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Short summary

The adventures of Golden Retriever pup Napoleon and his friend, the parrot Birdo Lucci.
Napoleon is a little dog that lives in Sydney. He and his mother live with a family, but Napoleon loves to dream about meeting the wild dogs that live far away, and eventually becoming one himself. One day he gets into a basket hung from some balloons and flies away into the sky. The wind carries him to a nearby island where the basket finally lands. There he meets all kinds of different animals; some of them are friendly, but some aren't. With the help of a parakeet friend he learns the secrets of living alone in the island and defending himself from wild animals. He goes in search of the wild dogs, whom he finally finds. He is very happy with them, but then he gets homesick and starts to miss his mother, so he decides to go home again.

Trailers "Наполеон (1995)"

52 puppies were used to portray Napoleon over the course of the 28-week shoot, with anywhere from three to eight being used for a single scene. This was because the puppies slept a lot, cutting down filming time, and because a puppy could only be used for three weeks before it grew too big.

With a budget of 4.3 million Australian dollars, this was, at the time of production, the most expensive independent film made in South Australia.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Not-the-Same
    Sometimes serendipity, dumb luck, and channel-surfing really pays off. That's how we found this terrific treat. Look -- in your cable listings or in your video store -- for this Australian-made movie feature. Total delight -- and you can watch it with your mom, your grandmom, your mom-in-law, even your kids in the same room -- or all by yourself if your macho attitudes requires. [Remember "Paulie"? That's right in this category.] But there's none of the "Old Yeller" boo-hoo stuff, so you-and-they'll be okay and sinus-dry when it's over. It's about a city-bred puppy who just knows he has to connect with his wild cousins, the dingoes. So off he goes -- in a balloon-powered basket (okay, we'll admit we worried about the pup up there in midair, especially when the basket was snared by a pointy-nosed commuter train -- but why give away the good stuff?). The photography is gorgeous, but the animal shots (birds, lizards, turtles, dingoes, etc.) are nothing short of incredible!! "Stunning!!" works, too. No people at all to get in the way, either. Try it. If you don't like it, then you'll just have to wait until the movie version of "Hannibal (the Lecter)" arrives.
  • comment
    • Author: Rolorel
    A great tour through Australia, the scenery is magnificent. My three year old nephew has watched this about 100 times and still demands it on average once a week. It's a good movie for young children but not too childish for adults to get some enjoyment out of it as well. One the whole family can watch.
  • comment
    • Author: Adokelv
    I absolutely love this movie. Words are not enough to describe such a cute movie. Aside some minor stuff, the whole movie is delightful, adorable, wonderful, hilarious, sweet, exciting, thrilling, entertaining, full of charm and adventure, danger and even some darkness.

    The list of qualities doesn't end here. What to say about the scenario? For one thing, this is an Australian film. This special production takes place in Sydney and in a nearby island. This is one of the reasons why this movie is well renowned. This is a rich production that captures all the beauty and wonders of pure nature. Even details like the sounds of exotic birds and waterfalls were not forgotten, which accents this realistic environment even more. Mountains, forests, green places, trees, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, rocks, various species of animals, deserts, sandstorms, sunsets, sunrises, winds, rain, snow and even the seasons of the year are all present here. Plus, the camera work is very efficient.

    The story is about a very cute and adorable Golden Retriever puppy named Muffin' (although he nicknames himself Napoleon) that longs for adventure, danger and a life with wild dogs. Despite his young age and innocent appearance, Napoleon is very confident and not timid at all. In fact, he is a brave and curious explorer. But he proves to be a hero later, when he saves two adorable dingo puppies.

    His curiosity makes him explore a balloon and accidentally causes the balloon to fly with him inside the basket (which is attached to the balloon). The balloon flies all over the city (Sydney) in very big heights. There are very beautiful and stunning angles of view in this sequence: very tall buildings, roads, a big bridge, the endless sea and even the famous Sydney Opera House (also known as Opera Australia). And these fantastic vistas are perfectly combined at the sound of the lovely Napoleon's song "How High I'll Fly?". Even a brief but delightful voyage by train wasn't forgotten just after that. The basket gets stuck on the train, which takes Napoleon to a great ride over the city.

