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War and Peace (1956)

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

Director:

King Vidor

Writers:

Leo Tolstoy (based on the novel by), Bridget Boland (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:
Audrey Hepburn ... Natasha Rostova
Henry Fonda ... Pierre Bezukhov
Mel Ferrer ... Prince Andrei Bolkonsky
Vittorio Gassman ... Anatol Kuragin
Herbert Lom ... Napoleon
Oskar Homolka ... Field Marshal Kutuzov (as Oscar Homolka)
Anita Ekberg ... Helene Kuragina
Helmut Dantine ... Dolokhov
Tullio Carminati ... Prince Vasili Kuragin
Barry Jones ... Prince Mikhail Andreevich Rostov
Milly Vitale ... Lisa Bolkonskaya
Lea Seidl Lea Seidl ... Countess Rostov
Anna Maria Ferrero ... Maria Bolkonskaya
Wilfrid Lawson ... Prince Bolkonsky (as Wilfred Lawson)
May Britt ... Sonia Rostova
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Storyline

By 1812, Napoleon's (Herbert Lom's) forces controlled much of Europe. Russia, one of the few countries still unconquered, prepares to face Napoleon's troops together with Austria. Amongst the Russian soldiers, are Count Nikolai Rostov (Jeremy Brett) and Prince Andrei Bolkonsky (Mel Ferrer). Count Pierre Bezukhov (Henry Fonda), 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 (Audrey Hepburn), Nikolai's sister, but she is too young, so he gives in to baser desires and marries the shallow, manipulative Princess Helene (Anita Ekberg). 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. A few months later, Pierre and Andrei meet again. Andrei sees Natasha and falls in love, but his father will only permit the marriage if ... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"A TRULY GREAT PICTURE!"--Los Angeles Enquirer See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Italy

Language:

English | Italian | Russian

Release Date:

21 August 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

War and Peace See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color (Technicolor) (as Technicolor®)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

May Britt (Sonia Rostova) and Anita Ekberg (Helene Kuragina) had their voices dubbed by others. See more »

Goofs

After the opera, when Anatole and Natasha meet, he approaches her from behind and puts his left hand on her shoulder. The next shot shows them a little way from each other. See more »

Quotes

Napoleon: [Thinking to himself as he gazes through the window] Already the wild geese are flying south. What if we are trapped here through winter?
See more »

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 »

Alternate Versions

Two different versions of the main titles exists. Both of them in English. In the one, the credits are set against a neutral background, in the other against details of a painting of Napoleon in front of his troops. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Donna Reed Show: Nothing Like a Good Book (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Masquerade Waltz
(uncredited)
Written by Aram Khachaturyan (as Aram Khachaturian)
Natasha's and Andrei dance
See more »

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User Reviews

Gorgeous to look at / Dreadful to hear
9 April 2003 | by kinolieberSee all my reviews

As another IMDb'er has mentioned, this film is one spectacular visual moment after another, but unfortunately with really terrible sound. The reason for the bad sound is that the film was produced at Cinecitta studios in Rome and at that time, all films there were shot without live sound. Everything was dubbed later: dialogue, music and all ambient sounds. In addition, recording facilities in Italy were primitive (this was only 11 years after the catastrophe of WWII), resulting in the canned quality of most of the dialogue. (One of the reasons Antonioni's films were such a breakthrough in the following decade was his use of live sound recording and location shooting).

Anyway, War and Peace is a most worthwhile film experience for Vidor and Cardiff's Technicolor Vistavision visuals, for the screenplay which is often quite beautifully written, and for many fine performances from some exceedingly charismatic film actors, especially the astonishing Audrey Hepburn. There are close-ups of her that will make your heart stop.


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