Waterloo (1970) Script

There is no hope, Sire. We are defeated, Sire.

For twenty years, we followed you. You marched with glory through Europe.

We cannot save Paris.

The Austrians are in Versailles.

The Cossacks are watering their horses in the Seine.

They can hear the Prussian cannon in Montmartre.

There are four nations, four armies, four fronts against us.


You will be allowed to retire to the island of Elba with a personal guard.

It is an honourable exile, Sire. All you can do is abdicate.

You must sign, Sire.

Why? So you all can keep the titles I gave you?

What were you before me? Nothing. I made you.

You must abdicate, Sire.

Listen to me, Ney.

If there's anything I despise, it's ingratitude.

What can I do? What?

I sent to the Emperor of Russia for peace. He refused me.

What can we do?

What can we do? What can we do?

We can fight!

I fortify Paris. I disengage from Austria and retreat to Italy.

We must consolidate and mobilise. Train the recruits on the march.

There are no men to mobilise.

The army does not want Paris to suffer like Moscow did.



Why is it always Wellington?

Wellington. Are you afraid of him because he beat you in Spain?

France will not follow you.

France will follow me to the stars, if I give her another victory.

You have no choice. You must give up the throne.

Oh, Ney. The throne? Do you know what the throne is?

It's an overdecorated piece of furniture.

It's what's behind the throne that counts.

My brains, my ambitions, my desires, my hope, my imagination.

And above all my will.

I can't believe my ears.

You stand there waving a piece of paper crying: "Abdicate, abdicate!"

I will not! I will not!

All his men?

When? This morning.

There is nothing left to do. Sign.

Elba. Why Elba?

Marshal Marmot has surrendered to the Austrians. It was his last hope.

Soldiers -

Of my Old Guard -

After twenty years I have come to say -


France has fallen.

So remember me.

Though I love you all, I cannot embrace you all.

With this kiss, remember me.

Goodbye, my soldiers.

Goodbye, my sons.

And goodbye, my children.

Your Majesty, the monster has escaped from Elba.

We can thank God he is mad enough to land in France.

Let us not dramatise yet.

Napoleon and his thousand men are not really dangerous... yet.

Marshal Soult, you will keep command of our troops here in Paris.

Marshal Ney...

You will be the first to confront the werewolf.

I know you love this man. I did. Once.

But I will bring him back to Paris in an iron cage.

How they exaggerate all this. The soldiers.

"In an iron cage."

Nobody asked for that.

There's no way around. The way is forward.


Soldiers of the Fifth... Do you recognise me?

If you want to kill your Emperor -

Here I am.


Long live the Emperor!

Follow me to Grenoble.

It was the cry of injured honour that brought me back to France.

From Elba, I saw the rights of France misprized and thrown aside.

My victory is certain. My eagles will fly from steeple to steeple.


Come then. We will show them your red head.

I have come back.

I have come back to make France happy.

Bourbons to the compost! Hang the traitors!

I am France and France is me!

Napoleon has come back to us!

I will never forget your face, Ney, when you forced me to abdicate.

I did it for France. I know what is good for France.

I understand you made a promise to the King. Something about a cage?

What was it exactly?

I said I would bring you back to Paris in an iron cage.

That is what I heard.

The fat king must be carried from the throne!

He has corrupted the honour of Frenchmen!

Perhaps the people will let me go -

As they let him come.

He is back! The Emperor is back! Now France will live again!

Long live the Emperor!

He will lead us to glory again! Our Emperor is back!

Home! Bring the hero home!

Goulaincourt, Molien, Molé, Fouché. We have a small problem to solve.

When France wakes up tomorrow, it must have a government.

Drouot. Let me tell you something.

Life's most precious quality is loyalty.

And you Drouot, are a rare man, untainted and true. Will you join me?

With all my heart, Sire. Thank you, Drouot.


I see you got my invitation. Yes, Sire.

I understand you are no longer the King's Minister of War.

Obviously not, Sire. Obviously not, Soult.

Silence! You are to be my Chief of Staff. Accept?

I accept, Sire. Good. All's well that ends well.


Your son Ferdinand was killed when he fell off a horse at a review.

No. Musset must go. We need more conscripts and more men. Signature.

