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Home > More > Good History Movies > WATERLOO (1970)


This is a historical drama which follows the exile of Napoleon Bonaparte (Rod Steiger) and his struggle to regain the French throne, culminating in his defeat at Waterloo in 1815.



Rating: G
Genre: Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama
Directed By: Sergey Bondarchuk
In Theaters:   Wide
On DVD: 
Studio: Columbia Pictures
At first, King Louis XVIII (Orson Welles) is none too worried when Napoleon (Rod Steiger) begins his comeback tour from Elba with a thousand men. When that number becomes substantially much, much larger, the king figures it might be a good time for an extended vacation. That’s okay because the Duke of Wellington(Christopher Plummer) is waiting patiently in Belgium for the emperor to make his move. In the meantime, he attends a gala or two. “Waterloo” is a splendidly produced extravagansa, centered around the famed battle and turning point in history. While it is clearly apparent the huge amount of research that went into the making of this movie, it sadly never truly comes alive. Part of this comes down to the narrow focus on Wellington and Napoleon, especially about how different they may have been. In fact, the first half hour comes perilously close to becoming a one man show which is not entirely bad since Rod Steiger makes a surprisingly effective Napoleon. That’s also at the detriment of almost everybody else which partially short circuits the movie’s otherwise profound final statement.

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Rick Mac
Student and author of History. The study of History is the beginning of wisdom.

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