Waterloo

Waterloo (1970)

3 corrected entries

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Corrected entry: The Prussians are shown as wearing black with the Death's Head logo. In fact they wore dark blue. The uniforms shown were worn by Brunswickers who fought with Wellington.

Correction: The Prussian 2nd Life Hussars wore black with the death head badge. Other Prussian Hussar regiments also had green and brown uniforms as well as blue.

Corrected entry: The British were on the reverse slopes of the ridge all through the battle, to protect them from the French artillery. But when the view of the battlefields is shown from Napoleon's view, he can see the British positions on the forward slope of the ridge.

Correction: Well Wellington has to show some troops. It's like a decoy, he doesn't want Napoleon to see how many he has got, so he hides most of them over the hill. Napoleon even recgonises that this is what he's doing when he ends the line "He is clever."

David Mercier

Correction: Napoleon was, in fact, ambidextrous.

Factual error: In the opening scene, when the Marshals demand Napoleon's abdication, Marshal Soult should not be present. In actual fact he was fighting Wellington in the south of France (around Toulouse) at the time and did not hear of the abdication until around ten days later.

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Trivia: All the extras (there were rather a lot of them) were made up of Soviet soldiers.

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Question: When marshal Ney and his troops encounter Napoleon, he tells them if they want to kill their emperor, there he is, but instead of killing him, they defect to him despite being ordered to fire. Is this a work of fiction, or did it happen in real life?

Answer: I think the film's dramatisation of this particular incident, when the French army defected from the restored Bourbon royal family back to the Emperor Napoleon might owe something to the painting NAPOLEON RETURNED painted in 1818 by Charles Steuben (also called Charles De Steuben and Karl Steuben) a German who became a nationalised (and patriotic) Frenchman https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Napoleon_returned.jpg.

Rob Halliday

Answer: Yes, that is pretty much what happened, so long as we allow for translation convention. (Napoleon and his armies spoke 19 century French, while the actors in the 1970 film speak 20 century English). After Napoleon's first abdication Marshall Ney submitted to the returning Bourbon monarch, Louis XVIII. When Napoleon returned to France, Marshall Ney was given command of an army to apprehend Napoleon The Emperor Napoleon with a small group of imperial guardsmen confronted Marshall Ney with a massively larger and better-equipped army. Many people expected a bloodbath. Instead, Napoleon waked out in front of his guard, confronted the French army and called out that if any soldier wished to shoot him, this would be the best chance they would ever have! The army simultaneously rushed to greet their emperor, Marshall Ney followed and submitted to Napoleon. This bit of the film is as historically accurate as can reasonably be expected and shows how Napoleon could electrify an army.

Rob Halliday

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