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Ridley Scott Offers Hilariously Blunt Clapback To French Critics Who Disliked His 'Napoleon' Film

The director clapped back at French movie critics who didn't have kind things to say about his 'Napoleon' movie starring Joaquin Phoenix.

Split screen of Ridley Scott (L) and image from upcoming “Napoleon” film (R)
David Benito/FilmMagic; Sony Pictures Entertainment

Ridley Scott has been staunchly dismissive of criticism surrounding his latest film, Napoleon.

Addressing concerns raised by a TikToker regarding historical inaccuracies, the director advised them to "get a life."

He has now turned his attention to French critics, particularly Napoleon biographer Patrice Gueniffey, who described the Joaquin Phoenix-led epic as a "very anti-French and very pro-British" historical reinterpretation in Le Point magazine.

In response to Gueniffey's remarks, Scott retorted to the BBC, stating:

"The French don't even like themselves."

Other French publications, including Le Figaro, criticized the film, comparing the portrayal of Napoleon and Joséphine Bonaparte to Barbie and Ken.

French GQ went further, labeling the movie as:

"deeply clumsy, unnatural, and unintentionally funny."

Despite showing the film to an audience in Paris that purportedly "loved it," Scott remains adamant against allegations of historical inaccuracies.

Challenging the critics, he questioned:

"Were you there? Oh, you weren't there. Then how do you know?"

In an interview with The Times, Scott expressed skepticism about historians' understanding of the past, emphasizing the creative element in historical accounts.

He remarked:

"Like all history, it's been reported. Napoleon dies, then, 10 years later, someone writes a book. Then someone takes that book and writes another book, and so, 400 years later, there's a lot of imagination [in history books]."

When faced with disputes from historians, Scott adopted a confrontational stance, saying:

"When I have issues with historians, I ask: 'Excuse me, mate, were you there? No? Well, shut the f*ck up then.'"

While the fate of the film is yet to be known, people everywhere were entertained by the director’s retorts:

Napoleon is scheduled for release in theaters on Wednesday.