NAPOLEON I , Emperor of the French , has become a worldwide cultural
icon generally associated with tactical brilliance, ambition and
political power . His distinctive features and costume have made him a
very recognizable figure in popular culture.
He has been portrayed in many works of fiction, his depiction varying
greatly with the author's perception of the historical character. In
the 1927 film
Napoleon , young general Bonaparte is portrayed as a
heroic visionary. On the other hand, he has been occasionally reduced
to a stock character , depicted as short and bossy, sometimes
comically so. Confusion about his height also results from the
difference between the French pouce and British inch —2.71 and 2.54
cm respectively; he was about 1.7 metres (5 ft 7 in) tall, which is
above average for the period (for example, the average height of an
English male was 170 cm (5 ft 7 in))
* 1 Theatre
* 2 Books
* 3 Film and television
* 3.1 Film
* 3.2 Television
* 4 Music and songs
* 5 Computer and video games
* 6 Other references in popular culture
* 6.1 Napoleon\'s height
* 6.2 Napoleonic delusions of grandeur
* 7 Notes
* 8 References
St Helena (1936) by
R. C. Sherriff
R. C. Sherriff
Thomas B. Costain
Thomas B. Costain 's historical novel The Last Love (1963), a
dying Napoleon, banished to
St Helena , tells his story to his lone
companion, a girl who acts as his English translator.
Napoleon is an important character in
Leo Tolstoy 's War and Peace
, where considerable space is devoted to Tolstoy's interpretation of
his historical role. He consequently also appears in the adaptations
and films of this novel, listed in the following section.
Napoleon appears briefly in the first section of
Victor Hugo 's
Les Miserables , and is extensively referenced in later sections.
Bernard Cornwell 's novel Sharpe\'s Devil features a meeting
between Napoleon, and the fictional Richard Sharpe .
* He is featured in the manga Eikou no
Napoleon – Eroica , written
by the manga artist
Riyoko Ikeda .
Napoleon features prominently in the
Doctor Who Past Doctor
Adventure World Game , where the
Second Doctor must avert a plot to
change history so that
Napoleon is victorious. In an alternate
timeline created by the assassination of the Duke of Wellington prior
Napoleon is persuaded to march on to Russia after the
victory of Waterloo, but he dies shortly afterwards, his empire having
become so overextended that the various countries collapse back into
the separate nations they were before, thus degenerating into a state
of perpetual warfare. (This situation is made worse due to the
intervention of the Doctor's old enemies the Players).
Napoleon plays an indirect yet important part in Alexandre Dumas
The Count of Monte Cristo . The novel starts in 1815 with
Napoleon exiled on the island of Elba. Here we learn that he hands a
letter to the protagonist Edmond Dantes to give to one of his chief
(fictional) supporters in Paris - Nortier De Villefort, the president
of a Bonapartist club. Dantes is unaware that Villefort is an agent of
the exiled Emperor and that the letter
Napoleon handed him contained
instructions and plans about Napoleon's planned return to Paris.
Dante's rivals include Gérard De Villefort, the opportunistic son of
Nortier (who is a royalist), who uses the letter to frame Dantes and
have him imprisoned in the Chateau d\'If until he escapes after 14
years and seeks vengeance upon those who wronged him.
C. S. Forester 's Hornblower series of novels are mostly set
during the Napoleonic Wars, in particular book 9 of the series,
Commodore Hornblower focusing on the French invasion of Russia and the
subsequent defence of
Riga from the period of 1812 onwards, and book
Lord Hornblower dealing with events in France up to the defeat of
Napoleon by Wellington at Waterloo .
Napoleon is one of the two main characters in
Simon Scarrow 's The
Revolution Quartet , which details Napoleon's life from his birth to
his defeat at the
Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo alongside that of Arthur
* In an Archie comic story featuring
Jughead Jones , he is
inadvertently transported by ambulance to a mental hospital. At first
he protests, but relents upon hearing how well the patients are fed.
When a nurse asks for his name, he replies "
Napoleon Bonaparte." A
later update changed this to him saying "You know who I am, Sonic! I
am the genius, Dr. Robotnik !"
