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- Runtime:127 min
- Release Date:2014-09-03 10:06:29
- Director: Sergei Bondarchuk
- Genres: Action, Drama, History, War
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My third viewing of Waterloo was probably the best viewing of the film
I had had.It appears this film gets slightly better every time it is
seen.This really was one of the last huge battle epics that came from
the 60's and early 70's. Rod Steiger plays Napoleon pretty well but it
goes from French to English to American apart from that good portrayal
of the trumped up little Frenchmen. The director Sergie Bondarchuk had
filmed a similar film to this a year before called War and Peace.I see
this as an unofficial sequel to War and Peace as it battles and ball
room dances are similar in style. I was very happy to see Spaghetti
Western legend in this film Gianni Garko who stared as Sartana the
gambling gun slinger in countless films.Al so spotted in this film was
Coronation Streets Fred Elliot but was refrained from saying "I want
meat,I say I want meat.This film time is comfortable at roughly around
2 hours.A great score as well by Nino Rota who previously had scored
Visconti's "The Leopard and later went on to score "The Godfather".
Orson Welles is all so in this film for about film minutes if you don't
know who he is well his that morbidly obese character who plays Louis
XVIII with some what of a British accent. I would love to have seen
this film on the big screen i only hope one day it comes out in some
poky art house cinema.
Waterloo remains an almost ridiculously huge undertaking. Before CGI
and before Ishtar broke Hollywood, the enemy Russia proved films could
be seriously big – and very few are as big as Waterloo. Amazing
productions values with the final battle scenes that really did involve
thousands (The credit state Thanks to the Russian Army – which is
pretty good wheeling and dealing in 1970) the clothing logistics and
camera work make for a real film.
The central performances are great too. Though Wellington according to
all accounts was nowhere near as nice or as charming as this. Steiger's
performance as Napoleon is excellent.
All in all the scale is breathtaking – and one that deserves the
widescreen to really do it justice.
One of the great films, not likely to be equalled, let alone surpassed,
purely on the basis of economics. Some flaws, already listed by
previous posters, and is the only way we lesser beings, incapable of
'big' creations like this film can feel good about our ignominy.
If you admire the sang-froid (coolness under trying circumstances)
which is reflected in the film and certainly in the writings of the
time, please try 'The Duellists' a much underrated film, purists may
shudder at the American accent of the lead (Keith Carradine) but in my
humble view, it captures the feel and respect for honour of the time,
absent it seems from our own…
I vote for more films like these 'Master and Commander' etc. perhaps
even a film about the American rebellion ( A sensible one please).
Especially films about Napoleon, he had a lot about him you know,
something we AngloSaxons just do not do get…
I only discovered Waterloo a couple of years ago and that was after
buying the DVD for £4 in Asda! What a bargain buy it turned out to be,
a true classic in every sense of the word.
The two main protagonists Napoleon and Wellington are portrayed
superbly by Rod Steiger and Christopher Plummer respectively, as we get
a really detailed insight into both men's characters. These 2 generals
had a special rivalry in 19th century military history and the way real
quotes are dropped in at certain points during the movie is top class.
Napoleon was the man to beat in 1815 and Wellington had his eyes very
much set on that prize, this is well exemplified just before the battle
commences when a soldier asks Wellington to fire a cannon shot when
Napoleon rides into range, to which Wellington replies somewhat aghast
"Certainly not, commanders of armies have something better to do than
to fire at one another". Wellington knew this would be the battle that
would make or break him, and he wanted Napoleon there operating at his
Another quote from the movie which embodies the respect and honour
associated with this period of military history; Wellington is
observing the French preparations for the commencement of battle,
watching over the pomp and ritual somewhat contemptuously but also in
admiration, "Dramatic fellows, these French, music and banners, quite
As far as I am aware the historical attention to detail is second to
none with all the main areas included such as the lead-up to the battle
at Ligny and Quatre Bras. Furthermore the battle appears to go exactly
how historians would have wanted with plenty of emphasis put on every
area of the battlefield. Sometimes in Britain and among Anglo-Saxons
the battle is simply described as the Brits beating the French, however
the movie sticks to historical facts and shows it was very much an
Allied army that won at Waterloo with only something like 20%-30% of it
comprising of British soldiers. The rest of the Allied force was made
up of Prussians, Hessians, Hanoverians, Dutch, Belgians, Danes. This
was very much a broad European coalition.
Another great thing about this film is that even though Bonaparte was
essentially the 'tyrant' we get such an insight into his character and
into Bonaparte 'the man' that you feel sorry that he loses the battle
in the end up.
The battle scenes are truly lavish, a real epic of a film.
Top top drawer.
For me its a 10 out of 10 !
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