Napoleon’s Historical Inaccuracies Called Out By French Historians: “A Big Disappointment”

Napoleon’s Historical Inaccuracies Called Out By French Historians: “A Big Disappointment”


  • French historians criticize the Napoleon film for its historic inaccuracies, together with mixed-up ages, a grotesque horse scene, and the bombing of the pyramids.
  • The portrayal of Napoleon within the movie is seen as lackluster and fails to point out his optimistic influence on French society via the creation of the Napoleonic Code.
  • The film can be being criticized for having a pro-British view of historical past and for omitting that Napoleon reinstated slavery within the French West Indies, which was his largest remorse.

French historians proceed to name out the Napoleon film for its many historic inaccuracies. Directed by Ridley Scott, the movie follows the rise and fall of the titular French Emperor (performed by Joaquin Phoenix) with a concentrate on his many army campaigns and his unstable relationship with Empress Joséphine (Vanessa Kirby). Napoleon critiques have been blended, particularly from French critics who take subject with the film’s many historic inaccuracies.

Selection spoke with two French historians, Patrice Gueniffey and Romain Marsily, who elaborated on the Napoleon film’s historic inaccuracies. Gueniffey – who deemed the film “a giant disappointment” – takes subject with the ages being “all blended up,” a “grotesque” scene involving a horse, and the bombing of the pyramids. Marsily didn’t thoughts the fictional bombing of the pyramids, although he takes subject with the film’s “lackluster” portrayal of Napoleon as a “mediocre” character which fails to point out his optimistic influence on French society via the creation of the Napoleonic Code. Learn a portion of their commentary beneath:

Gueniffey: Josephine was a clever lady who had already had a life by the point she married Napoleon, who was this youthful and really formidable man. That dynamic is totally altered within the movie as a result of Napoleon appears a lot older… I’m not towards invented scenes however once we see Napoleon placing his hand within the wounded horse to retrieve the bullet and provides it to his mom, I believed it was grotesque. He had a really distant relationship together with his mom.

Napoleon killed lots of people in Egypt, however he didn’t contact any landmarks. He introduced 130 students on this expedition to make a listing of the Egyptian civilization, so if something we owe Napoleon the creation of historical Egyptian research.

Marsily: This movie is like spitting within the face of French individuals as a result of it looks like Ridley Scott ridiculed each Napoleon and the historical past of France… There’s a fascination for Napoleon in France, even from individuals who hate him for reinstating slavery within the French West Indies and for his abuse of energy as soon as he grew to become Emperor of France, however even these persons are disillusioned by the movie as a result of the movie fails to considerably handle his legacy, whether or not good or unhealthy.

Napoleon was a logo of meritocracy as a result of he succeeded although he wasn’t a noble, however watching the movie you come out pondering he was a complete fool. Napoleon wasn’t a saint and nobody anticipated Scott to offer an evangelical portrayal of him, however his Napoleon is so grotesque that you simply preserve questioning how he even received there.

Why French Historians Are Criticizing The Napoleon Film

Earlier than Napoleon’s launch date on November 22, its trailer was criticized by TV historian Dan Snow in a viral TikTok who, like Gueniffey, took subject with the truth that Napoleon “didn’t shoot on the pyramids” throughout the Battle of the Pyramids in Egypt. One other one among Snow’s criticisms was that Marie-Antoinette “famously had very cropped hair for the execution.” Nevertheless, Ridley Scott’s response to those criticisms was brief and easy, telling fact-checkers to “Get a life.”

Along with historic inaccuracies, Ridley Scott’s Napoleon film has additionally been criticized by French historians for having a “very anti-French and really pro-British” view of historical past, as Gueniffey says. The movie has particularly been slammed for omitting that Napoleon reinstated slavery within the French West Indies following its abolition throughout the French Revolution. Marsily explains:

That was Napoleon’s largest remorse, as a result of like all revolutionary, Napoleon was in favor of abolishing it. However when he grew to become Emperor of France, he made this choice beneath political strain and a sophisticated geo-political context with the British.

Ridley Scott did not maintain again when responding to French criticism of his Napoleon film both, quipping “The French do not even like themselves.” The English director additionally acknowledged that almost all of audiences have been having fun with the film, regardless of its many historic inaccuracies.

Napoleon is about to stream on Apple TV+, although a launch date has but to be introduced.

Supply: Selection

  • Napoleon 2023 Movie Poster


    Launch Date:

    Ridley Scott

    Joaquin Phoenix, Vanessa Kirby, Tahar Rahim, Ben Miles, Ludivine Sagnier, Matthew Needham


    158 Minutes

    Drama, Epic

    David Scarpa

    Apple, Scott Free Productions

    Apple TV+, Columbia Photos

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