Napoléon is a 1927 French silent epic historical film, produced, and directed by Abel Gance that tells the story of Napoleon's early years. It is also the only film to use Polyvision (for the finale). On screen, the title is Napoléon vu par Abel Gance, meaning "Napoleon as seen by Abel Gance". The film is recognised as a masterwork of fluid camera motion, produced in a time when most camera shots were static. Many innovative techniques were used to make the film, including fast cutting, extensive close-ups, a wide variety of hand-held camera shots, location shooting, point of view shots, multiple-camera setups, multiple exposure, superimposition, underwater camera, kaleidoscopic images, film tinting, split screen and mosaic shots, multi-screen projection, and other visual effects. A revival of Napoléon in the mid-1950s influenced the filmmakers of the French New Wave. The film used the Keller-Dorian cinematography for its color sequences.


The scenario of the film as originally written by Gance was published in 1927 by Librairie Plon. Much of the scenario describes scenes that were rejected during initial editing, and do not appear in any known version of the film. The following plot includes only those scenes that are known to have been included in some version of the film. Not every scene described below can be viewed today.


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    contentLocation Italy Paris
    director Abel Gance
    editor Marguerite Beaugé
    genre adventure drama historical
    keywords 10 august 10 august 1792 advances into montenotte ajaccio albenga alexandre bernard alexandre de beauharnais alexandre mathillon alp amaze antoine christophe saliceti antoine le picard de phélippeaux arboretum des milelli army captain army of italy army officer auguste de marmont bad news bals des victimes barthélemy louis joseph schérer battle of montenotte beat besieging the port of toulon best man brienne-le-château build buonaparte home burn camille desmoulins canal to suez carlo andrea pozzo di borgo carrie carvalho casa buonaparte charlotte corday clash claude joseph rouget de lisle club of the cordeliers condemn corsica discover drummer boy eagle eat edit élisa elisa bonaparte eugène de beauharnais fight flag of france for you fortune teller françois-joseph talma french army french army of italy french flag general schérer georges couthon georges danton georges hénin girondists are losing hide high speed horatio nelson jacques françois dugommier jean-andoche junot jean-charles pichegru jean d\'yd jean françois carteaux jean gaudrey jean-lambert tallien jean-paul marat joachim murat joseph joseph agricol viala joseph bonaparte joseph fouché joséphine de beauharnais juliette récamier jump junot kill la marseillaise lazare hoche legislative assembly léon courtois letizia buonaparte letizia ramolino librairie plon lightning limber limbers and caissons little brother lose louis antoine de saint-just lucien lucien bonaparte mademoiselle lenormand marie anne lenormand marmont maximilien robespierre meet milelli gardens military school minim minim fathers montagnards morning napoleon national assembly nicolas koline old friend pasquale paoli phélippeaux pierre de canolle plan plon pozzo di borgo reject rescue saint helena scullion serge freddy-karl shout siege of toulon snowball fight starve suez canal talma the national their way thérésa tallien town hall uprise victim\'s ball vladimir roudenko wake walk war in the vendée warn wedding ceremony wedding day wound young women
    musicBy Arthur Honegger
    producer Abel Gance
    publisher Gaumont Film Company
    theme biographical drama epic mountain war