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Short summary

Twenty Four year-old Corsican refugee Napoleon Bonaparte is a lowly artillery captain in the French army at the siege of Toulon. Destitute and relying on his success in the new and dangerous revolutionary society, his mother and siblings become embroiled in Napoleon's struggle. The opponents are the English but the enemy are the revolutionaries authorities who seek to keep him in his place. Using his astonishing tactical mind, his sheer audacity and extraordinary military bravery, Napoleon emerges victorious and sets out on a path that would one day lead him to the throne of France.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Vut
    I started watching this film without too much consideration. I thought it would be something too much ''teatrical''. I judged wrongly. This is a masterpiece for a BBC production. The story keeps you always on the ''alert'', the visuals are stunning as if you were in France of those days, the acting is surprisingly good.

    The way how Bonaparte is depicted is somehow different from what we are accustomed to see in other films about Napoleon. The streets of southern France are so genuine, the architecture is impressive,... I would recommend this 'documentary' to those in search of an hour of pure eye-leisure
  • comment
    • Author: Hucama
    This review shall have no spoilers, so no worries. I agree with the previous review - this is really the best of TV. It was done in cinematic way with the hand of director who knows his work and who penetrated deep into the time he is depicting and motivation of characters, and visuals of it all - ruins of old regime, chaos, violence, uneasiness and psychosis of fear where the border between life and death is thin and unsure. Anyone who loves or likes Napoleon and his era shall be pleased and aroused, because to the Bony we love, in these 59 minutes of TV joy, was done justice. He is superbly, more masculine and ruggedly performed by Tom Burke. Performance I would for the rest of my life conjoin with him as a reference point. There is no weak point in acting here, we have fine British actors doing their tasks great. And one of the main points in every Napoleon film is VIOLENCE. Fighting sequences are realistic, brutal. Director brought it masterly. This film/drama is not politically correct or incorrect, nor is it weak, emasculate and ''sterile''. Napoleon and his actions make you grow your testicles, and female characters are similarly to men ambitious, opportunistic and realistic. I have gave it 9 out of 10 only because 10 is absolute perfection, and absolutes in our world do not exist, only in other spheres above and beyond us.
  • comment
    • Author: DarK-LiGht
    It's 1793 Marseille, France. The country is in turmoil. Napoleon Bonaparte is a Corsican refugee and recently promoted to artillery captain in the Toulon region where the English have landed. His entire family depends on him. The twenty four year old navigates political conflicts and disbelieving superiors to launch a tactically-superior move without permission to attack the English access to the sea and ultimately victory.

    The only obvious problem in this BBC doc program is Tom Burke's 6' height. Napoleon was not as short as the cartoonish dwarf image but he was still only 5'6". It's such a big part of the legendary image that Burke's height stands out. This show depicts the rigidity of political doctrine, the infighting, and the chaos of civil war. It's a lesser known part of this giant historical figure and the show is much better for it. The characters are fleshed out and the performances are terrific. It is educational and also works as a drama.
  • Episode cast overview:
    Rob Brydon Rob Brydon - Stanislav Fréron
    Richard McCabe Richard McCabe - Barras
    Tom Burke Tom Burke - Napoleon Bonaparte
    Laura Greenwood Laura Greenwood - Paoletta
    Alice Krige Alice Krige - Letizia
    Alex Lowe Alex Lowe - Junot
    Kenneth Cranham Kenneth Cranham - General Carteaux
    Gina Bellman Gina Bellman - Catherine Carteaux
    Darren Queralt Darren Queralt - Denon
    Roger Ashton-Griffiths Roger Ashton-Griffiths - General Doppet
    Anthony Higgins Anthony Higgins - General Dugommier
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