Your son was very brave and persistent in his duties.

I am sorry, Madame, that fate hasn't been more discriminating.

To my dear Prince Alexis.

I did not usurp the crown.

I found it in the gutter.

And I picked it up -

With my sword.

And it was the people, Alexis -

The people -

Who put it on my head.

He who saves a nation violates no law.

To my beloved wife.

I beg you as my wife and as daughter of Austria, my enemy. -

Please return to me my most precious possession:

My son.

To the Prince Regent, England.

You have been my most generous enemy for twenty years.

But now I want peace.

Therefore I protest the presence of Wellington...

My son is my future.

And I would rather see him dead than raised as a captive Austrian Prince.

They have declared me an enemy of humanity.

Europe has declared war against me. Not against France, but against me.

They dignify you, Sire, by making you a nation.

Dignify? Dignify? They deny me the decency of law.

They make it legal that any clown can kill me. Any news of Wellington?

Still in Brussels, Sire. Still with old Blucher?

They started the war. Let them bleed.

Yes, let 'em bleed. I will discuss peace over Wellington's dead body.

Marshal Soult, Sire. It's urgent.

It's always urgent. Show him in.

The armies of Wellington and Blucher have separated, Sire.

Separated? Yes, Sire.

I wonder what history will say of them?

We'll push Blucher aside and march on to Wellington.

It will be a bloody day.

Yes, Sire. Oh, yes, Soult.

Everything depends on one big battle, just like at Marengo.

Thank you, Soult.

But at Marengo, I was young.

Uncle Gordon paraded his whole regiment for my inspection this morning.

So I just rode up and down and picked my fancy.

Mama, you chose such big ones.

You really are the best of my generals.

We ladies just have to follow the drum. This season, soldiers are the fashion.

Where would society be without my boys?

They are the salt of England. Scum.

Nothing but beggars and scoundrels. Gin is the spirit of their patriotism.

Yet you expect them to die for you?

Out of duty?

I doubt if even Bonaparte could draw men to him by duty.

Bony is not a gentleman. What an Englishman you are.

On a battlefield his hat is worth 50,000 men. But he's no gentleman.

When we get to Paris, let me look at Napoleon. I will not get too near.

Mama admires him. I am a bit of a Bonapartist.

Is it true, that he is a monster?

He eats laurels and drinks blood.

And when will you venture into his lair?

He hasn't given me any idea. It all depends on...

Cross the river. Tomorrow we dry our boots in Brussels.

God willing, Sire. God has nothing to do with it.

Don't let young Hay get killed. An engagement?

I don't want Sarah to wear black before she's worn white.

Dickie has promised to get me a cuirassier's helmet.

Without any blood on it. And one for me. With the blood.

Where will you stick your Frenchman?

Under the right arm, sir. See, he has it planned.

When you meet a cuirassier, you'll be lucky to bring away your life. -

Never mind his helmet. The French will teach you the art of fighting.

Madam, by your leave.

I have never seen such a set of sprats.

Picton can't walk in a ball room. But he dances well with the French.

But one dances with them in a field.

Who's he? A Prussian officer.

That gentleman will spoil the dancing.

It's Napoleon, sir... I know. He has crossed the border.

With all his forces. He has come between our armies.

Where? At Charleroi.


Do you wish me to stop the ball? No, I want no alarm.

All officers obliged to ladies will finish the dance.

Uxbridge, move the cavalry to Charleroi. Picton, your division marches tonight.


May I go with the army? You can ask the Duke.

He allowed ladies in Spain. We've had so little time together.

Madeleine, a battle is no place... I fear I may never see you again.

What could be simpler than Charleroi? He has humbugged me.

In a night's march, he has made us piecemeal.

He has gained a victory at the cost of bootlaces.

If Blucher stays in Belgium, I stay too.

On that promise, Blucher would tie his men to trees if necessary.

These four roads here... Quatre Bras. He'll go for them.

If we can't hold him there, I will stop him here.


By God, that man does war honour.

A field of glory is never a pretty sight.

Nevertheless, 16,000 Prussian dead. That'll be good news in Paris.

Wellington's on the run at Quatre Bras. He is retreating.

