Learn more Download now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Shop now Learn more

Waterloo [DVD] [1970]
Format: DVD|Change
Price:£7.54+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on 8 October 2016
Waterloo (1970) is set in the Hundred Days period of the Napoleonic era and depicts one of the greatest comebacks in history: Napoleon Bonaparte's brief return to power and its consequences. The beginning of the film gives a great background to events, including the Emperor's abdication and his emotional farewell to the Old Guard.

I watched this film after it was highly recommended by History Buffs online. The battle was beautifully reenacted and the film kept very close to the tactics, attire and historical events surrounding the period and battle; good examples include Ney's cavalry charge without infantry support, which was a pleasure to watch and the charge of the 'Scot's Greys'.

I would say 'I loved it' but the casting of Rod Steiger as the Emperor grated against me a little as it smacked of the 'Short Boney' mishap that most people perpetuate about the historical Napoleon being short when he was actually above average height for his time. Apart from this and other small inaccuracies, all featured in the History Buffs episode, I really enjoyed this film.

This film rivals the quality of another absolute favorite of mine: Gettysburg (1993). Without the sometimes obtrusive CGI scenes of more modern films, the wide shots are spectacular and truly capture the carnage, tragedy and nobility of war in equal measure, with each individual being a real extra and soldier (from the Soviet army of the time).

Despite my aforementioned gripe, the acting of the two lead males - Steiger and Plummer - was solid and the sheer power and authenticity of the sets pulls the viewer inside its world kicking and screaming. The subplot of the British soldier stealing a pig and worming his way out of Wellington's wrath added a charming dimension and humanity to the film too.

In conclusion, I am confident that even hardened old history fanatics will enjoy watching this film and I rate Waterloo at 4.5 stars.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 28 August 2016
Such a good historical drama. And a highly accurate story telling by all accounts, thankfully. I thought the director and producer did a lot to show off the dipolar aspects of the drama: for example Christopher Plummer and Rod Steiger (both outstanding) were both really dry and funny and then ultra serious and grim. Or Steiger would go from Manic and excited to Depressed. They also showed the pomp and ceremony of that period and then the horrors or war. It was a really interesting way of presenting the film.
PS People mention a 4 hour version of the film: It doesn't exist. 3 members of the film crew have directly said that the rough cut edit (4 hours) was not kept. This is the only version of the film. Yes sometimes the final battle is slightly tricky to follow, but if you take 5 minutes or read up on the battle before hand, you can follow it readily.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 4 May 2017
I first saw this film whilst on holiday in Cornwall when it first came out in 1970. It stuck then in my memory. I am currently reading Bernard Cornwell's factual account of the battle so bought the film to refresh my memory. The film and Cornwell's book are so closely aligned it's brilliant. In the time before computer graphics the number of extras is astonishing. A true masterpiece.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 June 2014
This quite unique 1970 Soviet-Italian production with American and British cast is possibly the BEST screen reconstruction of a great historical battle. I saw this film no less than four times and I loved every minute of it - each time.

Soviet director Serguei Bondarchuk, who was already famous for his incredible 431 minutes long monumental "War and peace" (1966-67) signed here another masterpiece. This film really shows the terror and the beauty of large Napoleonic Wars battles probably as well as it was humanly possible to show them in 1970. Bondarchuk received 16 000 Soviet soldiers and an authentic 2000 riders strong brigade of cavalry to participate in this film - and he didn't waste even one of them...

Both main actors did a great job. Christopher Plummer is grandiose as Wellington, even if his character is a little bit too cheerful and smiling - the real man was much colder, more distant, quite condescending and definitely scarier and more ruthless. Rod Steiger is also excellent as Napoleon (it is possibly his greatest role ever), although here again, his character is somehow changed compared to real Emperor, with unnecessary elements of buffoonery added by Bondarchuk (who, after all, was Russian and therefore quite prejudiced against this great man).

Amongst supporting actors Jack Hawkins is of course excellent as General Picton, Michael Wilding is very good as General Ponsonby, Terence Alexander portrays a very convincing Earl of Uxbridge and there is also a nice cameo by Orson Welles who plays king Louis XVIII.

