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War and Peace (1956)

PG | | Drama, Romance, War | 21 August 1956 (USA)
Napoleon's tumultuous relations with Russia including his disastrous 1812 invasion serve as the backdrop for the tangled personal lives of two aristocratic families.

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Writers:

(based on the novel by), (adaptation) | 5 more credits »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Field Marshal Kutuzov (as Oscar Homolka)
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Prince Vasili Kuragin
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Lisa Bolkonskaya
Lea Seidl ...
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Maria Bolkonskaya
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Prince Bolkonsky (as Wilfred Lawson)
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Storyline

By 1812, Napoleon's forces controlled much of Europe. Russia, one of the few countries still unconquered, prepares to face Napoleon's troops together with Austria. Among the Russian soldiers are Count Nicholas Rostov and Prince Andrei Bolkonsky. Count Pierre Bezukhov, a friend of Andrei's and self-styled intellectual who is not interested in fighting. Pierre's life changes when his father dies, leaving him a vast inheritance. He is attracted to Natasha Rostov, Nicholas's sister, but she is too young, so he gives in to baser desires and marries the shallow, manipulative Princess Helene. The marriage ends when Pierre discovers his wife's true nature. Andrei is captured and later released by the French, and returns home only to watch his wife die in childbirth. Months later, Pierre and Andrei meet again. Andrei sees Natasha and falls in love, but his father will only permit the marriage if they postpone it for one year until Natasha turns 17. While Andrei is away on a military mission, ... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Greatest Novel Ever Written ... Now Magnificently Alive On The Screen! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

21 August 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La guerra y la paz  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$12,500,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)| (as Perspecta Stereophonic Sound ® by Suonitalia Studio - Rome -)

Color:

(Technicolor) (as Technicolor®)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marlon Brando was considered for the role of Pierre, but he did not want to work with Audrey Hepburn. See more »

Goofs

During the duel scene, the participants are using percussion pistols which were introduced circa 1820's, fifteen years after the events of this film. See more »

Quotes

Natasha Rostov: When I finally say I love you to any man and really mean it, it will be like a defeated general who's lost all his troops, surrendering and handing his sword to the enemy.
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Crazy Credits

Closing credits epilogue: The most difficult thing - but an essential one - is to love Life, to love it even while one suffers, because Life is all. Life is God, and to love Life means to love God. Tolstoy "WAR and PEACE" See more »


Soundtracks

Grande Valse Brillante
(uncredited)
by Frédéric Chopin (Waltz n°1 in E flat major)
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User Reviews

Decent Adaptation of Vast Novel but of its time
2 October 2002 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

I've read the book and seen this version several times. The main drawback is of course time.

Thus, it must inevitably slight: a) many of the characters who bring joy to reading the novel - the princely father of the Kuragins, Sonja's story, Nicholas falling in love with Marya, the forgiveness by Bolkonsky (Ferrer) of Anatole Kuragin when his leg is amputated on a table beside which he is lain out, etc. and b) much of the philosophy contained in the book - whether about the masons or the purpose of life.

However, as a sort of highlights version of the novel, I thought it dealt well with the main lines of the plot.

It also is clearly 1950s film-making. There is little sense indoors of the lighting of the time, the sets look generally clean or deliberately destroyed (rather than mysterious and gloomy). In fact, the entire film appears all too clearly delineated - there is little of the kind of murkiness one would find in such a movie being made today - say, the way Schindler's List looks - or The Last Emperor looks.

The movie is also benefitted by having Audrey Hepburn, Anita Ekberg and John Mills - physically they are EXACTLY what I imagined of these characters - and I thought Mills and Hepburn were excellent. (And what Ekberg lacked in ability to convey emotion, she gained from her jaw-dropping embodiment of the buxom blonde!). The Henry Fonda choice for Bezuhov is an odd one - he's not the first person I think of when I think of a huge heavy awkward bear of a man. He did the best he could but was clearly miscast. Prince Bolkonsky (the father) and the Count and Countess Rostov were first rate - so were the choices for Napoleon, Homolka as Kutuzov, Kuragin, Dolokhov and the Rostov family. Mel Ferrer was ok - but imagine, say, the Terence Stamp of Far From the Madding Crowd and how he could have done.

All in all, this is clearly a movie of its time in cinematography, sets, the clearly drawn lines of the script - but it is entertaining and does about as well as possible in dramatizing in 3 1/2 hours a book of over 1000 pages.


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