Then what are you doing here? I came to make my report.

Why didn't you follow him? Why didn't you pursue him?

Where are my reinforcements? Don't you dare criticise me!

If Wellington's free to choose his ground, you have lost me everything.

Marshal Blucher, the sector is broken. I have ordered a retreat.

I am seventy-two and a proud soldier.

This steel is my word.

I am too old to break it.

If Wellington runs for the coast, none of us will get home to Berlin.

I do not trust the English. But because I have served you before. -

I have ordered the retreat to Wavre. You may still cooperate with Wellington.

But God help us if he does not stand.

Grouchy. Gerard. You take 30,000 men.

You take one third of my army and pursue Blucher.

Don't let them regroup or consolidate and don't let them rejoin.

But Blucher might go in ten different directions.

Blucher is not a scatter of birds. We will find him on one road.

Enough's enough!

Let's not have any disagreements. That only leads to disaster.

Grouchy. Gerard. You can go.

Go, go, go.

We'll beat Napoleon next time!

Blucher will win!

Blucher will turn defeat into victory!

Old Blucher. Damned good licking and rolled eighteen miles back.

So, we go, too.

I suppose in England they'll say we've been licked.

Can't help that.

It's mad. It's all madness. They know what they're doing.

If Bony kicked the Prussians' arse, why are we doing all the running?

A retreating army is never in love with its commander.

A few shots from the French and they'll be themselves again.

I like the cut of your men, Gordon. Forward fellows with a bayonet.

Meat and eggs from the cradle up, and a lemon a month.

All from my own acres. I've bred 'em myself.

Some there could call me more than Colonel.


That must be the whole army. They're still positioning, Sire.

Never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake. That's bad manners.

It's a bad position, Wellington. That wood behind us is unsound.

If they push us back it'll be like a wall. The army will be cut to pieces.

There is no undergrowth there. A battery of nine pounders...

A whole army can slip through it like rain through a grate.

It's suicidal, if you want to know.

You may be surprised to know that I saw this ground a year ago -

And I've kept it in my pocket.

Obviously, he's no student of Caesar. He's positioned himself badly.

He has the trees at his back. We'll give him no provocation.

Maybe he'll leave tonight.

Come on. You're nosing your way right into the pot.

There you are!

Look, keep quiet and I'll only eat half of you.

Forgive me, sir, but...

If you took the troops into confidence, they would know what they were about.

If I thought my hair knew what my brain was thinking. -

I'd shave it off and wear a wig.

Here comes old Atty. Get to your feet.

Your old friends, sir. The Enniskillen.

I hang and flog more of them than I do the rest of the army.

Good evening. Good evening.

A fine night, sir.

Take off your pack, sir.

Me, sir? You, sir.

Open it, sir. Yes, sir.

I knew something queer was scratching my back, sir.

Where did you acquire this plunder, sir?

This, sir? That, sir.

No, sir. This plunder acquired me, sir.

Do you know the penalty for plundering, sir?

Stoppage of gin, sir? It's death, sir.

Sir, I have to report this little pig has lost its way. -

And I'm trying to find her relations, sir.

He knows how to defend a hopeless position. Raise him to corporal.

Play the goat next time, Paddy, and you'll be a Sergeant.

I don't know what they'll do to the enemy, but they frighten me.

Dirty night. Hard morrow.

De Lancey. Yes, sir?

If I fail tomorrow -

I hope God will have mercy on me. For nobody else will.

Why is he standing there? What is his reason?

Has he lost his caution? There must be something I don't understand.

If only Blucher could outrun Grouchy, and give me even one corps.

All depends on the Prussians.

Why does Grouchy only do six miles a day? I do ten.

The muddy slope will help us. They'll slither up to it.

But the roads could slow Blucher, and that'll be the end of it.

Tell him the roads are the same for everyone. True?

True? Yes, Sire.

Tell him to walk faster.

You may fight your battle, Field Marshal.

Where is Grouchy and his men? He is following us step by step.

He is not between us.

What is the time, Hay? It's ten to two, sir.

Muffling, I must ask you to go out once more tonight.

Oblige me with a fresh horse, sir.

I beg Marshal Blucher to come to Waterloo by one o'clock.

