Napoleon – the film version!

By Paula Kitching, published 29th November 2023

The British have always been a bit snarky about Napoleon – I guess that’s the way victors can play it. For the French, they often seem either to love or loathe him; the same it seems goes for many historians. What does seem to be clear from the recent discussions raised by the new film is that his life was big, dangerous, cruel and complex, not dissimilar to any divisive war-creating imperialist leader. So to help you navigate the myths from the truths and the jealousies from the jubilations we have collected together a few Napoleon resources for you. You can dip into them or read them all, it’s up to you.

And as for the film – well, who doesn’t like a moody serious Hollywood actor trying to encapsulate a leader of the Old World who dominated large areas of Europe 200 years ago before being reduced to caricature, all in the space of two and a half hours? 

Oh, and the film has pretty impressive battle scenes with cavalry charges in the old-school way of classic films, which is cool – historically inaccurate but definitely impressive, so enjoy if you do go and see it. Just make sure you have the accurate history to hand for some follow-up reading: