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 »
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
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 »
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 »
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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