Don't you see, Uxbridge? If Grouchy comes between us...

And catches the Prussians strung out on the march...

Then it would be just a matter of counting our dead.

With such a risk, dare we rely on Blucher?

We have to rely on each other, Uxbridge.


Who did you give your watch to, Hay?

Somerset, sir.

Expecting to die tomorrow? I don't like those thoughts.

Having them sometimes makes them come true.

Get your watch back. Tomorrow I will ask you the time every five minutes.

Shall I send for Doctor Larrey?

Should I call the doctor?

No, no, no. No doctor.

What are you looking at?


Get out. Out, out, out. Everyone out.

I mustn't be sick. I must have strength for tomorrow.

My body is dying, yet my brain is still good.

Will it never stop raining?

We're 140,000 men. We're not the half of it.

That's counting the French as well. 40,000 will be dead tomorrow.

Eat your soup while you've got your belly.

Have you seen our new Corporal?

'Morning, Corporal! He doesn't talk to the likes of us.

Did you have bacon for breakfast?

'Morning, Ramsey. 'Morning. Filthy night, wasn't it?

'Morning, gentlemen. Good morning, Sire.

This one.

What are you all staring at? Are you all right, Sire?

That was last night.

I've never felt better in my life. Come, we eat.

I'm afraid this afternoon, you will need bigger napkins.

We attack at nine. What is the ground like?

It will not dry before noon, Sire.

We've fought in mud before.

That's true.

What's that? Sunday morning.

The priest in Plancenoit won't give up his mass.

Well, he won't have much of a congregation.

I'm not asleep, Drouot.

Sire, we need four hours. The ground is too soft to move my cannon.

Waiting four hours would have lost me Austerlitz.

Wellington won't hold us an hour with his English, Brunswickers and Belgians.

I cannot answer for my cannon. You are the cannon, Drouot.

It would be better to attack at twelve.

Battles are lost and won in a quarter of an hour.

If Wellington were on the move, I would say, go now.

But he is sitting with the mud in his favour.

In his favour?



In case anything should happen to you, what are your plans?

To beat the French.

Dramatic fellows, these French. Music and banners.

Quite beautiful.

You're a lucky fellow, Hay, to see such wonder in your first battle.

Your Grace! What is it, Hay?

Over there, near the road! His white horse! The monster.

So there's the great thief of Europe himself.

Napoleon has ridden within range. May I have permission to try a shot?

Certainly not.

Commanders have something better to do than fire at each other.

Killing is a brotherly business, isn't it, de Lancey?

Shall I shut them up, sir? No.

No, indulge it.

Anything that wastes time this morning, indulge it.

Normally, I don't like cheering.

But there's always a time to cut cards with the devil.

Would you kindly announce me?

Who's the lad who leathers the French? Our Atty!

I've no need of a white horse to puff me, by God.

Who gives salt to Marshal Soult? Our Atty!

Who gave Johnny Francois a jolt? Our Atty!

Who will peck Boney's bum? Our Atty!

Who makes the "Parlez-vous" to run? Our Atty!

Who's the boy with the hooky nose? Our Atty!

Who's the lad who leathers the French? Our Atty!

Who's the boy to kick Boney's arse? Our Atty!

Come on, get me out.

Drouot was right. This mud may kill us.

The only enemy I fear is nature.

The battle orders, Sire.

There are more orders here than there were for the siege of Troy.

You can tell by the position of his guns that his might is on the right side.

He is afraid of his right.

All right.

Therefore that's where we'll tease him.

We'll have a diversionary action.

We tease his right side. If he weakens his centre to support the right -

Then I will know the calibre of this English aristocrat.

Gentlemen... today's fox.

Clever chap, your tailor, Hay. Dunmore and Locke's in St. James.

Remind me of that de Lancey. I like my men well dressed.

For the enemy.

La Bedoyere? Yes, Sire.

Do you have children?

Yes. I have one son. Very young. No taller than your boot.

And would you want him to be with you today?


Yes? Why? So he could see you, Sire.

See me...

I have a son.

I would give anything to see him. I'd give my heart, my life.

But not here.

I wouldn't want him to witness this battle today.

His main strength is beyond that hill.

