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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 SPECTACULAR MOVIE!"--Life Magazine (Original print ad - many caps) 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

In real-life, in a roundabout coincidence, Audrey Hepburn's partner at the time of her death became the partner of Henry Fonda's widow. See more »

Goofs

During a ball we hear Shostakovich's 2nd waltz. He was born 1906. See more »

Quotes

Platon Karatsev: [about the camp followers of Napoleon's retreating army] Russian women!
Pierre Bezukhov: They're the lice that live on the conquerors. They have to leave or die.
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

Featured in The Men Who Made the Movies: King Vidor (1973) 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

King Vidor's masterful version is simplified and stagey, but still beautifully done.
3 December 2002 | by TheVidSee all my reviews

This film version of Tolstoy's novel nicely captures the essence of his story. The VistaVision, Technicolor photography by Jack Cardiff give the the set pieces the look of a classic painting. Nino Rota's lavish score perfectly compliments the visuals. The casting is superb; and even though Fonda is physically wrong in the critical role of Pierre, his dignified persona makes up for it. Hepburn, as ever, is radiant as Natasha, and hits her marks perfectly. Anita Ekberg's superstructure alone brings Helene to life; Ferrer, Homolka and Mills are all, likewise, wonderful in this. The largely underappreciated Herbert Lom is absolutely brilliant as Napoleon. Practically speaking, this is a notable film adaptation of an enormous literary work, inspite of any comparisons one would care to make between the book and the movie.


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