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The Best Actors Who Played Napoleon Bonaparte

Updated October 1, 2019 1.4k votes 215 voters 4.5k views20 items

Something about Napoléon Bonaparte and his rise to power seems to inspire the imagination. The French military leader and eventual Emperor has found his way into a number of movies and shows that aren't about the French Revolution. The actors who played Napoleon Bonaparte have portrayed him in both dramas and comedies. Several Napoleon actors were award winners or played the once-Emperor in award-winning historical films. Some actors who played the Bonaparte even appeared in multiple projects.

Who will you find on this list of all Napoleon actors? Marlon Brando portrayed Napoleon Bonaparte in the 1954 film, Désirée. The actor wore a fake nose in the movie. Ian Holm played Napoleon in several projects including The Emperor's New Clothes (2001), Time Bandits (1981), and Napoleon and Love (1974).

Verne Troyer played Napoleon Bonaparte in four episodes of the 2000 series, Jack of All Trades, playing off the myth that the emperor was of diminutive stature. Other famous actors who played Napoleon include Dennis Hopper and Rod Steiger.

Which actors do you think made the best Napoleon? Vote the up best portrayals of France's most recognizable military leader. And if you like the characters these actors played, be sure to check out the best Napoleon movies.

  • Rod Steiger
    Photo: Waterloo / Mosfilm/Dino de Laurentiis Cinematografica/Columbia Pictures/Paramount Pictures

    Rod Steiger played Emperor Napoleon I of France in the 1970 film, Waterloo. The movie went on to win two BAFTA Awards.

    • Age: Died at 77 (1925-2002)
    • Birthplace: Westhampton, New York, United States of America
    Is he a good Napoleon?
  • Charles Boyer
    Photo: Conquest / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    In the 1937 film, Conquest, Charles Boyer played Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte opposite Greta Garbo as Countess Marie Walewska. He was even nominated for an Oscar for his performance.

    • Age: Dec. at 79 (1899-1978)
    • Birthplace: Figeac, France
    Is he a good Napoleon?

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  • Marlon Brando
    Photo: Désirée / 20th Century Fox

    Marlon Brando portrayed Napoleon Bonaparte in the 1954 film, Désirée. The actor wore a fake nose in the movie.

    • Age: Dec. at 80 (1924-2004)
    • Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, United States of America
    Is he a good Napoleon?

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  • Christian Clavier
    Photo: Napoleon / France 2

    Christian Clavier played Napoleon I in the 2002 miniseries, Napoléon. The cast also included Isabella Rossellini, Gérard Depardieu, and John Malkovich.

    • Age: 68
    • Birthplace: Paris, France
    Is he a good Napoleon?