Eight-hour epic based on the book of the same name by Lev Tolstoy. Two main story-lines are complex and intertwined. One is the love story of young Countess Natasha Rostova and Count Pierre Bezukhov, who is unhappy in his marriage. Another is the "Great Patriotic War" of 1812 against the invading Napoleon's Armies. The people of Russia from all classes of society stand up united against the enemy. 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 burned down, but soon Napoleon loses control and has to flee. Both sides suffer tremendous losses in the war, and Russian society is left irrevocably changed.Written by
Eugene Fraga and Steve Shelokhonov
The "first dance" by Natasha Rostova and Anderi Bolkonsky was filmed in twenty five takes with over 150 actors, musicians and stunts involved. See more »
When some of the characters are attending the opera,
"L'incoronazione di Poppea" by Claudio Monteverdi is being performed. It premiered in Venice in 1642, but by the time that the story takes place (ca. 1807), it had been lost and all but forgotten. A score wasn't rediscovered until 1888, and the first modern performance was given in 1905. The anachronism is probably intentional since Monteverdi's tale of the destructiveness of erotic desire foreshadows the events immediately after that scene. See more »
And not for this day and hour alone were the mind and conscience of this man darkened, on whom the burden of events weighed more heavily than on all the others who took part in it. Never, to the end of his life, had he the least comprehension of goodness, of beauty or of truth, or of the significance of his actions, which were too contrary to goodness and truth, too remote from everything human for him ever to understand their meaning. He could not disavow his deeds, lauded as they were by half...
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There are three different versions: The American release, a 360 minute film in two parts (dubbed in English). The Russian release, a series of four films totaling 403 minutes (see also Vojna i mir I: Andrei Bolkonsky (1965), 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; this is a mistake due to the longer lengths of 70mm prints. See more »
The best film ever made, ESPECIALLY when taking into account all the logistics - the Soviet Government as a film studio?? (sort of makes sense, after you picture Leonid Brezhnev as Louis B. Mayer), and the world's most infamous LONG novel turned into a megamotion picture.
It probably hasn't been seen in the US on a broad scale since ABC had the good sense to run it as a four part late-night special in early 1973 (anyone else remember)?
Not even subtitles - for those of us who are not true foreign film buffs, I mean - can hurt this film. Bondarchuk's amazing direction, as well as his acting, is breathtaking. The Russian people have been celebrated as lovers of great writing and the subject at hand, "War and Peace", becomes a poem at the conclusion.
Truly magnificent from every level - as a period piece, a psychological drama, a war movie, a love story, a history...Tolstoy would be universally acclaimed ahead of Shakespeare if he (Tolstoy) had the good sense to be from England...
Don't miss it. How the Soviet Government, at the height of the Cold War, could finance and produce a masterpiece like this is one of the great mysteries of the 20th century. Give Bondarchuk the credit.
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