    Other gorgeous shots are when a fantastic sight of Sydney is shown at the beginning, from Napoleon's house and also when, after a long cross of the sea (in the air) Napoleon is getting close to very tall mountains with a beautiful beach down there but he doesn't know what to do until a galah named Birdo appears to help him all over his fantastic journey. Together they live big adventures and dangers while, at the same time, Birdo teaches him everything he knows about wild life.

    The soundtrack includes beautiful and soft instrumental music, the sad goodbye song sung by Birdo and Napoleon and the tender and touching Napoleon's song "How High I'll Fly?".

    As for the cast, they do a decent voice job, especially Jamie Croft as Napoleon, Philip Quast as Birdo and Susan Lyons as Napoleon's mother.

    Despite all its qualities, this is a quite underrated film, a sad reality. However, it's one of the best animal movies, no question about that. And anyone who loves this precious little film just gotta love "Old Yeller", "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey", "Fluke" and "Air Bud". They all deserve to be considered timeless classics.

    They don't make movies like this anymore and this is one of those unique gold classics about animals.

    This should definitely be on Top 250.
  • comment
    • Author: YSOP
    This is a charming saga of a young puppy called Muffin who longs for adventure as his wild dog alter ego Napoleon. After he escapes from the Sydney suburbs in a hot air balloon conveniently provided by a children's party, we follow Napoleon into the stunning Australian outback where he has many adventures. Napoleon makes friends along the way including Birdo (a galah) who becomes his guide, as well as encountering enemies such as a demented cat who regards all other mammals as mice to be killed. This is a very useful educational film and morality tale with the journey into the `Red Center' of Australia being a metaphor for Napoleon's exploration into himself. Unless we follow our dreams and examine ourselves we might never know what we are capable of. Napoleon overcomes his fear of water to swim and gains maturity through performing a heroic rescue. Eventually he finds he has been brave and wild all along and can return home a more fulfilled pup.

    This was the first Australian live animal movie, where any humans shown are purely secondary, and it makes full use of its country's unique menagerie of creatures. In fact I was reminded of the Walt Disney wild life films of my childhood, though unfortunately this feature lacked the same marketing power. It is good to see the live action of the animals without the animatronics of Babe, and the director (Mario Andreacchio) cleverly makes use of the 64 puppies needed in the making of the film to match the appropriate expressions.

    The human voices mainly accord well with their animal counterparts, with some wonderful and famous ones, including Joan Rivers and Barry Humphries' Dame Edna Everage. Anne Louise Lambert (Picnic at Hanging Rock), especially, displays the versatility of her silken voice as a very peeved spider whose web is destroyed by Napoleon; as well as a tremulous earless wallaby terrified of domestic animals; and as an anxious desert mouse. There is some wit in the tale that shows the makers had in mind who else would be watching this film along with its target younger audience, and the songs are pleasant if not exactly memorable.

    The perceived scary moments for the very young ones, such as Napoleon's encounters with the deranged cat, may be unfounded as my 2½ year old son watched this with interest without being terrified, but then he has a natural love of animals. Although the dogs struggling in the flood did concern him, a train crash in Thomas the Tank Engine and the snowstorm in ‘Tigger the Movie' caused him more emotional distress. He was as equally confused as Napoleon at the sounds of a wild dog barking that turned out to be a perenti lizard doing animal impressions.

    However, the dingo pups are probably portrayed as too cute (witness the tragic mauling to death of Clinton Gage, a nine year old boy, by a couple of wild dogs on Fraser Island in Queensland in May 2001) and perversely the most ferocious looking animal is a domestic cat. A healthy respect for wild animals must be encouraged so that we recognise that we are living in their environment, and that they as well as household pets will behave unpredictably. The senseless culling of animals in retaliation is never an answer. Co-existence is the way forward, not extermination.

