Eight-hour epic based on the book of the same name by Leo Tolstoy. Two main story-lines are complex and intertwined. One is the love story of young Countess Natasha Rostova and Count Pierre... See full summary »
With World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution, and the Russian Civil War as backdrop, it's an old-fashioned, blood-and-guts narrative, filled with earthly humor and a wealth of colorful ... See full summary »
F. Murray Abraham
The story of a man (Andrey Sokolov) whose life was ruthlessly crippled by World War II. His wife and daughters were killed during the bombing of his village, he spent some time as a ... See full summary »
Director Nikita Mikhalkov documents the history of Russia from 1980 to 1991 by annually asking his daughter Anna such questions as "What do you love the most?", "What scares you the most?",... See full summary »
Tamara and Sasha were separated during the war. Now (1957) Sasha is visiting Moscow for five days and by chance recognizes the house where Tamara used to live. She is still living there with her nephew Slava.
Stunning WWII flying sequences as the Soviet Air Force battles the Luftwaffe. Veteran Russian pilots teach their new recruits about life, death & love. When the older men fly into battle, ... See full summary »
"An event took place that was contrary to all human reason and human nature"
Part Two of Sergei Bondarchuk's 'War and Peace' was a rather quiet and contemplative affair, an exploration of a young woman's romantic development amid conflicting emotions and temptations. By the conclusion of Part Three, there has been very little character development of this sort, and Natasha Rostova (Lyudmila Savelyeva) makes only a solitary appearance in an early sequence that highlights the uneasy intimacy of her relationship with Pierre Bezukhov (Sergei Bondarchuk). The director seems to have decided that personal affairs are no longer important this episode is about war! With a brief running time of 84 minutes, 'War and Peace III: 1812 (1967)' nonetheless contains among the most awe-inspiring depictions of conflict ever committed to film, surpassing even the grandeur of the Bondarchuk's work in Part One and later in 'Waterloo (1970).' Over the course of his film's production, the director sustained no less than two heart attacks as one might expect, one of these came about during his recreation of the Battle of Borodino. I really can't blame him.
This battle, which lasts the bulk of the film's running time, is a genuine battering of the senses, film-making of such overwhelming excessiveness that it just about places the viewer amidst the blasts of smoke and the shudder of cannon-fire. After somehow securing the support of the Soviet Government, Bondarchuk employed full use of their resources, and conscripted 120,000 men to help recreate the Russian Army's mighty encounter with Napoleon Bonaparte's forces. Unlike the great battle in Part One, which seemed somewhat detached and impersonal, the Battle of Borodino focuses closely on the perspective of Prince Andrei (Vyacheslav Tikhonov), who has accepted that he may be dead by the day's end, and Pierre Bezukhov, whose clean civilian attire contrasts harshly with the dirty and ragged clothing of the weary soldiers. Of course, Bondarchuk can't resist regular use of his trademark sweeping overhead shots, but every detail is so meticulously orchestrated that one can only stare in fascination. What Part Three lacks in emotional depth, it more than makes up for in pure, uninhibited chaos the chaos engineered to perfection.
Like most extravagant war films, 'War and Peace (1967)' boasts a curiously-duplicitous attitude towards combat. We are reminded frequently of the inanity of war, and yet Bondarchuk simultaneously celebrates its necessity; no director can expend so much effort on a battle without glorifying it to no small extent. The narrator's final words, perhaps sourced from Tolstoy's original novel, are shamelessly patriotic and no doubt designed to elicit nationalistic cheers from the Russian audience "a moral victory which compels the enemy to recognize the moral superiority of his opponent and his own impotence was won by the Russians at Borodino." Even though the Battle of Borodino ended in a bloody stalemate, the French troops were afflicted with sufficient losses to withdraw their offensive. Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (Vladislav Strzhelchik) is unsympathetically portrayed as a cold, remorseless strategist ("Never, to the end of his life, had he the least comprehension of goodness, of beauty or of truth, or of the significance of his actions "), a far cry from Rod Steiger's interpretation just three years later.
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