But amongst the supporting cast this is Dan O'Herlihy who delivers the most poignant performance as Marshal Michel Ney, Prince of Moscova, "Le Brave des Braves" (the Bravest of the Braves), a man who has no illusions about the issue of the fight he is fighting and therefore just wants to die with honor - which was denied to him as he survived Waterloo just to be executed in December 1815... As a last honor he was authorised to command himself the firing squad, which he did in following words: "Soldiers, when I give the command to fire, fire straight at my heart. Wait for the order. It will be my last to you. I protest against my condemnation. I have fought a hundred battles for France, and not one against her ... Soldiers, fire!"

There are of course some differences between the real battle and the one we see on the screen, but in the great lines this film shows the battle of Waterloo as it was, a monumental, terrifying clash of great armies led by great captains - and it shows it very well.

A very useful and true thing shown in this film is that Napoleon was in 1815 already quite sick and his body was betraying him - he was going to die five years later aged barely 52 - which actually played a role in his performance in this last campaign...

The one thing that this film doesn't show is that by ending Napoleonic epic adventure this battle caused also the whole continental Europe to be grasped with utmost cruelty by the iron fist of Holy Alliance and its successors - a choking hold which destroyed all aspiration for liberty until the alliance was ultimately shattered by the Crimean War, which was won, amongst others, by Bonaparte's heir, Emperor Napoleon III...

That little reserve notwithstanding, this is an AMAZING, GRANDIOSE film and an absolutely obligatory viewing for all history freaks and amateurs of good cinema. A film to buy, watch and keep. ENJOY!
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 25 July 2017
Good picture quality, just like watching the DVD.

By modern standards the pace is slow before the action, but it provides the context leading up to the Battle of Waterloo. The battle itself is pretty much a recreation from diaries (with occasional ad-libs for visual flair) and a good overall portrayal considering it had to all be compressed into the length of a movie.

Made in a time before digital effects, so it's even more impressive that thousands of military personnel made up the historic armies, with one of the finest examples of infantry forming square recorded on film.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 25 March 2018
This is a great move i showed this at the columbia theater shaftsbury avenue in 70mm 6track magnetic sound in 1970 the dvd is a good print
the sound is left centre right mono surround but in dolby digital the sound balance is a bit to the left hand on some of the music the battle
scenes sound not bad this film run 132 mins but there was a 4 hour version by all accounts
in all a good film
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 19 June 2013
I've given 'Waterloo' 5 stars because it was well made, good choice of actors, filmed on a grand scale (plenty of extras etc.), and stayed true to historical events which is of course very important in my mind.
What I really like about this film to say 'SHARP'S Waterloo' is that it is filmed on a grand scale. What I mean by this is that there are plenty of extras involved which enabled the director to show the viewers the bigger picture. He lets you experience what the real battle must have been like for example, the famous Scots Grey's Cavalry charge is amazing! to see them coming at you in real time then slow motion... Cooool. Also, the famous mistake of Marshal Ney's mass cavalry charge against the British infantry squares is awe inspiring!! the amount of people involved is, I think, crazy! LOL.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has a vested interest in the Napoleonic era, or anyone who likes a good war film really. In case of the Latter, where as this film may not be your normal cup of tea, I would say give it a chance, you may be surprised?
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 28 April 2013
Such a treat to watch a film with real people making up the thousands of troops needed for Waterloo... that in itself is worth watching nowadays. Spectacular battle scenes, particularly when filmed from above showing the British defensive squares and rather good in 1970 to have the co-operation the Soviet Army to provide the manpower. I quite liked Rod Steiger but couldn't believe Christopher Plummer who portrayed Wellington as rather soppy character throughout. By the way what is Prince Harry doing in the film??.. the actor is a dead ringer for him riding up to Wellington asking that as Napoleon was in gunshot range could he have a go??... just what Harry would probably have said !!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 23 March 2018
I remember seeing this film many years ago and I found then, that Rod Steiger playing Rod Steiger, as Napoleon, was irritating. I bought the DVD to see if time would changed my view of the film: it didn't.
Steigers over acting spoilt the film for me.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 27 January 2013
There have already been a number of reviews of this film. It is a bit dated but one of the great costume dramas that probably could not be made today purely because of the numbers of extras needed. Today it would all be done with CGI on computers which makes this film all the more remarkable as there were no special effects used in this film apart from the use of slow motion cameras during the epic charge of the British Union Brigade led by the Royal Scots Greys, captured in all it's glory in this film and probably the highpoint of the film. If you have not seen it before, or have not seen it for sometime, it is well worth searching out on DVD as you can pick up a copy for a few pounds.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse