The 500,000 strong Napoleon's army moves through Russia and causes much destruction culminating in the battle of Borodino. The Russian army has to retreat. Moscow is occupied, looted and ... See full summary »
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 »
In July 1942, in the Second World War, the rearguard of the Red army protects the bridgehead of the Don River against the German army while the retreating soviet troops cross the bridge. ... See full summary »
The story of a man (Andrey Sokolov) whose life was ruthlessly crippled by World War II. His wife and daughters were killed during the bombing of his village, he spent some time as a ... See full summary »
There are three different versions: The American release, a 360 minute film in two parts (dubbed in English) (see also War and Peace (1968/I)). The Russian release, a series of four films totaling 403 minutes (see also Vojna i mir II: Natasha Rostova (1966), Vojna i mir III: 1812 god (1967) and Vojna i mir IV: Pierre Bezukhov (1967)). Most reviews (including Leonard Maltin's) list this film's running time as 507 minutes, suggesting an unreleased Director's Cut. See more »
So many good directors began their careers as actors. It's the last thing you'd expect. Bondarchuk, like surprisingly many other actors, knows how to handle a wide screen, how to enchant his images, how to keep seemingly mundane footage alive; he can handle everything from soliloquies to mammoth battle scenes; and he ALMOST manages to put it all together into a perfectly constructed seven-hour epic. Alas, not quite. Instalments three and four (three especially) have the air of having been made in the editing suite, after the director had failed to assemble all the shots he needed. But instalments one and two are perfect. Of the two, Part One is the more breathtaking ... not that there's anything wrong with Part Two, but its scope is narrower: it's heavily pre-occupied with its title character (Natasha), and the "war" part of the story is lost even as a backdrop.
The "war" scenes in Part One are the best in the whole four-part movie, by a long shot - mainly because they have a point. The scenes of Russia away from the front are all implicitly related to the war (and, by some magical means - it's all in Tolstoy, and I don't understand how it works there, either - to each other), and when we see the actual war, crystallised in a single battle, Bondarchuk (as Tolstoy was doing in the early parts of the book) is trying to convey something other than mere chaos.
Watch the whole four-part film. It's amazing. But almost all of the secret of its success is contained within Part One.
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