What he shows me is only a facade. He is clever. Clever.

We'll begin the attack there. At Hougoumont.

Well, that opens the ball.

Thirty-five minutes past eleven.

Thank you, gentlemen. Return to your positions.


Battalion, advance!

He's committed Foye's division. He intends to turn us on the right.

What he seems to intend and what he does. -

Will be as different as white knight to black bishop.

We can move the 95th down, sir.

I will not run around like a wet hen. There will be plenty of time, sir.

He hasn't moved. He's nailed himself to his ridge.

This Englishman has two qualities that I admire.

Caution and, above all, courage.

He hasn't moved. Now we move the heavy artillery against Picton.

It seems he's swinging his weight to you, Picton.

His guns move so smoothly. He moves his cannon like a pistol.

I doubt if Byland's brigade will stand.

Never mind. Let him have a taste of it.

If they don't run first.

They're coming on in the same old style.

And we'll have to meet them in the same old style.

This one's going to take careful timing.

Gin up, boys. Get it while you can.

The French will have it out of you in a minute, anyway.

Dick? No, thank you.

Have a sup of gin with His Majesty's compliments.

Remind me to thank him next time we visit the palace.

Would you say there are many of them? I can't see through a hill.

It's like the whole of bloody hell is coming up out of the ground.

Nothing frightens me more than being next to a friend of the Almighty.

The 72nd will prepare to advance!

Before we go, Uxbridge.

Savage stuff, Ponsonby.

You don't see its like anymore. My father left us a hundredweight.

An old Jew in Alexandria had the blend.


My father was killed by the French. It never should have happened.

His horse got bogged in a field and the brute just gave up.

Seven lancers had him like a tiger in a pit.

Bad luck, eh, Uxbridge? Damned bad luck.

Yes, particularly bad luck. He had 400 better horses at home.

Byland's brigade has broken. Plug the gap, if you please.

Now is the time for the heavy cavalry, I think.

Get your bastards up onto the crest. I'll bring up the rest of the brigade.

Don't hurry yourself, Pic. My lads'll hold them 'till you come.

Get forward, damn you.

The 92nd will advance! Greenslade Mackenna!

Has Wellington nothing to offer me but these Amazons?


On, you drunken rascals! You whore's melts! You thieves!

Now, Scots Greys, now!

Those men on grey horses are terrifying.

They are the noblest cavalry in Europe. And the worst led.

That may be. That may be.

But we'll match them with our lancers.

We're the hard boys!

Charge for the guns!

Sound the recall!

Stop that useless noise. You'll hurt yourself.

Get back! Sound the recall!

Lancers on your left!

Look out on the left!

Give these to my son. Ride on. Save yourself.

By God, sir, the cannons are calling us. March to the sound of the guns.

Our duty is to... Do not teach me my duty, General.

My orders from the Emperor were precise. To keep my sword in Blucher's back.

If you will not march to the sound of the guns, allow me to go.

And divide my force? France would hang me.

And maybe France would be right.

La Bedoyere! Yes, Sire.

What's moving there?

I see men marching in column. Maybe five or six thousand.

He's right.

I see horses now.

Horses, but whose? The French or the Prussians?

I think it's Grouchy's blue, sir.

It's what we feared, sir. Grouchy has come across.

Damn it, it could be Prussian black.

Hay, your eyes are young. Tell me the colour.

I think they're...


That's not necessary. It's the Prussians.

But as far as we are concerned, they're on the moon.

Is that understood? Yes, Sire.

Wellington wages war in a new way. He fights sitting on his arse.

We'll have to move him off it.

Where's Grouchy?

La Haye Sainte. The one who wins the farmhouse wins the battle.

Where is Grouchy?

I need those men. Where is Grouchy? Why must I do everything myself?

Sire, are you wounded?

As your doctor I advise you to come off the field. You must lie down.

I'm all right. It's just my stomach.

After Austerlitz -

I said I would have six more good years.

Now it's ten years and nine campaigns later.

Listening? Every word.

After I am dead and gone, what will the world say of me?

It will say you extended the limits of glory.

Is that all I'll leave my son? The limits of glory?

He's concentrating his cavalry. The infantry is still sitting.

Smoke without fire. What's he at?

