Napoleon (1995 film)

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Napoleon - As Aventuras de um Cãozinho Valente 1995
Directed by Mario Andreacchio
Produced by Mario Andreacchio
Written by Mario Andreacchio
Mark Saltzman
Starring Jamie Croft
Philip Quast
Music by Bill Conti
Cinematography Roger Dowling
Edited by Edward McQueen-Mason
Distributed by The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release dates
  • 26 December 1996 (1996-12-26)
Running time
81 minutes
Country Australia Australia
Japan Japan
Language English
Budget A$4.3 million[1]

Napoleon is a 1995 Australian film directed by Mario Andreacchio, and written by Mark Saltzman about a golden retriever puppy who runs away from his city home to the wild dogs.

Plot summary[edit]

The story begins in Sydney, Australia, where Napoleon or referred to by others as "Muffin", is speculated to be living with a family and his mother. Napoleon wishes to be with the wild dogs that he can hear howling in the distance. The family Napoleon lives with is currently having a birthday party and one of the decorations shows to be a basket with balloons strapped to it. Out of curiosity, Napoleon hops inside but the basket, unties from its tether, and begins to float away while his mother pleads him not to jump out.

Napoleon flies out high above city and begins heading out to sea. Terrified of the water, Napoleon panics but suddenly a galah named Birdo, drops down on the side of his basket and offers to help him get down. Birdo's idea of help turns bad when he decides to pop the balloons suspending the basket, sending Napoleon's basket tumbling down to a beach head. Napoleon is however unharmed.

Napoleon begins reflecting on how he can finally seek out the wild dogs but Birdo suggests that Napoleon simply return home before he falls into danger. Napoleon ignores him and heads into a nearby forest.

As night falls, Napoleon starts to become nervous of being all alone. A mopoke in the forest warns Napoleon of terrible things happening to pets in the wild, referring to a cat that had fallen victim. Napoleon ignores him as well and continues on his way. He discovers a large tree that appears to have been used as a home for someone. Napoleon also stumbles upon a small patch of food; increasing his suspicions that someone is already living there. A psychopathic cat, the cat mentioned by the mopoke, spots Napoleon and believes him to be a mouse out of pure insanity and gives chase to him. Napoleon narrowly escapes as the mopoke pushed the cat into a pond. The mopoke then warns Napoleon that the cat won't rest until he is dead. As Napoleon runs off, the cat pulls itself from the pond angrily swearing revenge.

Morning comes and Napoleon awakes to the new day but meets a challenge in his road; a river. To make matters worse, a group of annoying rainbow lorikeets mock him by mimicking everything he says. Napoleon crosses anyway feeling rather proud of himself. He then meets a rude and sarcastic Koala that provides no help at all before meeting Birdo again. Napoleon reveals his nickname 'Muffin' but it is overheard by the annoying birds and a green tree frog who all begin to sing and make fun of him. Embarrassed and ridiculed, Napoleon walks out onto a log near the water but the log drifts out. Birdo tells Napoleon to swim; he refuses but is pushed by Birdo into the water, forcing him to swim. Birdo decides to help teach Napoleon to live in the wild.

Napoleon is taught how to hunt by practicing on a group of rabbits, but he is unable to catch one and results to eating moss. Birdo's next lesson is how to tell a friendly animal apart from a dangerous one. The lesson again proves useless. Birdo's next lesson involves snowy weather conditions. As the ground shakes, Birdo explains that its "blinding snow and freezing fog". Napoleon is nearly killed when a herd of wild horses stampede towards him but he is revealed to be alright but upset with Birdo's terrible advice. So he leaves going off on his own again. Napoleon smells sugar and believes it to be candy. Upon further investigation, he finds a tall sugar cane and proceeds inside. Quickly the sugar cane burns due to the dryness threatening to burn Napoleon as well, with Birdo's help, he manages to escape. As the two are talking, the cat returns attempting to attack Birdo, but fails. Birdo reunites with his lost flock but the cat has found them too. Napoleon notices and saves them by scaring them with his warning of the cat.

Napoleon hears the howls again and Birdo again suggests that Napoleon go home. The two sadly part ways as Napoleon wants to seek the wild dogs and Birdo wants to rejoin his flock.

While resting under a tree, Napoleon sees a perentie and hears loud barkings coming from it. When he speaks with him, he reveals that he makes many different noises leading Napoleon to believe the barking he's been hearing were just the lizard. Napoleon is heartbroken and saddened. Napoleon finds himself in a bad storm as the area begins to flood. He runs for shelter and discovers two dingo puppies inside a damp cave and he assumes they are lost like him. The water floods in and sweeps away Nancy, one of the pups. Napoleon dives into the water and helps her out in a rescue. The pups mother returns and Napoleon realizes that he has found the wild dogs. Out of surprise, he faints.

When he awakes he asks to live with the mother and her pups so she agrees. While out together; the mother asks a variety of questions on why Napoleon wanted to be with the wild dogs. He explains his disappointments, but confesses he always wanted to feel brave by going on his journey. The mother comforts him by reminding him it was his courage that led him out here and helped him save her children, which represents the true spirit of the wild dogs. Wanting to go home, Napoleon has a rather bumpy return in an eccentric kangaroo's pouch. After briefly standing up to some of the animals who ridiculed him before, he returns to the shore and discovers his basket inhabited by a feisty penguin who resembles his past self; wanting to be a wild and brave creature. Night falls and Napoleon readies to sail back to the city with the basket but his plan is interrupted by the cat's final return. A battle ensues and Napoleon tries multiple times to stop the cat but the cat comes back again and again. Before she can kill Napoleon, the cat becomes distracted by the penguin, who shouts at him with taunts. Napoleon takes advantage of the distraction and knocks the cat into the basket and she disappears over the water as she's carried away. Napoleon looks up to a cliff side to see an image of a wild dog howling, symbolizing Napoleon's understanding his bravery of being a wild dog inside.

Napoleon, still needing a ride back to the city is delivered when Birdo reappears with a turtle who takes Napoleon back to the city. He returns home to open paws from his mother, who consents to calling her boy Napoleon and no longer Muffin. Just before the credits, the cat reappears one last time climbing over a wall, saying "Not a mouse, but dog... dog must die!"

Voice cast[edit]


Napoleon was the most expensive independent production to be made in South Australia at the time of production.[1] Director Mario Andreacchio was inspired to make the film after watching The Adventures of Milo and Otis with his children.[1] During the shoot, 64 different dogs played the title role.[2]


Napoleon grossed $2,051,855 at the box office in Australia[3] during 1995. In Japan, the film opened on 87 screens during late February under the name Kulta, Finnish for "gold".[1] According to Andreacchio, the Japanese public mistook the original English title for a kind of brandy.[1]

It premiered on VHS in the United States on 11 August 1998.[4]


In the U.S., the film received no advance screenings for critics.[5] It however received three stars out of four from the New York Daily News.[5] It has received positive reception from minor critics for its beautiful direction, and setting, but is panned by others for its use of songs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Lloyd, Paul (25 February 1995). "Seeing the big picture". The Advertiser (Nationwide News Pty Limited). 
  2. ^ Keller, Louise. "Review of Napoleon". Urban Cinefile. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
  4. ^ "New on Video: Upcoming releases". The Vindicator. 25 June 1998. p. C5. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Bernard, Jami (11 October 1997). "'Napoleon' Is a Bone Apart". New York Daily News. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 

External links[edit]