the supporting cast led by Orson Welles, Jack Hawkins and Virginia McKenna is excellent. The DVD transfer is richly detailed and clear, though the print itself could have done with just a little restoration. Though dated, Abel Glance's Napoleon (1928) remains definitive for many, perhaps explaining why Stanley Kubrick eventually abandoned his planned Napoleon film, instead making the 18th Century period epic Barry Lyndon (1974). --Gary S.Dalkin

Product Description

After his abdication Napoleon Bonaparte (Rod Steiger) is exiled to the island of Elba. However, he escapes to be reunited with his generals and troops, and mounts a last desperate bid for power at the what is now known as the Battle of Waterloo. He has, however, reckoned without the British forces led by Arthur Welsley, the Duke of Wellington, who had just returned from a successful campaign in Spain.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing spectacle 26 May 2004
This is a truly astonishing film. I doubt it could even be attempted today. The number of uniformed extras is astonishing considering the cost of the uniforms involved, especially the beautiful French cavalry and infantry uniforms. The charge of the Scots Grays Cavalry is magnificently filmed, clearly inspired by a famous painting.
The battle is somewhat accurately depicted, insofar as the order of engagements, charges, and skirmishes. Toward the end, however, it becomes confusing, and has obviously been severely edited for time. Other reviewers have stated that the film was originally four hours long. This version is only a little over two hours. I would not have complained had it been a full hour longer, so long as that hour was devoted to accurately depicting the battle, and showing off some of the amazing uniforms, especially of the French cavalry. Frankly, the battle itself seems to have been somewhat shortchanged in this shorter version.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
In the tradition of the cinematic epics like Kubrick's "Spartacus" and Mann's "Fall of the Roman Empire," Bondarchuk's "Waterloo" succeeds in depicting Napoleon's desperate and final bid for power and glory. Steiger, no stranger to roles that have consistently challenged his acting ability, is quite good as the deposed French emperor who narrowly lost his final battle. Orson Welles' appearance as Louis XVIII, is far too brief but most welcome, and Plummer as Lord Wellington is a casting director's dream. Dino de Laurentiis has produced some questionable if not laughable films in the past "King Kong" (1976) and "Flash Gordon" (1980); however, "Waterloo" must be seen as one of his better efforts.

Many critics here at Amazon will applaud the many and well-orchestrated battle scenes--a case-in-point are the great aerial shots of the British "squares" organized against Marshall Ney (Dan O' Herlihy) and the French cavalry--and one can easily understand the film's strong visual appeal, but this opus succeeds in other ways too.

The non-battle scenes, for instance, like the ball before the battle which introduces us to Napoleon's nemesis, Wellington, and the scenes of Napoleon dictating letters to his secretaries, are thoughtful touches that broaden the scope of this highly entertaining film and successfully depict an aristocratically genteel milieu shattered by the cataclysm that is nineteenth-century warfare. On the surface, an era characterized by the gentility of the landed gentry and sportsmanlike conduct on the battlefield, later destroyed by the real brutalities and devastation of war.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great and only a step from superb. 12 Oct 2003
This film has probably the greatest battle scene ever shown, the detail and comparison to the original battlefield is excellent. The film however, in this form, suffers from poor cuts and editing. When will a release of the original 4 hour epic take place? this has over 2 hours dedicated to the battle. Still a great film withgreat performances, and a must for either the historical or war fan.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
In "Waterloo", the 1970 film directed by Sergei Bondarchuk, I thought Rod Steiger would not do as Napoleon while Christopher Plummer as Wellington would be ideal. I have to admit that, after a short while, Steiger began to convince me. Plummer just is Wellington.

Sunday 18 June 1815 is re-created in spectacular fashion with a host of British stars, all playing there various parts to perfection. I understand it is entirely historically accurate but it does create the feeling of the times, the reactions and attitudes of the generals and the awfulness and terror of the fighting.

Having the DVD means I can see again and appreciate some of the subtle points I missed and, at 2.00, I can see again a great film made on a vast canvas with a real cast of thousands - no CGI.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Surperb 10 Sep 2003
By Sheggy
Format:VHS Tape
Needless to say this film tells the story and events of, and leading up to the battle of Waterloo in 1815. Much unlike most other films of this sort of genre, "Waterloo" shows the events of 1815 from both the French and British perspective, but suprisingly mostly from the french perspective. To make things even better for this film, the plot is very accurate to the actual events and creates an exciting and well developed build up to the main battle sequence.
Christopher Plummer makes an outstanding performance as Wellington, but without any doubt the finest performance comes from Rod Steiger as Napoleon. Steiger gives one of the finest performances that I have ever seen from any actor and creates a character that the audience can clearly relate to and suprisingly, grow to like. It simply cannot be said how brilliantly Steiger acted in this film.
For anybody who is interested in history or battles on a massive scale, this is the film for you. The only problem that I found with this film was the bad dubbing with some of the extras in the VHS version of the film. This however may have been cleaned up in the DVD but i dont really know.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quelle affaire! 25 Jan 2012
By Junius
A simply amazing spectacle of thousands of uniformed troops engaged in one of history's major battles. Although the details of the battle aren't always correct, and the contribution of the non-British troops to Wellington's victory are downplayed, this is probably the best recreation of the battle we'll ever see and certainly puts Sharpe's Waterloo into the shade. Good acting by the leads and fantastic music to boot. The dancing sequence is less good - Victorian dances not regency period, and the political background could have been doen better, as Austrian and Russian armies were moving towards France, too, and the ongoing Congress of Vienna is missed completely. A very good film indeed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars All time classic
Wonderful classic tale of the end of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo great cast and some really great performances one not to be missed if you love history.
Published 10 days ago by Gmac
5.0 out of 5 stars Warerloo
Xcellent music good story theme good actors.Purchased for my granddaughter who is studying history and was writing an essay about it.
Published 21 days ago by W.Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Waterloo
A colossal piece of history well acted and well produced, another piece of history showing the appalling waste of life by the government of France who could not contain it's... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Derek Swann
5.0 out of 5 stars Waterloo
An amazing film that is spell-binding. I love historical films such as this one and found it compulsive viewing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Marion Mortimer
4.0 out of 5 stars How Napoleon met his match
Good well played out realistic enactment of one of Europe's most conclusive battles which finally stopped Napoleon's conquest of Europe. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Charles Toshney
4.0 out of 5 stars Great if flawed film
A gret if flawed film with too many jump cuts, but sadly the myths about a much longer version are just that - myths. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Tim62
Although a commercial flop on its original cinematic release, Sergei Bondarchuk's epic WATERLOO has successfully stood the test of time and does not fail to entertain. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Napoleon
3.0 out of 5 stars THIS DVD HAS MET ITS WATERLOO
Technically-mediocre quality DVD that, while uncensored, is not as easy to watch as the cut UK version.

However, this is a truly astonishing film. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Frank TALKER
5.0 out of 5 stars rod steiger's Waterloo
Not a recent film but still one of the best. Rod Steiger did not seem the obvious choice for Napoleon but it is a triumph, as he captures perfectly the image of a tired and ill... Read more
Published 4 months ago by D. N. Pinder
4.0 out of 5 stars A flawed but breathtaking epic
Not long ago I posted a three star review of this movie. Finding myself with an unexpected afternoon of leisure a few days back, I decided to watch it again. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sebastian Palmer
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