    In the UK VHS (PAL) copies of this film can be obtained from Britannia Music.
  • comment
    • Author: Jaberini
    I really love this movie and I just never get sick of it.Napoleon was really cute and the scenery was beautiful.The animals were pretty funny and kept me entertained.The plot was interesting,there was never a dull moment in the movie.It's a movie I'm sure everyone will enjoy.If you haven't seen it yet,you don't know what you're missing.I give it 10 out of 10 stars.
  • comment
    • Author: Ttexav
    This movie is so pleasant it could be watched over and over and over without getting tired of it. Negative comments?! I think not. The scenery, the songs, the animals, the plot, the voice actors, the characters, the entire thing...it's adorable, it's endearing, it's wonderful! What more can I say? This is one of the best animal movies ever! On the level of Homeward Bound, Milo and Otis, Fluke, and some animated ones. Exceedingly well-done movie. Everyone will like it. I heartily recommend this one to be bought today. It's VERY memorable! I rented it once and needed to buy it to watch it more. It's got a lot of great lessons for little kids, but it's got such an array of charming characters that anyone would fall in love with it.
  • comment
    • Author: WOGY
    I really like Napoleon and I just don't get sick of the movie.I think Napoleon is really cute and the scenery is beautiful.It's a movie I think everyone will enjoy.The animals are pretty funny and even my dog likes the movie.If you like this movie,I recommend Babe .I think animal movies are the best.
  • comment
    • Author: Aver
    I can't add to the comments. It's a wonderful movie.

    However, if you are one of the unfortunates that picked up the NTSC redubbed copy in the states, you are only getting half the movie.

    The original Aussie accents, background noises and animal sounds are much nicer in the un-dubbed version.
  • comment
    • Author: Goldcrusher
    Napoleon as a movie tends to be filled with joy, music and cute animals. Even with the flaws of the storyline the movie still is able to be enjoyable if you set aside all your critiques and just watch it as a movie. The characters and the lame humour actually made me laugh but it is actually the characters who make this movie.

    Without Birdo, Napoleon and all the other characters in this movie you would not have a movie and I give Kudos to all the voice actors for their amazing portrayal. I particularly enjoyed Birdo and the Koala but that's not to say that the others were bad. Even the cat was pretty well done.

    A nice cheerful movie, if a little old.
  • comment
    • Author: Braned
    Kids will love this movie too. If Walt Disney released this film, it would have been a big hit. The camera simply follows a curious puppy as it wanders through the woods encountering other animals. A large bird becomes his guide to this strange environment. There is no real danger, just adventure, with a humor based narrative added to the sound track.
  • comment
    • Author: the monster
    This movie rocks. It's a very little known gem that is also heavily underrated. However, apparently most of those who know it cherish it and recognize its worth. This movie is really cute, charming, delightful and even educational.

    I wonder if the simple fact that its title is 'Napoleon' partially contributes to its lack of popularity. Those who never heard or saw it or don't know what is it about might easily confound it with some film about the french emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

    There are a few minor flaws. Such is the case of the innocent- looking cat that has become vicious and insane and still follows Napoleon until the very last second of the movie. I know that in the movie the cat is bad, but I dislike the fact they make a vicious monster out of an innocent house cat. They're not like that, they're wonderful pets. But aside these slight minuses, the movie is wonderful.

    «Meet a pup with a nose for adventure» is its tagline. Indeed, that's what it is about. Napoleon is that puppy and he's the cutest thing! He's adorable and irresistible yet behind his angelical looks he has a strong character and the spirit of a true adventurer. And he even eventually becomes a bloomin' hero thanks to his hunger for adventure and bravery. His real name is actually Muffin' but he hates it when they call him that.

    However, Napoleon doesn't live all these adventures alone. He meets various sorts of animals, including his adventure companion Birdo (a funny bird that resembles a lovebird or a parrot). It's funny that Birdo is always saying that he won't follow Napoleon this time and how stubborn he thinks Napoleon is, but in the end he always goes with him because, deep down, he's got a conscience and he cares about him.

    This is one of those movies that can be watched over and over and never lose its magic. Besides, the fact that it is foreign (in this case Australian) makes it feel even more special. Cinematography is very rich thanks to the gorgeous settings and landscapes of nature and wonderful angles of sight of Sydney viewed through high heights.

    The score is brilliant. It has relaxing instrumental music, the endearing song "How Far I'll Fly" and the touching goodbye song by Birdo and Napoleon.

    Title in Portugal: 'Um Cãozinho Chamado Napoleão'.
  • comment
    • Author: Anasius
    This film has quite a vast range of beautiful landscape, ranging from an Island across from Sydney CBD, to the snowy mountains and outback.

