Napoleon : The Man, The Myth, The Legend

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Biography Documentary hosted by Robert Whelan, published by History Channel in 2001 - English narration

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Image: Napoleon-The-Man-The-Myth-The-Legend-Cover.jpg

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He fired cannon on his own countrymen, wooed the mistress of a formidable opponent and even threatened the Pope. He was Napoleon, one of the most brilliant and complex figures in history. This absorbing appraisal of his life offers a new perspective of the little man from Corsica, who rose to new heights of power by seizing every brutal, outrageous opportunity in his path. In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte, a native of Corsica, crowned himself emperor of France, an audacious gesture that illustrated his overweening pride and ruthless ambition. Despite his diminutive stature, "the little corporal" loomed large over much of Europe for two decades-as an adroit statesman, military strategist and ruthless conqueror. This sweeping documentary reveals the private tribulations as well as the public triumphs of a complex historical legend. From the glory of his empire to his defeat at Waterloo and miserable exile on Elba, here is an entertaining and complete portrait of an extraordinary life.

Narrated by Robert Whelan Executive Producers : Bob Carruthers ; Gary Russell Producers : Gavin Bott ; Audrey Healy Directed and Edited by Chris Gormlie Cromwell Productions 2001

[edit] The Early Years

From his birth in the Corsican capital of Ajaccio in August 1769, Napoleon Bonaparte seems to have been earmarked for greatness. There was little during his early years to suggest as much however, for he came from an ordinary if well-to-do family and had a difficult schooling in France. But joining the military was the making of him and he soon discovered a remarkable gift for impressing influential people. This episode covers the all-important early years of Napoleon's life up to his capture of Toulon in 1793 and the infamous 'whiff of grapeshot', when he fired upon and killed over 200 rebellious French citizens to protect the Government.

[edit] The Early Campaigns

Marriage to Josephine de Beauharnais did little to quell Napoleon's vaulting ambition. Now he had the opportunity to display his burgeoning military talents, which he showed to full effect during his stunning first Italian campaign. It saw Napoleon win the respect of his officers and gain the love of his men merely by ensuring that, for the first time in years, they were paid properly. After his triumphant return to Paris in 1797, Napoleon was already planning his invasion of Europe. This episode covers all these events plus the invasion of Egypt and the battle of the Pyramids, ending with Napoleon's rise to First Consul in 1799.

[edit] The Imperial Zenith

By the year 1800, Napoleon's political career was in full swing but as First Consul he was hardly a man of the people - by a stroke of outrageous good fortune he even survived an assassination attempt on Christmas Eve 1800. This gave him the perfect excuse to eliminate several political enemies and tighten his grip on a tumultuous nation. This episode covers Napoleon's golden era; his rise to Emperor in 1804 and his remarkable military victories at Austerlitz, Eylau and Ulm. By 1808 the Emperor of France was just a short step away from becoming the Emperor of Europe.

[edit] The Spanish Ulcer

Up until 1807, Napoleon's life and career had been an almost uninterrupted tale of success, but things were beginning to unravel. The Emperor's determination to impose the 'Continental System' on the whole of Europe was the driving force behind the decision to invade Spain and Portugal, known to posterity as the Peninsular War. A further headache presented itself in the form of a revitalised and remodelled Austrian army, a force that was to inflict Napoleon's first decisive defeat on the battlefield. Family matters both home and aboard were also starting to cause Napoleon some problems, as his fortunes slowly began to wane.

[edit] Disaster in Russia

With the Peninsular War still raging, Napoleon made a fateful decision in 1812 when he turned his attentions east and the Grand Army began an invasion of Russia. Nothing could have prepared them for what lay ahead as they marched slowly towards Moscow. Little did they know that of the half a million men who crossed the Russian border, fewer than fifty thousand would ever see their homeland again. This episode tells the story of Napoleon's greatest mistake his ill-fated Russian adventure that spelt the beginning of the end for the Emperor. The episode includes the story of the bloody Battle of Borodino and the appalling horrors of the French retreat from Moscow.

[edit] Waterloo - the Final Curtain

This is the final chapter of Napoleon Bonaparte's extraordinary life. A chapter that begins with his enforced exile on the island of Elba. He busied himself building forts and bridges, winning the support of the local population and making plans for a return to France. When he did return, it was to an ecstatic welcome from his former troops and it was not long before he was reinstated as Emperor and at war once again. But there was to be no glorious ending to the tale. Instead it ended in spectacular and bloody failure in June 1815 on the famous battlefield of Waterloo. Napoleon's old enemy the Duke of Wellington once again beat his forces and this time there was no way back. Napoleon died in exile on St. Helena just six years later, but the legend of his military genius had only just begun.

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[edit] Technical Specs

Video Codec: XviD ISO MPEG-4
Video Bitrate: 2056 kbps
Video Resolution: 704x536
Video Aspect Ratio: 1.313:1
Frames Per Second: 25.000
Audio Codec: 0x2000 (Dolby AC3) AC3
Audio Bitrate: 256kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 47:51.600
Number Of Parts: 6
Part Size: 795 MB
Ripped by: DocFreak08

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