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Waterloo 1970

After his abdication Napoleon Bonaparte 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.

Starring:
Jack Hawkins, Virginia Mckenna
Runtime:
2 hours, 8 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Drama, Action & Adventure, Historical
Director Sergei Bondarchuk
Starring Jack Hawkins, Virginia Mckenna
Supporting actors Ian Ogilvy, Orson Welles, Christopher Plummer, Rod Steiger, Michael Wilding, Rupert Davies, Dan O'Herlihy
Studio Sony Pictures International
BBFC rating Universal, suitable for all
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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2 Comments 35 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After being banished to Elba, Napoleon Bonaparte (Rod Steiger) returns in triumph to Paris to reclaim his Emperor's throne while King Louis XVIII (a mountainous Orson Welles) flees the city. But his glory is short lived as he meets the armies of Wellington (Christopher Plummer) at the battle of Waterloo. This handsome epic, directed by Sergei Bondarchuk (1967's WAR AND PEACE), is a mixed bag. With the exception of a well done ball sequence, the dramatic portions tend to be stagnant. But the battle scenes, which occupy the second half of the film, are pretty awesome. More so because it's not CGI the way it would be today. Filmed in the Soviet Union, the Russians not only helped fund the film but provided some 16,000 soldiers to act as background in the battle scenes. When you see some of the incredible aerial shots or the charging armies, you know it's real people on the screen, not computer generated images. Steiger, while an odd choice for Napoleon, is effective in his restrained scenes while his eye popping acting is distracting in others. The Nino Rota score is a dud but Armando Nannuzzi gives the film a nice sheen whether the rich looking interiors or the vast exteriors. With Jack Hawkins, Virginia McKenna, Dan O'Herlihy, Michael Wilding and Philippe Forquet.

The Sony DVD via Great Britain is a nicely rendered anamorphic wide screen (2.35) transfer.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
1 Comment 57 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
I am not a war or history movie buff. However I saw half of this movie by chance over 10 years ago and since then Napoleon's drive has remained in my memories.
I decided to re-watch this movie before purchasing it recently as memory has a way of making things greater than they were. I am glad to say that from the opening scene to the end this movie is amazing, everything I remember and more.
I highly recommend it to anyone with a dream.
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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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