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Napoleon | 2023 | R | – 6.8.5

content-ratingsWhy is “Napoleon” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “strong violence, some grisly images, sexual content and brief language.” The evaluation includes several sex scenes and implied sex scenes with partial nudity, a few kissing and flirting scenes, many discussions of infidelity, many discussions of infertility, many large battle sequences using cannons and infantry and causing many deaths with bloody results shown, a woman being beheaded by guillotine with the results shown, several scenes of horses being killed and injured during battle with bloody results shown, many arguments between military and political leaders, many arguments between a husband and his wife, and at least 2 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.

Biopic of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s (Joaquin Phoenix) rise through his military campaign successes in the late 1780s through to his loss at Waterloo and ultimate exile. Also with Vanessa Kirby, Tahar Rahim, Rupert Everett, Mark Bonnar, Paul Rhys, Ben Miles, Edouard Philipponnat and Miles Jupp. Directed by Ridley Scott. A couple of lines of dialogue are spoken in another language with English subtitles. [Running Time: 2:38]

Napoleon SEX/NUDITY 6

 – A man thrusts vigorously from behind a woman, he moans, we hear the sounds of flesh slapping and he climaxes, falls back on the bed and remarks about wanting that to have made them a son (we see the woman’s deep cleavage when she leans forward). A man stomps his foot on the floor and moans indicating that he wants to have sex with his wife and he thrusts vigorously until he climaxes (we see her cleavage when she leans forward). An actor on a stage pantomimes performing oral sex on another actor.
 A man and a married woman are shown in bed (sex is implied), and the man is fully nude with his bare back and buttocks visible; the woman wears a negligee that reveals cleavage. A husband and his wife talk about why she has not become pregnant, the man crawls under the table where they are seated, pulls her off her chair and under the table, climbs on top of her, kisses her and sex is implied (we do not see or hear the act). A woman advises her adult son to “experiment” with an 18-year-old girl to see if she will become pregnant and this will determine whether his wife is infertile or he is; the man enters a room where a young woman is lying in bed covered to the shoulders (we see the tops of her bare shoulders) and it is implied that they have sex.
 A husband and his wife kiss in a carriage. A man and a woman are married, and the man kisses the woman on the cheek. A husband lies in bed and invites his wife to join, him throwing back the sheets (we see his bare chest and abdomen) and she climbs in bed with him wearing a negligee that reveals cleavage.
 A woman seated next to a man spreads her legs apart, raises her skirt and tells a man that if he looks down he will see a surprise that he will always want (we see her stocking-covered knees and part of her bare thighs). A man expresses his interest in another man’s younger sister and when he is told that she is engaged to marry, he asks about the man’s other younger 15-year-old sister (the brother declines on the grounds of her youth).
 Men and women dance with suggestive gestures at a party. Men and women dance at a ball. A man appears to be staring at a woman at a party and she approaches him to ask why. A man and a woman sit at a table together to dine and the man pulls her chair closer to him and rests his arm across her shoulder as she giggles. A married woman appears to be flirting with a man (she leans close to him and touches his hand) as her husband watches and seems jealous. A woman invites a man to join her at her home and they share drinks together; the woman tells the man that her husband had more than one lover.
 A husband writes to his wife, “Only you can please me.” A man tells another man that his wife has taken a lover while he has been away on a military campaign. A husband talks to his wife about his affairs with other women and says, “They served their purpose.” We see photographs and newspaper headlines referring to a woman’s infidelity and the embarrassment caused to her husband.
 Women wear low-cut dresses that reveal deep cleavage in many scenes throughout the movie. A woman’s dress falls off her shoulder to reveal cleavage and her bare shoulder and back. Men are shown shirtless and we see their bare chests, abdomens, backs and shoulders. A man washes himself over a basin and we see him shirtless (his bare back, chest, shoulders and abdomen are seen).


