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 »
A six-hour long epic (original director's cut) about the life of Don Cossacs in a village in southern Russia between 1912 and 1922. The leading character Grigori Melekhov is a rugged Cossac... 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
Original location of the historic route of Napoleon's Army at the Smolensk Road was used for filming. 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 »
War and Peace, to many, is synonymous with a colossus of a book. The ultimate door-stopper. It is among the most complex and epic works of literature ever written. In 19th century Moscow and St-Petersburg, youths grow, make their mistakes hearts are bound and then broken and then the great war against Napoleon tears all these lives apart. Leo Tolstoy created intimate portrayals, compelling characters and epic action, telling the story of an entire country and an entire era effortlessly and elegantly. So if books are often difficult to adapt, this one should be completely impossible (witness the shallow King Vidor adaptation).
This film is the stuff of legends. Reportedly one of the most expensive productions ever created, Sergei Bondarchuk's "War and Peace" benefited from the Red Army's involvement and the Soviet Government's financing, and clocks in at about 7 hours. It is as faithful to its source as could be imaginable. In fact, it almost transcends its source.
Admirably cast (the angelic Liudmila Savelieva is ideal as Natasha Rostova and the director was unbelievably wise in casting himself as Pierre Besukhov), elegantly transcribed into a witty screenplay and enacted with class and conviction by its immense cast, "War and Peace" is not just a good adaptation. Its merits as a film are colossal. The cinematography defies any other film, particularly during the battle scenes: rejecting the painterly staticism of Barry Lyndon and the simple charging and distant shots of older films, the violence in Sergei Bondarchuk's epic mirrors that of Kingdom of Heaven (2005!!!), as the camera flies over a never-ending battlefield at full speed, glides aver frantic canons and divisions, crashes into mêlées and follows haunting stampedes of riderless horsemen (a potent metaphor for how the great leaders of the time lost all control over the conflict's proportions). All this without a pixel of CGI in sight (and all the better for it as it presents shots that the eye would simply refuse to believe if generated by a computer) The epic battle of before the sack of Moscow is so colossal and devastating, that even Napoleon looks confused at how to feel before the ocean of corpses sprawled before him. This is the greatest display of cinematic warfare ever committed to the screen. That the calmer scenes manage to sustain that level of excellence is a testament to how grandiose an effort this film is. The display of repressed emotions and overt tenderness are heart-breaking and many episodic scenes stand out magnificently, such as the wolf hunt, the opening balls (easily rivaling anything in "Il Gattopardo") and the duel. This is a film to which the fantastic "Dr Zhivago" feels like a small appetizer Bondarchuk's "War and Peace" reaches beyond the book and in doing so successfully is one of the greatest motion pictures of all time. It is cinematic poetry and entertainment of the highest order. And to sum things up in an overused but never more appropriate than here they'll never make'em like this again.
41 of 42 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?