    While this movie doesn't have cg mouths or famous voice actors like many of the other animal movies out there, I found the animal interactions cute and the story touching. Even though the director could not manipulate their behaviour and interactions to his story, he did an excellent job creating a script out of the footage available.

    From homicidal cats, to singing frogs and birds, I think the movie is definitely a piece of work kids and some adults could appreciate.

    The reviews that rate this movie a 1 or 2 star out of 10 don't seem to provide real insight and appear to be more out of prejudice for an aspect they do not like, usually the lack of CG or annoying voice acting. Again this does not necessarily constitute to an automatic 1 out of 10.

    The situations, the scenes and the way the movie comes together is great. The script written around the interactions between Muffin and the other animals is clever.
  • comment
    • Author: Gholbirius
    I love this movie. The puppy is so cute. I got lucky and just happened upon it late at night on cable. I've set my DVR to record so I can play it for my friend's granddaughter next time she comes over. I've played all the air bud and buddies movies for her and she loves them. I can't wait to watch this one with her. I can't believe I never knew about this movie it's just so cute! I think it was very well done for a children's movie and one that adults will enjoy too. I wish I could see the original version with the Aussie accents, some reviewers say it was better. I don't see why they have to dub something over just cause the accent is different. I think you lose something when you dub over the original work. I've watched movies in there original form with English subtitles, and the same movies dubbed in English and always preferred seeings movies in their original form.
  • comment
    • Author: Phalaken
    I really loved this movie, it is truly delightful for animal lovers. I know that the cat's motives for picking on Napoleon was a tad unrealistic, but I am past caring really since the film is lovely to watch and very cute. One definite plus is the Australian scenery, it is absolutely gorgeous and perfectly captured with the fluid cinematography. The Sydney Opera House especially is a delight to see. Also the soundtrack is lovely, I loved all the songs and the score is beautiful. Napoleon himself is adorable, yet for such a small puppy he is very intelligent as well. His adventures in the Outback are eccentric and engaging, whether it is with the scary cat(creepily voiced by Carole Skinner), hilarious Birdo or Joan River's benevolent mother kangaroo. This film is always cute, but it is never tacky, and as family entertainment it is nice harmless fun and very underrated. 10/10 Bethany Cox
  • comment
    • Author: Frosha
    Napoleon was an enjoyable little film, and I liked watching it, but overall it was nothing special. I had remembered the film from my childhood, and decided to track it down and see it again, wanting to know if I'd enjoy it in my adulthood as well. Napoleon, the dog for which the film is named, was cute and so were plenty of the other animals, and the script was actually very well done and pretty excellent for a kid's film.

    Also, some material was sweet and laughable, but it gets very cheesy, and some stuff was just flat out stupid, such as the cat that is supposedly gone wild that thinks every living single creature is a mouse was very stupid, and like right before the end she's knocked to her senses and discovers that Napoleon's really a dog; What was up with that? Also, the kangaroo scene was annoying, and the way the string to the air balloon just unwrapped itself was pretty unbelievable, but I cut it slack, because it's a kid's film that's all in good fun, and overall it was very enjoyable and entertaining.

    See it if you really want to or are just curious; worth the watch, but barely. If you're not interested, it's best to leave it alone, but then, why would you even be on this page?
  • comment
    • Author: Mr.Savik
    I've watched many children's movies, having two young children of my own. Some are a delight to watch with them, while others are horrifyingly painful. This movie, unfortunately belongs to the latter classification.

    Rarely have I seen a movie that is THIS annoying and painful to sit through. I had to send the children to bed halfway through to give my tormented mind a release from the agony.

    This movie contains dialogue which appears to be ad libbed (poorly), voices that grate on one worse than fingernails on a chalkboard, and no plot nor humour. The only factor that saved this movie from a 1 out of 10 rating (and forced it up to a '2') was the Australian scenery. But when the scenery is the best point of movie, you realise that you're time would be much better spent watching National Geographic than this movie.

