I have always loved the 1970 film Waterloo and it is one of the primary reasons for my love of both the Napoleonic period and more generally of military history, since i watched it when i was very young and was fascinated by the story before i even knew what the Napoleonic wars were.

As much as i love the movie, now i'm older and have looked into the background i have even more questions.. Basically why was the movie made in the first place? it is a movie which took a huge amount of resources to produce and yet it was made by the Soviets rather than by Western nations, featuring tens of thousands of Soviet military personnel as extras and was filmed in the Ukraine, despite the events covered in the narrative not featuring the Russian's to any extent, i'd understand the Russians making it if it was a movie about Austerlitz or Borodio.. I understand the production was co-funded by the Soviet Union and Italy.. what is going on with that relationship? why would the Italian and Soviet states co-fund a film production, surely at the time of filming (1969/70) the relations between NATO Italy and the Soviet Union were a bit more frosty? And it raises even more questions since the Italians also do not featuring in the narrative! Despite it being a Soviet production several prominent Western actors appear in the movie, not least Christopher Plummer and Rod Steiger (who play Wellington and Napoleon respectively) was it not unusual for an Englishman and an American to appear in a Soviet production?

I don't know if any of you can shed any light on this topic, i appreciate it is pretty niche but any insight would be appreciated 🙂

Source: reddit post


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