Napoleon, Scott’s advisor responds to historians’ criticisms

Napoleon, Ridley Scott’s biopic starring Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte, has been in cinemas for 10 days and yet the controversy over its historical accuracy shows no signs of abating. After the various answers given on the subject by Ridley Scott, Paul Biddiss, the director’s consultant for the battle scenes, also expressed his opinion on the matter.

“Napoleon exaggerated his victories”

Napoleon was known for exaggerating his victories and there were not many ways to verify or dispute his story,” Biddiss said. He wrote a letter after a naval battle claiming to have captured four ships when in fact he had only captured one. He was very good at bluffing and people believed him, so he got away with it. That’s how he made his way.”


Scott’s advisor then added a dig at historians who have criticized the film: “Many of them have used the famous painting of Napoleon crossing the Alps on the covers of their books, which is certainly an inaccurate depiction,” he said. The painting, signed by Jacques-Louis David, portrays Napoleon covered by a stole waving on a white horse raised on its hind legs: Biddiss explained that Napoleon was actually wearing a very thick coat and was riding a mule.