It’s about time Hollywood regales us once more with an epic, semi-historical tale of war in a grand and Maximillian package we all know and love, courtesy of director Ridley Scott. Ridley Scott, the renowned filmmaker behind classics like Gladiator and Blade Runner is known for his penchant for historical epics. In his latest endeavor, he tackles the life of the famed French military commander, Napoleon Bonaparte, in Napoleon (2023). The Napoleon (2023) release date is set for November 22, 2023.
This historical action epic promises to be a cinematic spectacle, and with a star-studded cast led by none other than Joaquin Phoenix, it’s a film that was fated to become a Hollywood classic. For more details, read on.
Napoleon (2023) Release Date
Mark your calendars for Napoleon (2023) as it’s set to hit cinemas on a Wednesday, specifically November 22, 2023. This is for the theatrical release. Take note that there might be variations in the exact premiere date depending on where you live or where you’ll watch it.
The film will later be available for streaming on Apple TV+, although the exact streaming release date is yet to be announced.
Director Ridley Scott has also revealed that a four-hour director’s cut will be made available on the streaming platform if you want the full, unfiltered Napoleon experience as he intended.
What is Napoleon (2023) About?
Napoleon (2023) takes a deep dive into the life of Napoleon Bonaparte, focusing primarily on the volatile relationship between the French Emperor and his first wife, Empress Joséphine.
The biopic, with a runtime of over two and a half hours, will capture Bonaparte’s relentless ascent to power during the French Revolution.
In an official synopsis from Apple Studios, Napoleon is described as a “spectacle-filled action epic that details the checkered rise and fall of the iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, played by Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix.” It’s both a political and war drama about the French conqueror’s rise and downfall.
Some of Napoleon’s most glorious campaigns include Egypt all the way to his legendary defeat at Waterloo, Belgium. Ridley Scott’s biopic will presumably touch upon these battles and phases of Napoleon’s life.
Of course, you can also expect the signature Ridley Scott large-scale filmmaking which should showcase Bonaparte’s visionary military and political tactics and some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed. Surprisingly, the film’s budget is only $130 million despite the film’s grand scale.
2010’s Robin Hood still holds the title of Ridley Scott’s most expensive movie at a budget of $237 million.
Joaquin Phoenix Rises Again
Joaquin Phoenix, a two-time Academy Award winner, takes on the role of Napoleon Bonaparte. It’s a role he’s supposedly familiar with, given he’s already played a volatile and troubled emperor before in another Ridley Scott epic, Gladiator.
If you can recall, Joaquin Phoenix played Commodus in Gladiator, Marcus Aurelius’ wayward and twisted son and successor. There’s no doubt Joaquin Phoenix is cut out for Napoleon.
This biopic also marks his first collaboration with Ridley Scott in 23 years, following his memorable role in Gladiator. It was a role that earned him an Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Phoenix is later celebrated for his versatile acting skills and has won critical acclaim for his performances in films like Joker and Walk the Line.
Vanessa Kirby steps into the role of Empress Joséphine, portraying Napoleon’s first wife. Kirby is also an Academy Award nominee and is renowned for her roles in The Crown, and Pieces of a Woman.
The Cast and Crew
The cast of Napoleon (2023) is brimming with talent, making it a movie to look forward to even if you’re not a fan of war or period dramas and just like the actors and actresses. Here’s the list of the major names in the cast:
- Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France
- Vanessa Kirby as Empress Joséphine, formerly Joséphine de Beauharnais
- Tahar Rahim as Paul Barras
- Ben Miles as Caulaincourt
- Ludivine Sagnier as Theresa Cabarrus, Madame Tallien
- Matthew Needham as Lucien Bonaparte
- Youssef Kerkour as Marshal Davout
- Phil Cornwell as Sanson ‘The Bourreau’
- Édouard Philipponnat as Tsar Alexander I of Russia
- Ian McNeice in an undisclosed role
- Paul Rhys as Talleyrand
- Catherine Walker as Marie Antoinette, former Queen of France
- Gavin Spokes as Moulin
- John Hollingworth as Marshal Ney
- Mark Bonnar as Jean-Andoche Junot
- Anna Mawn as The Archduchess Marie-Louise
- Davide Tucci as Lazare Hoche
- Sam Crane as Jacques-Louis David
- Scott Handy as Marshal Berthier
What About Historical Accuracy?
While Napoleon (2023) promises to be a breathtaking cinematic experience, it’s essential to remember that historical epics often take creative liberties to enhance storytelling.
Ridley Scott and Joaquin Phoenix, in interviews, have expressed their intentions to avoid the conventions of a typical biopic.
The film, while capturing the essence of Napoleon’s rise to power and his tumultuous relationship with Joséphine, may incorporate elements for dramatic effect. It’s by no means a documentary since Napoleon’s life, military career, and rule as emperor is a lot of ground to cover for a 2.5-hour film.
As for which biopic conventions Scott and Phoenix were trying to avoid, it’s best to see for yourself once Napoleon (2023) comes out on November 22, 2023.