Ridley Scott Dismisses Negative ‘Napoleon’ Reviews From Parisians: ‘The French Don’t Even Like Themselves’

Some critics at the Paris premiere weren’t exactly happy with the epic’s “very pro-British” stance

Ridley Scott Bomb 20th Century Studios bee gees

Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” had its world premiere in Paris on Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean French film critics are pleased with the epic. After being confronted with the words of Napoleon biographer Patrice Gueniffey, who slammed the film as “very anti-French and very pro-British,” director Ridley Scott told the BBC, “The French don’t even like themselves.”

“The audience that I showed it to in Paris, they loved it,” he added.

Scott, who has never been afraid to speak his mind, also told the network that he’s unbothered by claims that his movie is not historically accurate. “You really want me to answer that?… it will have a bleep in it,” he said of the film that stars Joaquin Phoenix as the French emperor and Vanessa Kirby as Napoleon’s wife Josephine.

“Were you there? Oh you weren’t there. Then how do you know?” Scott added.

Scott, who will turn 86 at the end of November, also said “I don’t really care” when asked about why he hasn’t won an Oscar for Best Director. He might not care, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve it. Scott’s lengthy resume includes “House of Gucci,” “Hannibal,” “G.I. Jane,” “Alien,” and “Gladiator”—the latter of which he will revisit when he begins production on “Gladiator 2” with Paul Mescal and Denzel Washington.

“Gladiator” won Best Picture in 2000, but Scott lost the Best Director trophy to Steven Soderbergh for “Traffic.”

On his decision to return to the 2000 film that accelerated the career of Russell Crowe, the director was characteristically pointed and said only, “Why not, are you kidding?”

“Napoleon” opens in theaters on Nov. 22, 2023 and will stream on Apple TV+ at a later date, which will also host a longer director’s cut of the movie.

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