 – A woman is pulled in a cart through a crowd of people that jeer and throw food at her; she is led to a platform where her hands are tied behind her back, she kneels, her head is placed in a guillotine, the blade is dropped and her head is severed (we see blood and tissue spurt as her head drops away) and a man holds the head by the hair for the crowd to view as they cheer.
 Explosives are laid around a fort, ladders are raised against the walls and explosions ring out as soldiers yell and rush to the edges of the walls, attempting to defend their fort; cannons are fired from the ground and men are struck (we see several thrown among smoke and rubble), a cannon is fired from the fort and a horse is struck in the chest (we see the blood and tissue in the wound), and the animal screeches and rears throwing its rider (the human is splattered in the face with blood but seemingly unharmed); a man clambers up a ladder and fights soldiers on the top of the fort using his sword, and another man slashes a man that the first man is fighting on the throat (blood spurts), and other men are thrown over the edge of the fort wall and into the ocean below. Many cannons are fired at a large crowd of protestors as they march toward a line of soldiers; we see many people struck by the cannon fire and blood and severed limbs are seen; one victim drags herself along the ground and we see that part of her leg has been blown off. Many cannons are fired at large ships in a harbor and they are struck and splintered, and men onboard are thrown by the blasts (we see them in flames).
 Large numbers of armed soldiers prepare for battle and open fire, they charge each other and we see men being thrown from explosions of cannon fire and others being shot while others fight hand-to-hand, with swords slashing and bayonets, stabbing each other; another large group of armed men charge down a hillside toward the battle causing one group to retreat and they are shot at as they run away breaking the ice that they are standing on and many men and horses are shown falling into the frigid water (we see blood billowing in the water underneath the ice).
 Two large groups of armed soldiers charge each other while cannons are fired toward the battlefield; soldiers are thrown and shot off their horses with blood splatter and yelling, throats are slashed and several men’s bodies are shown hanging from the trunks of trees in a forest as a warning. Two large groups of armed soldiers face off and charge toward each other; we see men being struck and thrown by cannon fire and gunfire with some blood splattering; men are mowed down when they open fire on each other and the men in the front of the lines collapse covered in blood, others on horseback are struck and blood sprays from head and body wounds.
 A man is attacked on the floor of a government body, many men strike him, he runs away and up to a balcony where he points a gun at another man, and then at himself and fires causing a deep facial wound (we see blood and the bullet hole); the first man pushes his finger into the open wound (we hear squishing as the wounded man moans) and tells him that he missed. A man is chased by many soldiers that clamor at a door that he closes behind him, and another man outside the door holds a sword to the first man’s throat and threatens to kill him causing many soldiers to hold guns on another group of men. Protestors gather and chant in several scenes and we hear about a Royalists’ Insurrection in 1795.
 Many soldiers chase a man up a flight of stairs to force him to sign a resignation (he is grabbed and pulled back down the stairs); other men are approached and one man yells that he will not sign during his breakfast (he is grabbed and taken out of the room as a woman in the room, presumably his wife, cries and waves her arms), while another acquiesces. A man says that another man’s greatest fear is to die in his bed like his father. A husband and his wife argue about their inability to conceive a child while at a dinner table attended by several other couples; they both become angry and throw food at each other and the wife storms out of the room. A husband and his wife dissolve their marriage and separate after 15 years and the man shakes the woman by the shoulders and slaps her in the face when she stumbles over the declaration that she must read.
 An armed soldier standing on the wall of a fort yells at a sheepherder and points his gun at him telling him to move along. A woman hides in a closet with two young children when a crowd of people breaks through the doors and enters the building. A young boy asks a man for his help in retrieving the boy’s father’s sword that was taken after he was arrested and executed; the man tells the child, “I can’t have weapons in the hands of citizens.” A woman returns home to find her belongings piled up outside the front door; she knocks on the door and whimpers. A husband berates his wife for being unfaithful and she cries and pleads with him not to leave her. A husband threatens to divorce his wife if she does not become pregnant. A husband and his wife each tell the other, “You are nothing without me.” A man tells another man across the table from him, “You are good at scowling.” Men discuss the British having taken a French harbor (Toulon) and created a blockade with their vessels and plan an attack to get it back. We read that over 3 million people died in military campaigns initiated by Napoleon. We read that 41,000 prisoners were released. We are told that a woman died from diphtheria.
 Many soldiers at the top of a fort drink and dance around a fire and appear inebriated. Men discuss liberating Egypt and cannons are fired and strike the tops of pyramids. Men haul cannons to melt down the metal and make it into cannonballs.
 A puppet show depicts the beheading of a woman. A man slams a tray that a servant holds and shatters a glass (no injuries are shown but the server is splattered with liquid from the glass). A man pounds on a newspaper on a table that depicts a photograph of his ex-wife with another man. A man plays with a dog and the dog barks at him (it does not seem aggressive).
 A man reaches into the open chest wound on a dead horse and retrieves a cannon ball that he throws to another man and tells him to give it to his mother. A man has a sarcophagus opened and we see the face of the mummy inside. A man shaves his face using a straight razor and we hear the scratching on his flesh. A dead body is seen partially covered with snow.
 Men on horseback ride into a city that appears to be abandoned; it is later set on fire and we are told that the people destroyed it rather than to see it occupied. A man is exiled to Alba and then to St. Helena island.

Napoleon LANGUAGE 5

 – At least 2 F-words, 1 sexual reference, 2 scatological terms, 1 mild obscenity, name-calling (villains, traitors, worse than Caesar, beast, brute, outlaw, ridiculous, vain, stubborn, vermin, lack of simple good manners, bastard, empty, fat, Corsican thug, power hungry upstart, bankrupt, brutal, terrifying, selfish little pig), 3 religious exclamations (e.g. my God, thank God, Jesus Christ). | profanity glossary |


 – Many soldiers at the top of a fort drink and dance around a fire and appear inebriated, a man and a woman drink glasses of what could be sherry in a couple of scenes, two men drink glasses of liquor while discussing fighting, a group of men and women drink and toast with champagne at a dinner gathering, a man and a woman drink wine together, two men drink and talk about their hatred for Britain, and two men toast after a battle. Men smoke cigars in a couple of scenes.


 – The French Revolution, the Reign of Terror, Royalists, Austerlitz, Borodino, Waterloo, Plymouth, coup d’état, failure, misery, Marie Antoinette, Maximilien Robespierre, Russian Czar Alexander, Austrian Emperor Francis I, provisional government, vanity, terror, justice, virtue, treason, destiny, patience, starvation, provocation, mercy, military tactics, courage, melancholy, honor, obstacles, self-reflection, mistakes, evils, social order, producing an heir, dissolution of marriage, rage, peace, kindness, insecurity, ambition, respect, desertion, greed, guilt, infidelity, jealousy, infertility.

Napoleon MESSAGE

 – Narcissism and megalomania do not usually end well and most often result in death and devastation.


Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.

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