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
Napoleon refers to Moscow as the capital of Russia. Moscow had not been Russia's capital since 1732. Saint Petersburg was the capital during the Napoleonic wars. Moscow was not restored as Russia's capital until 1918. See more »
[about retreating from Moscow]
Russia's ancient and sacred capitol? Allow me to tell you, Your Excellency, that that question has no meaning for a Russian! Such a question cannot be put! It's senseless! The question I've asked you and these gentlemen to meet and discuss is a military one! The question is of saving Russia! Is it better to give up Moscow without a battle or, by accepting battle, lose the army as well as Moscow? Well, gentlemen, I see I am the one who has to pay for the broken ...
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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 »
Beautiful movie to look at (Cinematography Oscar nom was well earned). Fine epic movie score. Good direction and editing. Some of the best costume work ever put on film. No one even today could do a finer job of costuming.
Mel Ferrer is nowhere near the same league as Omar Sharif was in "Zhivago". Sharif was great, Ferrer just average. Ferrer is a major drawback. In contrast, Fonda displays tremendous acting ability (not having read the book I can concentrate on his performance rather than whether he looks the part). Hepburn is perfection and she delivers a great acting performance.
Yes it is a 1950's style movie, which of course has some dated aspects. However, in the case of costume, cinematography and some of the acting you couldn't see better in a film of any era. This is an impressive effort all-around.
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