Ridley Scott is by no means a stranger to the historical epic, with the likes of Gladiator and more recently The Last Duel among the relevant examples in the veteran director's filmography, and now his latest film, Napoleon, is arriving in UK cinemas.


The new movie sees the Alien and Blade Runner filmmaker take on the life of famed French military commander Napoleon Bonaparte, with Joaquin Phoenix taking on the main role in a film that very much lives up to the word epic.

Scott is certainly not the first filmmaker to tackle the life of Napoleon: a legendary silent French film was made on the subject almost 100 years ago, in 1927 – weighing in at over five hours long – while Stanley Kubrick famously planned a biographical epic that was never realised.

But cinemagoers can definitely expect to be treated to something very special in the new film, which is complete with battles, pageantry, all sorts of political intrigue and one or two historical inaccuracies.

So, when can UK audiences expect to feast their eyes on Napoleon? And will it focus on a specific part of his life or is it... a little general? Read on for the answers to those questions and more.

Napoleon UK release date

Napoleon will be released in UK cinemas on Wednesday 22nd November 2023.

Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte for Apple TV+ film Napoleon.
Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte for Apple TV+ film Napoleon. Apple TV+

When might Napoleon be released on Apple TV+?

After its cinematic run, the film will later arrive on Apple TV+ at an as-yet-unannounced date.

As soon as that becomes available, we'll update this page - but it seems likely that it won't be for a few months, as has been the case with Apple's other big film this year, Killers of the Flower Moon.

Ridley Scott also revealed that a four-hour director's cut will also be coming to the platform.

Speaking to Total Film, Scott revealed: "I’m working on it. It was four [hours] 10 [minutes] this morning. And so what happens is, we’ll screen [the theatrical cut] first with Sony, and then it has its run, and then the perfect thing is that [the director’s cut] goes to streaming, and we have four hours 10 minutes."

As mentioned above, we'll keep this page updated with the latest news about the streaming debut – so do keep checking back for the latest news.

Napoleon plot

The film – which has a running time of more than two and a half hours – focuses mainly on the volatile relationship between Napoleon and Josephine while the former rose to power during the French Revolution.

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An official synopsis reads: "Napoleon is a spectacle-filled action epic that details the checkered rise and fall of the iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, played by Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix.

"Against a stunning backdrop of large-scale filmmaking orchestrated by legendary director Ridley Scott, the film captures Bonaparte's relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine, showcasing his visionary military and political tactics against some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed."

Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte crowning himself Emperor in Apple TV+ film Napoleon.
Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte for Apple TV+ film Napoleon. Apple TV+

Discussing the film with Empire, Ridley Scott said: “I compare him with Alexander The Great. Adolf Hitler. Stalin."

He added: "Listen, he’s got a lot of bad s**t under his belt. At the same time, he was remarkable with his courage, and in his can-do and in his dominance. He was extraordinary."

Meanwhile, Joaquin Phoenix commented: "Certainly speaking for myself, I actively wanted to avoid the conventions of the biopic."

So, expect the unexpected.

Napoleon trailers

You can check out the first trailer for Napoleon below to give you a flavour of what to expect – and it certainly looks set to be epic, featuring all sorts of naval battles, courtly dances, political machinations and more:

A new trailer for the film was released on Wednesday 18th October 2023, which really emphasised the scale of the film and also the tormented relationship between Napoleon and Josephine.

You can watch the trailer below.

Napoleon will be released in UK cinemas on 22nd November 2023 before coming to Apple TV+. Start your seven-day Apple TV+ free trial.


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