A hard pounding, gentlemen. Yes, sir.

Lord Hay, take yourself for a run.

General Lambert will retire a hundred paces.

But, Your Grace... Do as you're told, sir!

General order. The army will retire a hundred paces.

The army retires 100 paces!

The 27th will take position behind the Gordons!

It's bad policy to stay near a tree in a thunderstorm. It attracts bolts.

I'll take your impudent advice.

Wellington's retreating! Nillion, follow me!

Trumpeter, sound the advance!

Le Fevre, are you with me? Yes, Sire!


Withdraw to square! Shoot at the horses!

What's Ney doing?

Can't I leave the field for a minute? What's he doing there?

How can the cavalry go forward without infantry support?

Remember your wives, your sweethearts, your homes! Think of England, men!

Think of England!

Come on, you bastards!

Let me go! For God's sake, leave me alone!

Let me go. Stop him, someone!

We've never seen each other. How can we kill one another?

How can we? How can we? How can we kill one another?

How can we? How can we? Why do we? Why?

Ney requests infantry, Sire.

General Lambert needs reinforcements. I can only give him my best wishes.

De Lancey, move that battery down towards Hougoumont.

Get the surgeon over here!

The farm house is ours! Long live France!

Soult, write a letter to Paris right now and tell them...

What time do you think it is? About six o'clock, Sire.

Tell them that at six o'clock we broke Wellington's forces -

And won the battle. No. Tell them that we won the war.

The farm house has fallen, sir. We can't hold them.

It appears, Uxbridge, that we're losing the battle.

Give me night.

Or give me Blucher.

Wellington's beaten. He's bled to death.

Now move the Old Guard forward. Then, on to Brussels.

Sire, if you go any further, you will be killed.

A general should die on the field. Sire, you must go back. Please.

I abandon my position on the left. I want all remaining men here!

Here. Every brigade, every battalion, here!

Put every gun to them, sir. Every gun.

Very good, sir.

The lads are down to five rounds a man, Wellington.

But they'll stand.

If Blucher doesn't come through now, they'll break every bone in my body.

Good beans, Wellington.

If there's anything I know nothing about it is agriculture.

Sire, the Prussians are in the woods! Blucher is in the woods!

I should have burned Berlin.

Raise the black flags, children. No pity. No prisoners.

I'll shoot any man I see with pity in him.


On, my children!

Now, Maitland! Now's your time!

To the guard!

It's Grouchy! It's Blucher, look!

Run! All is lost! Run!

Why do you stand there like frightened children?

What are you afraid of?

You call yourselves soldiers! Soult, remember you're a general.

La Bedoyere, the Prussians are too late. Too late. Wellington is beaten.

Don't you understand? Wellington is beaten! Where's your faith?

I was in this position at Marengo.

I lost the battle at five o'clock, but I won it back again at seven!

Is it Prussians?

Up to them! Up to them!

Am I to fight alone? Stand with me!

Are you French? Stand with me!

Are you the Guard?

One more hour and we have them beaten!

Don't you know me?

I'm Ney, Marshal of France!

Sir, the Prussians are here!

The Old Guard has broken!

Damn me, Uxbridge, if I ever saw 30,000 men run a race before.

The whole line will advance. In which direction, Your Grace?

Straight ahead, to be sure.

Stand firm on the right! Form square!

Form square!

By God, sir, I've lost my leg.

By God, sir, so you have.

Get forward with him!

Stand by the flag! Stand!

Sire, you must get out! You must escape!

If I die, it will be here in the field, with my men.

Please, Sire.

The enemy must not touch you. France must not lose you, Sire.

Sire, the battle is lost. Where is Grouchy?

Where is Grouchy?

Vive la France!

You must stay alive, Sire.

Stand and form square!

We're doing murder, Your Grace.

I hope to God -

I've fought my last battle.

Brave Frenchmen!

You have done all that the honour of war requires.

His Grace, the Duke of Wellington, invites you to save your lives.

Will you agree to surrender?



Why do we? Why? Why?

Next to a battle lost, the saddest thing is a battle won.

You must leave this place of dead flesh.

They will chain you -

Like Prometheus to a rock.

Where the memory of your own greatness will gnaw you.