Of all the “great men” of history, none has so confounded the efforts of film directors to pin him down to some sort of dramatically satisfying on-screen entertainment as Napoleon Bonaparte. The slight Corsican-born military genius, for a brief period from the late 1700s to the early years of the 19th century, ruled over France as emperor and struck fear into the hearts of European leaders with his military skill and insatiable appetite for global domination.

Enter Hollywood’s own Napoleon — the prolific British-born director with the work ethic of an army of men far younger than the 86 years he will celebrate on November 30 2023. Ridley Scott has created memorable films in multiple genres from science fiction to sword-and-sandals epics and crime in his long career, but he still hasn’t achieved the ultimate prize of a best director Oscar and you certainly feel that his Napoleon is a determined effort to conquer that elusive accolade...

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