    I'd like to comment on the plot, which was preciously thin: The majority of the movie was comprised of watching a dog barking at various locations in Australia, with an irritating voice dubbed over, seeking the wild dogs. The attitude of Muffin (aka Napoleon) was one of defiance and desire to seek 'freedom' from rules, bedtimes etc. Those of you who also watch lots of children's movies may make the comparison to "Lady and the Tramp II:Scamp's Adventure" which was better told and more humorous. I find that this 'prodigal son' defiant attitude in films is overused (alot by Disney i.e. "Little Mermaid") and is a rebelious, unethical, ungrateful moral to preach to pre-schoolers.

    As for my children, they enjoyed it, but then there has never been a children's movie, or show, that they haven't liked... but I'm sure that even they'd rather watch repeat episodes of the "Care Bears"...
  • comment
    • Author: Hystana
    I'm 21 years old today, but I like all kind of movies. This movie, independently that be for children, I consider that is great for all ages. The puppy is very beautiful and it race is one of the best for the dogs. The desert, mountains and other sites in Australia are very beautiful; that's one of the reasons why this movie is excellent. I recommend it for all ages; is good for a plan with family or friends in a nice afternoon. I saw this movie two years ago, and I thought that was nice for the family hour, specially in the mornings. I want to give a great score for this movie:

    My note for this movie is ***** or 10.

    Thanks for view my comment.

    Juan Carlos
  • comment
    • Author: Agagamand
    I am not usually one to comment on the budget of a film. Usually, I prefer independent productions that emphasize acting and skill over effects. However, this type of film, which stars real animals, needs to have something to distract from the fact you are watching a bunch of pets wandering around rather aimlessly in front of the camera with voice-overs telling the story. This movie is painful due to the obviousness of the set-ups of the animal interactions and very fake looking action sequences. There are no CGI mouth movements that would add some personality to the baby critters and distract from the very strange ESP animal world conversations that don't require speech. The critters are cute but that can only carry a movie for 2 or 3 minutes. The poor puppies and other critters just look rather confused as they search for cues of what they are supposed to do from their trainers off-camera. This movie has a good story and a good message but the execution is awful. This was a painful experience and I groaned audibly through the whole thing. The kids luckily fell asleep before it was over and have not asked for a repeat viewing so I think they hated it too.
  • comment
    • Author: Siratius
    A House Pet in the Wild, sounds like a movie made for kids, however I just watched it back as a adult and the amount of things I realized were really funny. I highly recommend this movie for Parents and for Kids alike. Definitely should be watched if you are an Australian Family
  • comment
    • Author: Moronydit
    If it had simply been a movie showing a puppy encountering Australian wildlife and showcasing the Australian outback with no dialogue it would've made for a fine documentary. The cute live action talking animal thing has been done before and with far better actors and dialogue. In this case, it just looked overdone.

    The one saving grace is Barry Humphries in his Dame Edna guise playing the voice of a singing Kangaroo. That's the only point I cracked a smile, the rest of the time I was just covering my ears and enjoying the scenery.

    Avoid, unless you want to see some Australian wildlife and like watching TV with the volume muted.
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Jamie Croft Jamie Croft - Napoleon (voice)
    Philip Quast Philip Quast - Birdo (voice)
    Susan Lyons Susan Lyons - Napoleon's Mum / Other Wallaby (voice)
    Coralie Sawade Coralie Sawade - Kids' Mother (voice)
    Brenton Whittle Brenton Whittle - Owl / Frog / Wombat / Other Wallaby / Desert Mouse (voice)
    Anne-Louise Lambert Anne-Louise Lambert - Spider / Earless Wallaby / Desert Mouse (voice) (as Anne Lambert)
    Carole Skinner Carole Skinner - Cat (voice)
    Catherine Lambert Catherine Lambert - Lorikeet / Rabbit (voice)
    Tracey Canini Tracey Canini - Lorikeet / Rabbit (voice)
    Annabel Sims Annabel Sims - Lorikeet / Rabbit (voice)
    Neusa Timms Neusa Timms - Lorikeet / Rabbit (voice)
    Debbie Horn Debbie Horn - Lorikeet / Rabbit (voice)
    Lucia Mastrantone Lucia Mastrantone - Lone Lorikeet (voice)
    Frank Whitten Frank Whitten - Koala (voice)
    Fiona Press Fiona Press - Other Wallaby / Galah (voice)
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