H. Beam Piper
H. Beam Piper 's short story
He Walked Around the Horses features
a parallel universe in which both the
American Revolution and the
French Revolution were suppressed. Consequently,
Napoleon does not
rise to power and the
Napoleonic Wars never take place. In 1809, he is
described by a British general named Sir Arthur Wellesley as being a
Colonel of Artillery in the
French Army and a brilliant tactician
whose loyalty to the French monarchy has never been questioned.
* The collection If, or History Rewritten assembles numerous
alternate history essays written in the first four decades of the 20th
Napoleon has varying roles in many of them.
Harry Turtledove 's Alternate Generals anthology series have at
least two stories based on the idea of
Napoleon emigrating during the
Terror. In volume 1's "The Last Crusader" by Bill Fawcett , he joined
the Church and became a Cardinal in Rome; by the early 1810s he is a
spiritual leader of the Allies who seek to overthrow the French
Republic. In volume 2's "Empire" by William Sanders , he formed an
independent Empire based in Louisiana ; with his lieutenants Andrew
Davy Crockett he fights a valiant but doomed war against
the British, vaguely analogous to the
War of 1812 .
Napoleon is a character in Treason's Tide by Robert Wilton,
published in February 2013 by Corvus, an imprint of
Atlantic Books ;
it is set during the summer of 1805. This novel was originally issued
in June 2011 as The Emperor's Gold.
* In the alternate history novel
Napoleon in America (2014) by
Napoleon escapes from
St. Helena and winds up in the
United States in 1821.
* In J.W. Clennett's alternate history graphic novel , The
Napoleon fakes his death and flees to the town of Baudin,
West Van Diemen, a fictional French colony on Van Diemen\'s Land .
* The fantasy novel "
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell " by Susanna
Clarke takes place partially during the Napoleonic Wars, and features
Jonathan Strange fighting in Spain, and also plaguing
nightmares. Lord Wellington also plays a large part in this novel.
FILM AND TELEVISION
* Austerlitz (1960), played by
Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo (1913), played by
* Bill & Ted\'s Excellent Adventure (1989), played by Terry
* Blackadder: Back Abe Lincoln claims he has a
Napoleon complex .
* Dad\'s Army : "A Soldier\'s Farewell ", a soldier (
Arthur Lowe )
dreams he is Napoléon at the
Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
Fairly OddBaby : Jorgen Von Extrangle proposes the name
"Napoléon" for Poof The Baby
* How the Brigadier Won His Medals (1954), played by
Histeria! : Napoléon is a recurring character who speakes like
* Hogan\'s Heroes : "The Late Inspector General", Hogan tries to
cheer up Klink with a quote from Napoléon
* Jack of All Trades : Napoléon is a recurring character, played by
* Joséphine ou la comédie des ambitions (France, 1979), played by
* Napoléon (2000): 4-part documentary series narrated by David
* Napoléon et l'Europe (France, 1991), played by Jean-François
* Napoléon: la Campagne de Russie (France, 2015), played by Marc
* Napoléon (2002), played by
* Napoléon more specifically musicians who sign with big labels,
thus employing "an army of suits" in order to "make a killing" rather
than just "make a living".
Al Stewart song "The Palace of Versailles", from his 1978
Time Passages , is filled with references and allusions to the
French Revolution. One line specifically references Napoleon:
"Bonaparte is coming/With his army from the south".
* Swedish Pop group
ABBA won the
Eurovision Song Contest 1974 with
the song "Waterloo ", which uses the battle as a metaphor for a person
surrendering to love similar to how
Napoleon surrendered at Waterloo.
* The song "
Viva la Vida
Viva la Vida " by
Coldplay is loosely based on
* During the
Napoleonic Wars , a nursery rhyme warned children that
Bonaparte ravenously ate naughty people.
* Bright Eyes recorded a song called "Napoleon's Hat" for Lagniappe
, an album released by Saddle Creek Records to raise funds for the Red
Cross' Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
Charlie Sexton song "Impressed" references
Pictures for Pleasure )
Napoleon was the topic of many Sea Shanties following his death,
most notably the song
Boney was a Warrior
Iced Earth released the song "Waterloo" on their album The
Glorious Burden , which details Napoleon's defeat at the Battle Of
* An episode of
Epic Rap Battles of History
Epic Rap Battles of History is a rap battle between
Napoleon Bonaparte and
Napoleon Dynamite .
COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES
* The campaigns of
Napoleon have been depicted in the sixth
installment of the Total War series, Napoleon: Total War . Player have
a chance to follow Napoleon's Italian, Egyptian or Russian campaigns.
Napoleon is featured on Assassin\'s Creed Unity as a supporting
character. He also appears as the main antagonist in its downloadable
content mission, Dead Kings.
Napoleon is a frequently used leader representing the French
civilization in the Civilization series.
* The first expansion pack to
Europa Universalis III , Napoleon's
Ambition, bears his name and expands the game to cover whole reign.
* The game Mount "> A caricature depicting a diminutive
British propaganda of the time depicted
Napoleon as of smaller than
average height and the image of him as a small man persists in modern
Britain. His actual height was about 1.7 m (5 feet 7 inches), average
height for the time or slightly taller. Confusion has sometimes
arisen because of different values for the French inch (pouce) of the
time (2.7 cm) and for the Imperial inch (2.54 cm).
Napoleon's nickname of le petit caporal has added to the confusion,
as some non-
Francophones have mistakenly interpreted petit by its
literal meaning of "small". In fact, it is an affectionate term
reflecting on his camaraderie with ordinary soldiers.
Napoleon also surrounded himself with the soldiers of his elite guard
, required to be 1.83 m (6 ft) or taller, making him look smaller in
Despite his normal height, Napoleon's name has been lent to the
Napoleon complex , a colloquial term describing an alleged type of
inferiority complex which is said to affect some people who are
physically short. The term is used more generally to describe people
who are driven by a perceived handicap to overcompensate in other
aspects of their lives.
NAPOLEONIC DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR
Napoleon Bonaparte is one of the most famous individuals in the
Western world . As delusional patients sometimes believe themselves to
be an important or grandiose figure (see delusion ), he was a notable
object of such delusions.
This idea has often been used in popular culture:
* In the 1922 film Mixed Nuts ,
Stan Laurel plays a book salesman
whose only volume for sale is a biography of Napoleon. When the
character receives a blow to the head, he comes to believe that he is
Napoleon and is subsequently admitted to a mental institution.
This cliché has itself been parodied :
* The award-winning video game
Psychonauts features a mental
patient, Fred Bonaparte, locked in an obsessive mind-game with his
distant ancestor Napoleon, who is fighting for his mind.
* In the
Bugs Bunny film
Napoleon Bunny-Part , the actual Napoleon
is dragged away by psychiatric attendants, who believe he is
* In The Emperor\'s New Clothes ,
Ian Holm plays
stumbles into the grounds of an asylum and finds himself surrounded by
other "Napoleons" - he cannot reveal his identity for fear of being
grouped with the deluded. Holm also played a less-than-serious
Napoleon in the 1981 film
Time Bandits .
Making Money features a character who believes
himself to be
Lord Vetinari , imitating Vetinari's mannerisms and
entertaining delusions of grandeur. It is later revealed that the
local hospital has an entire ward for people with the same delusion,
where they engage in competitions to determine who is the "real"
* In an episode of cult 1960s British TV sci-fi show The Prisoner
The Girl Who Was Death ", which unusually for the series was a
light-hearted comedy tale parodying the spy thriller genre, the
villain Dr. Schnipps (
Kenneth Griffith ) believed that he was Napoleon
and acted accordingly, at one point asking the protagonist Number Six
Patrick McGoohan ), "You're not the Duke of Wellington, are you?"
* In the first episode of season 2 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Return of the Shredder " (1988), Scientist and Inventor,
Baxter Stockman is seen in a jail cell with a man in Napoleonic garb
spouting off dialogue in a French accent.
* In an episode of
Night Court , Judge Harry Stone (
Harry Anderson )
is placed in a jail cell along with a number of 'mentally disturbed'
inmates all dressed as
Napoleon . His court defense attorney (played
Markie Post ) sees him and exclaims "Oh sir. They put you in with
the little generals".
* In the
Futurama episode "
Insane in the Mainframe ", Bender
pretends to be a banjo playing
Napoleon in order to stay in a robot
* ^ Napoleon's height was 5 ft 2 French inches according to
Antommarchi at Napoleon's autopsy and British sources