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 »
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 »
In July 1942, in the Second World War, the rearguard of the Red army protects the bridgehead of the Don River against the German army while the retreating soviet troops cross the bridge. ... See full summary »
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 Bezukhov, who is unhappy in his marriage. Another is the "Great Patriotic War" of 1812 against the invading Napoleon's Armies. The people of Russia from all classes of society stand up united against the enemy. The 500,000 strong Napoleon's army moves through Russia and causes much destruction culminating in the battle of Borodino. The Russian army has to retreat. Moscow is occupied, looted and burned down, but soon Napoleon loses control and has to flee. Both sides suffer tremendous losses in the war, and Russian society is left irrevocably changed. Written by
Over 135 million people saw the film in the Soviet Union during 1966-68. See more »
When some of the characters are attending the opera,
"L'incoronazione di Poppea" by Claudio Monteverdi is being performed. It premiered in Venice in 1642, but by the time that the story takes place (ca. 1807), it had been lost and all but forgotten. A score wasn't rediscovered until 1888, and the first modern performance was given in 1905. The anachronism is probably intentional since Monteverdi's tale of the destructiveness of erotic desire foreshadows the events immediately after that scene. See more »
The epic accomplishment of this film will crush your skull.
If you can find it, watch it.
Admittedly, the 7 hour plus running time is pretty daunting, but consider the source material. This film deservedly won the best foreign picture Oscar when it was finally released in the U.S. The fact that a Soviet film was able to garner such an award during the height of the Cold War is a testament to its greatness.
There are 3 intermissions to this, the Pangaea of all epic films, and each section draws the viewer in more than the last. The spectacle will blow your mind in a way that digital effects never will be able to do. To actually see the Red Army (and what looks like all of it) marching in costume over the expanse of miles into the distance will change any prior notions of spectacle you held. Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments, whatever awed you before is chicken feed compared to the brutal grandeur of Bondarchuk's recreation of The War of 1812.
There are beautiful interludes of excellent acting amidst extremely costly sets--it's a shame I don't know Russian because those subtitles chew up a lot of exquisite scenery. The characters are fully developed, the direction is inspired (no run-of-the-mill static camera work in any of this).
They showed this in 70mm at The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood last year. Before that it was 10 years without a screening in the U.S. We can't afford to let this shimmering prize of film history lapse. In a theatre, or if it is ever issued on DVD, this movie will deeply reward all those who watch it. There was nothing as grand as War & Peace before; there will be nothing on its scale ever again. Treasure this masterpiece...if you can find it.
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