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For nearly two decades he strode the world stage like a colossus — loved and despised, venerated and feared. From his birth on the rugged island of Corsica to his final exile on the godforsaken island of St. Helena, NAPOLEON brings this extraordinary figure to life.

NAPOLEON bears passionate witness to a man whose charisma swayed an empire and sparked his exalted belief in his own destiny. He is a figure riddled with contradictions that are the essence of his glory and undoing: his youthful enthusiasm for the ideals of the French Revolution did not prevent him from crowning himself Emperor. His passionate love of Josephine did not prevent him from divorcing her to marry the eighteen year Archduchess of Austria. His military genius did not save him from the disastrous invasion of Russia. His love of France was so compromised by his notions of personal glory that he repeatedly plunged his beloved country into war.Framed by the grand sweep of history, woven from intimate accounts of and by the man himself. NAPOLEON is a tale as grand as any novel, a story of passion, vaunting ambition and pride ending in exile and loss.

Written and Directed by David Grubin Narrated by David McCullough Producers David Grubin and Alyson Luchak

Produced by David Grubin Productions in association with PBS Docstar and Devillier Donegan Enterprises (2000)
[edit] To Destiny

Episode I recounts the story of Napoleon’s extraordinary rise from Corsican obscurity to the victories in Italy that made him a hero to the French people and convinced him that he was destined for greatness. It also tells of his love for Josephine Beauharnais, a woman of extravagant habits and tastes, who did not at first return his passionate affection.

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