The film starred Rod Steiger (portraying Napoleon Bonaparte) and Christopher Plummer (portraying the Duke of Wellington). Orson Welles makes a couple of brief appearances as King Louis XVIII of France. Other stars included Jack Hawkins, Virginia McKenna and Dan O'Herlihy.
It includes tens of thousands of Russian soldiers as extras, which brings an epic quality to the battle scenes. This is particularly true of the panning aerial shots of Marshal Ney's cavalry charging up and over the escarpment to break like a wave around the red rocks of British squares. The slow motion section of the charge of the Scots Greys is a tribute to the picture "Scotland Forever!" by Lady Butler in Leeds City Art Gallery.