Napoleon’s Ridley Scott Offers Blunt Response To Criticism About Accuracy

If you look back on Ridley Scott’s top-ranked movies such as Alien, Gladiator, and Prometheus, you know this is a director who knows how to take full advantage of a movie’s wide scope. In his latest epic movie Napoleon, it takes watching the first released footage of the frozen ice battle sequence to know what you’re getting into seeing Scott’s portrayal of Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise to power. While critics found historical inaccuracies in the epic historical drama, the English filmmaker responds bluntly to those remarks.

While Ridley Scott has created memorable movies that have generated a huge fanbase, movies of his like Prometheus have gotten a mixed response saying the Golden Globe winner prioritizes visual presentation over story. Some critics have said the same thing about Scott’s latest project Napoleon, noting many historical inaccuracies. While speaking to The New Yorker, Scott had a simple yet blunt response to those pointing fingers at the historical elements.

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Get a life.

I guess that’s what you’d to tell a lot of people who find problems in even the tiniest detail of your work. TV historian Dan Snow created a TikTok that broke down all of the historical flaws as soon as the Napoleonfirst trailer premiered. He mentioned how in the Battle of the Pyramids, Napoleon didn’t shoot at the large structures or was present during Marie Antoinette’s execution. Not to mention, the Queen of France apparently had “very cropped hair” for her execution compared to the long, curly locks that she had in the trailer.

But Ridley Scott did admit to The New Yorker that a movie’s visuals take priority to him over the written word. In fact, Scott even brainstorms his movies through “Ridleygrams” which are hand-drawn storyboards which communicate his thinking methods. What historians need to understand is that a movie could be based on true events without being detail-by-detail exactly the way it played out in real life. Directors make creative changes based on what they perceive to look better on camera or to further character development.

Before its November 22nd release, critics weighed in their opinions about Napoleon that too much emphasis was placed on the title character’s infamous romance with Josephine. They felt this historical drama is not a film to see if you’re expecting a history lesson. A lot of the film’s visual aspects like the battle sequences and his central romance with Josephine seem to take precedence over trying to get inside the mind of Bonaparte and discovering his motivations for his choices. The Robin Hood filmmaker did, in fact, do his homework for Napoleon. It took five days to shoot the Waterloo sequences. Extras had to study old military manuals and learn how to load their muskets in different ways. So you can’t say Scott didn’t try to be accurate.

It’s hard to believe with all of the epic hits that Ridley Scott has delivered to audiences for over 45 years that he still hasn’t won an Oscar. While Gladiator may have been a Best Picture winner, Scott lost Best Director to Steven Soderbergh for Traffic. While Napoleon does look like it has the makings of a movie that could get Oscar attention, The Martian director spoke honestly of what he would say if he were to receive that long-awaited Academy Award trophy in his hands.

You know, I haven’t gotten an Oscar yet. And, if I ever get one, I’ll say, ‘About feckin’ time!’

It doesn’t seem like Ridley Scott is bothered by anyone who points out Napoleon’s historical inaccuracies. After all, the biopic was made for entertainment purposes. Save that for educational documentaries if you’re looking for on-point historical facts. Napoleon will have a theatrical release on November 22nd before hitting your Apple TV+ subscription at a later date. Make sure to look at our 2023 movie releases so you can plan your next trip to a movie theater near you.


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