Because of its pivotal role in European and world history the Battle of Waterloo
has a prominent place in military history
and is frequently mentioned in popular culture. Here are some examples:
Commemorative memorials and places
- For a comprehensive list of places named Waterloo see Waterloo: Places.
There are many memorials and places named after the battle, perhaps the most famous is Waterloo station in London. In the 1990s, after Waterloo station was chosen as the British terminus for the Eurostar train service, Florent Longuepée, a municipal councillor in Paris, wrote to the British Prime Minister requesting that the station be renamed, because he said it was upsetting for the French to be reminded of Napoleon's defeat when they arrived in London by Eurostar.
- Creasy, Edward Shepherd. The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World. The battle of Waterloo is the final battle listed. Fiction
- Clarke, Susanna. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is a fantasy novel in which the battle of Waterloo is described from the point of view of a magician who aids the Duke of Wellington. For example, it is thanks to the magician's weather control that heavy rain falls before the battle, aiding the Coalition forces.
- Cornwell, Bernard. Sharpe's Waterloo or Waterloo: Sharpe's Final Adventure Campaign is a novel which sets Cornwell's fictional hero Richard Sharpe at the battle on the staff of the non-fictional Prince of Orange. The book was later adapted for television by the ITV and starred Sean Bean as Sharpe.
- Doyle, Arthur Conan The Adventures of Gerard (1903). This novel contains a chapter "How the Brigadier Bore Himself at Waterloo", about his fictional hero Brigadier Etienne Gerard. The chapter consists of two short stories which were originally published separately. Project Gutenberg: The Adventures of Gerard (Audio Book)
- Goscinny, René (stories) and Uderzo, Albert (illustrations). Asterix in Belgium. The entire battle between Julius Caesar and the Belgians in Asterix in Belgium is a parody of the battle of Waterloo. The arrival of Caesar and his troops resembles a similar painting depicting Napoleon and his army. In the French version the text which accompanies the battle on paper is a parody on Victor Hugo's poem about the Battle of Waterloo. Asterix, Obelix and Vitalstatistix lead a surprise attack on Caesar's troops just when the Romans seem to win the battle. This is of course, exactly what happened to Napoleon in Waterloo.
- Heyer, Georgette. An Infamous Army. This novel details the battle (and the days leading up to it) as seen through the eyes of a fictional officer. Heyer consulted both primary and secondary sources,and produced a work of such insight and accuracy it has been used in military history lectures at Sandhurst.
- Hugo, Victor Les Misérables (Gutenberg: Les Miserables: Text, HTML) As a sort of interlude in his "Les Miserables" after Jean Valjean's arrival in Paris but before the introduction of Marius, Victor Hugo recounts his visit to the battlefield in 1861 and recites his version of the battle.
- Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle). The Charterhouse of Parma
- Thackeray, William Makepeace; Vanity Fair (1848), This novel contains several chapters revolving around the events at Waterloo.
- Willis, Connie To Say Nothing of the Dog: the Battle of Waterloo is used as a reference point to model how reality is believed to adjust to neutralize the effects of a Temporal paradox. There are so many critical turning points in the battle, it's explained, that a time traveler would have many opportunities to affect the outcome. Oddly - whether by accident or design - Willis consistently refers to the battle as taking place on 18 June 1814, precisely one year earlier than it did.
Films and television
- Waterloo was a 1970 Italian-Russian film, directed by Sergei Bondarchuk. It was the story of the preliminary events and the battle, and is remembered for its lavish battle scenes.
- The book "Sharpe's Waterloo" (#Books see above) was adapted for television by the ITV and starred Sean Bean as Sharpe.
- Waterloops is a fictitious water park visited by Napoleon in the film Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
- The Battle of Waterloo is referenced during an episode of The O.C. in The Safe Harbor (The O.C. episode) .
- In Blackadder: Back & Forth, Lord Blackadder travels back in time and accidentally kills Wellington before the battle of Waterloo; when he returns to the future England is full of French culture, so he time-travels once again to ensure that the Duke lives.
- In the movie Jaws, Captain Quint, while recounting his experience as a seaman aboard the USS Indianapolis, likens the sailors' grouped formations to avoid sharks as "something you would see in a calendar, like the Battle of Waterloo."
- The battle is mentioned in the 2004 film The Alamo, where it is compared to the Battle of San Jacinto, the final battle of the Texas Revolution.
- The 2005 Discovery Channel series "Battleground: The Art of War" featured one episode on the Battle of Waterloo.
- In the James Bond film The Living Daylights, Bond (played by Timothy Dalton) kills the villain Brad Whitaker with an explosive that knocks a bust of the Duke of Wellington onto him. Bond then says of Brad Whitaker, "He met his Waterloo".
- There is a TV show shown on BBC1 called Waterloo Road (TV series)
- In an episode of Dad's Army entitled A Soldier's Farewell, Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) dreams that he is Napoleon during and after the Battle of Waterloo.
- During the Denver Broncos' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008 at Arrowhead Stadium, where Denver's coach Mike Shanahan is 3-11, Dan Dierdorf made the comment, "If Mike Shanahan was Napoleon, then this [Arrowhead] is his Waterloo."
- The final mission of Starcraft's Brood War expansion, "Omega" is a scenario similar to Waterloo, except the forces in the position similar to Napoleon emerge victorious.
- In the video game Psychonauts, Fred Bonaparte, an insane asylum employee turned inmate and descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte, loses his sanity after continuously losing a game of "Waterloo" with a patient, Crispin Whytehead, and develops a split personality between himself and his forefather.
- In the computer game Empire Earth, the Battle of Waterloo is the last mission of the English campaign.
Battle of Waterloo simulators
There are two simulators on the internet, one at PBS
.org , and one at the BBC
online it is generally considered that the PBS edition is superior because in the BBC version people can memorize the steps to win the game, and there are only two outcomes - Napoleon wins or Napoleon loses. In the PBS version, there are seven possible outcomes, varying from complete Coalition victory (Napoleon dies on the battlefield) to early French major victory (Napoleon crushes Wellington before Blucher arrives, and when Blucher arrives Napoleon crushes him as well. After that, with two Coalition allies knocked out of the war, Russia and Austria sign peace treaties with France. Note, the second part about Napoleon crushing Blucher is not shown on the simulator, but a player with this outcome receives a message that Blucher was defeated after Wellington was defeated.)
- Waterloo, Waterloo
- Where will you meet your Waterloo?
- Every puppy has its day
- Everybody has to pay
- Everybody has to meet his Waterloo.
And the last verse ends:
- And that's how Tom Dooley met his Waterloo.
- Oh Lydia The Queen of Tattoo.
- On her back is The Battle of Waterloo.
- Beside it The Wreck of the Hesperus too.
- And proudly above waves the red, white, and blue.
- You can learn a lot from Lydia!
- "You're My Waterloo" is an unreleased song by The Libertines.
- "Waterloo to Anywhere" is the debut album by Dirty Pretty Things, though this is more likely a reference to the London railway station.
- La Belle Alliance is an alternative electronic band from Cork, Ireland named after the Inn which served as Napoleon's headquarters during the battle of Waterloo.
- The Irish singer-songwriter Percy French's song Slattery's Mounted Fut opens with a satirical comparison between Waterloo and an Irish rebel group:
- You've heard of Julius Caesar and the great Napoleon too,
- And how the Cork Militia beat the Turks at Waterloo;
- But there's a page of glory that, as yet, remains uncut,
- And that's the warlike story of the Slattery Mounted Fut.
- The phrase to meet one's Waterloo (or similar) has entered the English language as a word signifying a great test with a final and decisive outcome- usually a negative one, in recognition of Napoleon's defeat.
- The Waterloo Medal was issued to all ranks of the British Army who participated, including supposedly a baby born on the field to one unit's auxiliary woman aide. It was one of the first general medals issued. One can be seen with Wellington's uniform in the basement at Apsley House.
- When French President Jacques Chirac visited the UK to celebrate the centenary of the Entente Cordiale, the Waterloo Room in Windsor Castle was renamed the Music Room, and then renamed the Waterloo Room following Chirac's departure.
- The famous quote attributed to Wellington "The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton" was probably apocryphal. Unlike his older brother, Wellington was not an academic success at Eton; on one of his rare visits back there, the only athletic activities he could remember were skipping across a brook, and fisticuffs with a fellow student. See also Wikiquote