6.8/10
7,859
54 user 26 critic

War and Peace (1956)

Napoleon'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 »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

War and Peace (1966)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A Russian Prince experiences battle against Napoleon and a troubled relationship with his father and wife. Finds acceptance of her death and eventually his chance of true love. A spoiled, ... See full summary »

Director: Sergey Bondarchuk
Stars: Lyudmila Saveleva, Vyacheslav Tikhonov, Sergey Bondarchuk
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When a measles epidemic forces the temporary closing of a child care center, the son of a film star and her estranged husband, a concert pianist, is mistakenly delivered to a touring musician.

Directors: Jean Boyer, Lester Fuller
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Jules Munshin, Cara Williams
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The sprightly young assistant of a Hollywood screenwriter helps him over his writer's block by acting out his fantasies of possible plots.

Director: Richard Quine
Stars: William Holden, Audrey Hepburn, Grégoire Aslan
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After leaving a wealthy Belgian family to become a nun, Sister Luke struggles with her devotion to her vows during crisis, disappointment, and World War II.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Peter Finch, Edith Evans
Funny Face (1957)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An impromptu fashion shoot at a book store brings about a new fashion model discovery in the shop clerk.

Director: Stanley Donen
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A young man in the jungles of Venezuela meets a strange girl of the forest and falls in love with her.

Director: Mel Ferrer
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Anthony Perkins, Lee J. Cobb
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A couple in the south of France non-sequentially spin down the highways of infidelity in their troubled ten-year marriage.

Director: Stanley Donen
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, Eleanor Bron
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A troublemaking student at a girls' school accuses two teachers of being lesbians.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A middle-aged playboy becomes fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn, Maurice Chevalier
Secret People (1952)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

This tale of intrigue finds Valentina Cortese involved in an assassination plot. She helps the police apprehend the conspirators after an innocent bystander is accidentally killed.

Director: Thorold Dickinson
Stars: Valentina Cortese, Serge Reggiani, Charles Goldner
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The neighbors of a frontier family turn on them when it is suspected that their adopted daughter was stolen from the local Kiowa tribe.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Audrey Hepburn, Audie Murphy
The Condemned (TV Movie 1956)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

Sean Connery at his blistering best. He dies at the end. Maybe, I don't want to spoil it. Mongoose.

Stars: André Morell, John Westbrook, Edward Mulhare
Edit

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
Edit

Storyline

By 1812, Napoleon's forces controlled much of Europe. Russia, one of the few countries still unconquered, prepares to face Napoleon's troops together with Austria. Among the Russian soldiers are Count Nicholas Rostov and Prince Andrei Bolkonsky. Count Pierre Bezukhov, 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, Nicholas's sister, but she is too young, so he gives in to baser desires and marries the shallow, manipulative Princess Helene. 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. Months later, Pierre and Andrei meet again. Andrei sees Natasha and falls in love, but his father will only permit the marriage if they postpone it for one year until Natasha turns 17. While Andrei is away on a military mission, ... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Conflicts, Loves, Passions, Drama, You Live Through a Supreme Experience as "War and Peace" Comes Alive On The Screen! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA | Italy

Language:

English | Italian | Russian

Release Date:

21 August 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Krieg und Frieden See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$12,500,000
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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Herbert Lom reprised his role as Napoleon from The Young Mr. Pitt (1942), in which John Mills (Platon Karataev) played William Wilberforce. 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

Natasha Rostov: When I finally say I love you to any man and really mean it, it will be like a defeated general who's lost all his troops, surrendering and handing his sword to the enemy.
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 »

Connections

Version of War and Peace (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Die Rose von Nowgorod
(uncredited)
Music by Nino Rota
Lyrics by Wolfgang Schrauth and S.Krapp
Sung by Zarah Leander
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"You can't hate something you don't know"
5 September 2011 | by Steffi_PSee all my reviews

If you want to bring such an vast, sweeping yet intensely human novel such as Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace to the screen with both its breadth and depth intact you can do either one of two of things. You can film it page-for-page, and make an eight-hour behemoth, as Sergei Bondarchuk did with the 1960s Russian production. Or, you can prune it down to something more manageable, excising whole characters and subplots, but recreating certain sections of Tolstoy's work more or less verbatim to preserve what is vital about his work. This latter is the approach taken for Dino de Laurentiis's 1956 Italian-American co-production.

The narrative here focuses mainly on just three of Tolstoy's characters – Pierre, Natasha and Alexei – portrayed by Henry Fonda, Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer respectively. Fonda is really too old to play the youthful Pierre, but he is not as severely miscast as some have said, pulling off the early scenes of Pierre as the gangly, drunken student with a fair degree of believability. Hepburn brilliantly handles the aging of her character, transforming the naïve teenager into a mature and confident woman while still maintaining the same core persona. If only something as complementary could be said of Mel Ferrer, who takes to acting the same way anvils take to floating. His appallingness is matched only by the woman who plays his wife, Milly Vitale. There are some decent supporting players though. Herbert Lom gives a surprisingly heartfelt performance as Napoleon. Oskar Homolka brilliantly plays the archetypal scruffy old general who's too high-ranking and experienced to bother with all that decorum business, his gestures forceful but with a half-hearted brevity to them. And John Mills is bizarrely like someone out of a Monty Python film.

Director King Vidor was a veteran of old Hollywood and just the sort of director to handle the mix of big canvas and intimacy. He shows what must have been extraordinary patience in setting up hordes of extras, carts and cannons for authentic looking crowd scenes, but then makes them a briefly glimpsed backdrop, never really dwelling on the massive scope or showing it off for its own sake. This seemingly contradictory tack gives us a sense of the story happening in a real place, but never allows it to detract from the main players and their stories. Vidor is constantly implying things with the simplest of cinematic tricks, and this helps to make up for the gaps in plot that the adaptation necessitates. For example, when Hepburn and Vittorio Gassman kiss at the opera, the angle gradually changes to reveal the reflection of a door in a mirror. This subtle move plants the idea in our heads that someone may walk in on them, and it gives the moment a sense of unease and wrongness. Vidor's canny ability to suggest mood and temperament, particularly evident in his framing of the inner monologues during the dance scene, also helps to cover any deficit in the acting.

At three-and-a-half hours, this is still quite a long old movie. And yet, thanks to some compelling imagery and strong narrative it moves faster than many a 90-minuter. Shorn of much of Tolstoy's original material as it is, it is still long enough to give us that feeling of the passage of time and development of character, to make Fonda's transition from a foppish lad in Western European attire to a bearded man in Russian garb feel like more than just a change of clothes. This version of War and Peace certainly has a fair few things wrong with it, yet still manages to be a lucid and passionate – if not entirely faithful – adaptation of a great work of literature.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 54 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed