Napoleon Movie Inconsistencies: 5 Historical Errors In The Trailer
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5 Historical Inconsistencies In The New Napoleon Movie Trailer

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BY July 10, 2023

The biographical film of one of the greatest emperors in history already has its first official trailer. We are referring to the movie Napoleon, developed by Apple TV and directed by Ridley Scott. This production tells the story of the military man who became a ruler and conquered a large part of Europe. However, we have noticed that the Napoleon movie trailer is full of historical inconsistencies. Some of these errors are so far removed from reality that it is impossible not to feel uncomfortable. 

In this article we will analyze 5 historical inconsistencies of the Napoleon movie trailer. The trailer offers a significant part of the actions that led Napoleon Bonaparte to become the ruler of France. Starting with the events of the French Revolution, the beheading of Marie Antoinette and the wars that came after that. It also shows the love and romantic side of the military man, as well as other aspects of his life that few of us know about.

5 Historical Inconsistencies in the Napoleon Movie Trailer

Napoleon' Trailer: Joaquin Phoenix Transforms Into French General - Variety Image: Sony

Napoleon’s movie inconsistencies are everything from his age to the positions he held at the time. Director Ridley Scott took too many licenses and adapted the story to his liking and to the needs of the protagonist, Joaquin Phoenix. We believe clarifying the most important ones is important since Sony sold this film as a biopic of the historical character. However, we are going to see how it is far from reality.

1. First Inconsistency in the Movie Napoleon’s Age

In the movie, Napoleon appears in the streets of Paris during the 13 Vendémiaire, a coup d’état to overthrow the leaders of the Thermidorian Reaction. This is one of the great inconsistencies in Napoleon’s movie, as this occurred before he became emperor at the age of 30. In fact, most of the war scenes shown in the trailer (including the battle of the pyramids) happened before Napoleon became the first council. However, the film portrays Napoleon as an older person who ages even more.

2. Josephine Bonaparte

35-year-old actress Vanessa Kirby portrays the character of Josephine Bonaparte. However, this historical character was not younger than Napoleon. Josephine was about 40 years old when she became empress, which was almost ten years older than Napoleon.

3. French soldiers entering the Tuileries.

 Another historical inconsistency of Napoleon’s movie trailer is the French soldiers entering the Tuileries at gunpoint. Napoleon never seized power at gunpoint; he used his military victories, mass deportation and sweeping legislation to cement his power. He used the army against the French people only against the royalists during the 13 Vendémiaire.

4. Improper Military Ranking

Incorrect military classification after the Battle of Toulon. After his victory at Toulon, Napoleon was promoted to brigadier general and commander of artillery of the Army of Italy. Yet, he is seen unscathed and wearing his old uniform while attending an event in Niece.

5. Siege of Toulon

In the trailer, Napoleon says, “I promised you brilliant successes” after the successful siege of Toulon. In reality, that never happened. Napoleon was not destined to participate in the siege, but special representatives of the National Convention made a persuasive suggestion to artillery commander Dommartin to employ the young officer. This is a major inconsistency of Napoleon’s movie, as Dommartin and Napoleon never got along. Furthermore, the troops he commanded were under his control temporarily and had no reason to praise him. When Napoleon got himself assigned to command the Army of Italy, he would get a loyal army.

Other Napoleon Movie Inconsistencies 

Napoleon was an artillery officer, and when he controlled the entire navy of Italy. In the face of this power and control, the other officers felt insulted, but his soldiers liked that he was always in the artillery, literally helping charge them.

Also, he always wore his gunner’s uniform because that was how he related to the troops; affectionately, his nickname in his navy was the Le Petit Caporal, but the nickname, translated as “The Little Corporal,” was not meant as a reflection of his stature. It was intended as a term of affection by his soldiers. 

This trailer for the Napoleon movie not only shows inconsistencies. The trailer portrays very well how battle-hardened he was and the level of military intelligence he possessed. In the various battles, we can see them fighting alongside their men and strategizing, as in the case of the scene where he sets a trap for the enemy and breaks the ice where they are passing through.

It is worth noting that the trailer has a large part of its focus on the wars he fought, both internal and external. We can see him fighting English, Belgian and even Egyptian forces and in different scenarios. 

Finally, we will not only see the military and warrior aspects of the leader. We will also see Napoleon’s romantic and passionate side; here, there is a critical inconsistency. The impression that the preview shows us is of mistresses much younger than he is. When the reality is that Napoleon liked women older than him.

Featured Image Via Sony 


I am a circus aerialist influenced by Dick Grayson and Spider-Man. Fortunate to write about the characters that inspired me. I also have a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Master's degree in International Trade.

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