NAPOLEON (Mini-Series)

Film synopsis

In 1795, he was an unpaid general consumed with ambition. In 1816, he was a bitter exile on the remote island of St. Helena. In the years between, Napoleon was the most powerful man on earth.

Directed by Yves Simoneau (NUREMBERG, AMELIA EARHART), Napoleon boasts an extraordinary international cast featuring Christian Clavier, Isabella Rossellini, Gérard Depardieu and John Malkovich.

From the campaign that transformed the Corsican outsider into a French hero to his bitter, final defeat at Waterloo, Napoleon charts the course of the man who defied centuries of tradition and forced his will upon a continent. Adapted by Didier Decoin (LES MISERABLES, JAKOB THE LIAR) from Max Gallo’s best-selling novel, this epic production explores the political intrigues and bloody battles that marked Napoleon’s tempestuous rise and rule and also delves into Napoleon’s personal life: his marriage to and divorce from Josephine de Beauharnais, his marriage to Marie Louise, the Duchess of Parma and his affairs

Provoking questions and challenging common assumptions, this lavish international production details the historical facts and actions of a truly epic life.

Part 1: 1794

In the aftermath of the French Revolution, a young, unruly and unpaid Corsican general attracts the eye of the glamorous Josephine de Beauharnais, who has recently escaped the guillotine. They marry, but Napoleon’s ambition leads him to Italy and Egypt, where he engineers startling victories for France.&nbspReturning as a hero, he seizes power from the inept Directoire and installs himself as the leader of a new republic.

Part 2:

Crowned Emperor of the French by the Pope, and with internal dissent stifled, Napoleon turns his attention to enemies beyond France’s borders. But a decisive victory against a coalition of Austrian and Russian forces – which should herald peace – only leads to more fighting, and now some of Napoleon’s closest allies, jealous of his immense power, begin to turn against him.

Part 3:

In the aftermath of a costly campaign in Spain, Napoleon loses the loyalty of many of those closest to him. While he has defeated the latest alliance arrayed against him, the hard-won peace is fragile and he sees but one chance to preserve it – ally himself with Austria by marrying Marie Louise, the Emperor’s daughter. She gives him an heir, but his joy is tempered by news that Russian troops are preparing for war.

Part 4: 1812

Napoleon’s “Great Army”, 600,000 strong when it set out, is decimated by the Russian winter retreating from Moscow. With its destruction comes the end of Napoleon’s ability to preserve his power, and his return to France is closely followed by invading Austrian and Russian troops – and exile for the man who forced his will upon a continent.

Running time

361 Minutes

Year of production



Christian Clavier
Isabella Rossellini
Gérard Depardieu
John Malkovich


Yves Simoneau


Greg Coote, Jeffrey M. Hayes, Fassi, Delia Fine: A&E Network, Marc Jenny, Marc Vadé