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5 movies like Napoleon you should watch right now

Joaquin Phoenix in Napoleon.
Columbia Pictures

This week, prolific director Ridley Scott’s ambitious new film, Napoleon, is opening in theaters before eventually heading to Apple TV+ at some point in the future. As with previous historical epics produced by Apple Studios, no expense was spared in portraying the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte (Joaquin Phoenix) from a mere soldier to the Emperor of France.

This is the kind of movie that seems destined to be a contender around Oscar time next year. But if you’re interested in seeing other movies like Napoleon from the comfort of your own home, then you’re in luck. We didn’t even need to pick any of the other movies about Napoleon’s life for our list. However, a few of our choices also take place in and around the same time period as Napoleon, including the very first movie that Scott directed.

The Duellists (1977)

Harvey Keitel in The Duellists.

Napoleon isn’t Scott’s first brush with that era of turmoil. Scott’s feature film directorial debut, The Duellists, also took place during the Napoleonic Wars in France. After Gabriel Feraud (Harvey Keitel) murders a prominent man in a duel, his superior officer sends Armand d’Hubert (Keith Carradine) to place Feraud under house arrest.

Unfortunately for d’Hubert, Feraud is a bit of a maniac who takes d’Hubert’s mission as a personal insult and challenges him to a duel. Their initial showdown is interrupted, and the clash is revisited multiple times over the next two decades until only one definitive winner emerges.

Watch The Duellists on Pluto TV.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

Russell Crowe leads the charge in Master and Commander,
20th Century Studios

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World also takes place during the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century. But in this case, the focus shifts from the French to the British, as Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) of the HMS Surprise comes across a deadly French privateer ship, Acheron, and barely escapes.

The damage taken by Surprise during the battle proves to be extensive, but Aubrey refuses to abandon his mission to stop the Acheron until he is forced to do so when his closest friend, Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany), is gravely injured. But even then, at least one more battle awaits the crew of the Surprise and their captain.

Watch Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World on Prime Video.

Marie Antoinette (2006)

Kirsten Dunst in Marie Antoinette.
Sony Pictures Releasing

Napoleon does not appear in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, but this movie could easily be called a prequel to Napoleon’s rise to power as the people of France become so fed up with the royal family that they staged a full revolt. Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) didn’t really know what she was getting into when she married King Louis XVI (Asteroid Citys Jason Schwartzman), and she had extreme difficulty convincing him to father an heir.

Marie ruffles a lot of feathers at the French royal court, while also attempting to protect herself and her loved ones. However, she also earns a reputation for her love for the finer things in life, and for ignoring the rising anger of the general population of France. That sets the stage for the French Revolution.

Watch Marie Antoinette on The CW.

Outlaw King (2018)

Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce, who is flanked by his followers in Outlaw King.

If there’s a parallel between Napoleon and Outlaw King‘s Robert Bruce (Chris Pine), it’s that both men are forced to fight to assume the crown of their homelands. In Robert’s case, he finds England’s new prince Edward (Billy Howle) to be too difficult to deal with.

When Prince Edward declares Robert to be an outlaw, Robert declares himself the king of Scotland and wages a war against the prince that proves to be bloody and deadly. But the future of Scotland itself depends upon Robert’s triumph, no matter what it costs him.

Watch Outlaw King on Netflix.

Rob Roy (1995)

Liam Neeson in Rob Roy.

Although Rob Roy has nothing to do with Napoleon or the Napoleonic Wars, it is also a portrait of a man who becomes a legend. Fifteen years before he was kicking ass and taking names in Taken, Liam Neeson played Rob Roy MacGregor, a Scottish chief who was robbed by Archibald Cunningham (Tim Roth) on the orders of James Graham (John Hurt), 4th Marquess of Montrose.

When Rob Roy refuses Graham’s offer to bear false witness against another man, he is stripped of his lands and branded an outlaw. This turns out to be a very serious mistake on Graham’s part, as Rob Roy attracts followers and wages a costly campaign against the Marquess of Montrose.

Watch Rob Roy on Freevee.

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