"Next to a battle lost, the saddest thing is a battle won."*
This Soviet-Italian production features some of the most monumental battle scenes ever put on film. It was said at the time that director Sergei Bondarchuk was commanding the seventh largest army in the world, including 15,000 Soviet foot soldiers and 2,000 cavalrymen. A group of 50 circus stunt riders were emloyed to do the dangerous work of being shot out of the saddle. Waterloo depicts Napolean's last battle, in 1814, near the Belgian town of Waterloo. Napolean (Rod Steiger) had escaped from exile and tens of thousands of his former soldiers rallied to his banner. The Duke of Wellington (Christopher Plummer) quickly moved his force into position to prevent Napolean from reaching Brussels and hoped the troops of his Prussian ally would arrive in time to help defeat Napolean's army. As a matter of historical fact, the Prussians engaged the French throughout most of the afternoon but in this film they only arrive late in the day and have less impact on the battle than in reality. Besides the vast assemblage of extras, there are dozens of actors named in the credits, including Jack Hawkins and Dan O'Herlihy. Orson Welles does a cameo as King Louis XVIII.
* Spoken by Wellington as he viewed the thousands of dead on the battlefield.
1970, Directed by Sergei Bondarchuk
Watch the Waterloo Movie Trailer
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