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Depth of Field


Napoleon: A Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick


This screenplay presents a detailed account of Napoleon Bonaparte's life, from his childhood in Corsica to his rise and fall as one of history's most renowned military leaders and emperors. Through vivid scenes, Kubrick offers insight into Napoleon's complex personality, his strategic genius, as well as his personal and political struggles.

Key Scenes

  • Childhood in Corsica: The opening scene introduces Napoleon as a child, illustrating his early exposure to the themes of power and conflict.
  • Rise to Power: Subsequent scenes depict Napoleon's rapid ascent in the military ranks during the tumultuous years of the French Revolution, highlighting his remarkable strategic mind and leadership qualities.
  • Political Maneuvering: The screenplay delves into Napoleon's political acumen, showing how he navigated the volatile French political landscape to crown himself Emperor of the French.
  • Military Campaigns: A significant portion of the screenplay is dedicated to Napoleon's military campaigns across Europe, including his innovative tactics and the eventual toll of his ambition.
  • Downfall and Exile: The final act focuses on Napoleon's decline, culminating in his defeat at Waterloo and subsequent exile to Saint Helena.

Character Development

  • Napoleon Bonaparte: Presented as a complex figure, driven by ambition, strategic genius, but also plagued by hubris and personal failings.
  • Letizia Bonaparte: Napoleon's mother, depicted as a grounding influence in his early life.
  • Joseph Bonaparte: Napoleon's older brother, representing familial ties and influences.


  • Ambition and Power: The screenplay explores the intoxicating effects of power and the lengths to which individuals will go to obtain and maintain it.
  • Strategy and Warfare: Kubrick meticulously portrays the art of warfare, emphasizing Napoleon's contributions to military tactics.
  • Legacy and Memory: The narrative contemplates the legacy of leadership and how history remembers its most influential figures.

Stanley Kubrick's "Napoleon" is a richly textured screenplay that combines historical accuracy with dramatic storytelling, offering a comprehensive look at one of history's most fascinating figures. Through detailed scenes and character studies, Kubrick captures the essence of Napoleon's life and times, making it a compelling read for both history and cinema enthusiasts.