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...
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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 »
King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... 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 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
This film is erroneously believed to be the most expensive film in history. It is also maintained that it employed the largest army of extras ever. Both assertions are wrong. While the Soviet statement it cost $100 million (in 1967 terms) was oft repeated in the American press upon the film's release in the US, the protocols of the USSR's State Cinema Committee from 25.8.1965 reveal that its approved budget was 8.5 million ruble, of which 2.51M were to be paid to the military for its services. The producers' financial statements set their total expenditures on "War and Peace" to have been 8,291,712 ruble after its completion in August 1967. Though a huge sum in Soviet terms, it was equal to $9,213,013 by the contemporary exchange rate and, considering ruble inflation, about 2 billion ruble in 2012 (~$67 million under the 2012 rate). In addition, the famous claim that 120,000 soldier extras participated in the recreation of the Battle of Borodino was denied by director Bondarchuk himself, who told National Geographic when asked about this (Peter. T. White, "The World of Tolstoy", June 1986 issue): "That is exaggeration, all I had was 12,000." See more »
Towards the end of the Battle of Borodino sequence (Part III - 1812), there are a few seconds where the shadow of the camera can be seen clearly. This is when the camera is moving along a trench, and a cannon falls nearby it. See more »
The film was produced by Mosfilm. Their current website lists running times of 255 minutes for parts one and two combined; 104 minutes for part 3; and 125 minutes for part 4; a total of 484 minutes. They also say that it was "restored" in 1988, which may mean (they don't explain) that in that year it was trimmed of perhaps some ideological additions which were demanded of the director when he originally filmed it. The DVD put out by the Russian Cinema Council (RusCiCo) is 403 minutes, and is currently the longest version out there, and the only one in the correct aspect ratio. See more »
War and Peace, to many, is synonymous with a colossus of a book. The ultimate door-stopper. It is among the most complex and epic works of literature ever written. In 19th century Moscow and St-Petersburg, youths grow, make their mistakes hearts are bound and then broken and then the great war against Napoleon tears all these lives apart. Leo Tolstoy created intimate portrayals, compelling characters and epic action, telling the story of an entire country and an entire era effortlessly and elegantly. So if books are often difficult to adapt, this one should be completely impossible (witness the shallow King Vidor adaptation).
This film is the stuff of legends. Reportedly one of the most expensive productions ever created, Sergei Bondarchuk's "War and Peace" benefited from the Red Army's involvement and the Soviet Government's financing, and clocks in at about 7 hours. It is as faithful to its source as could be imaginable. In fact, it almost transcends its source.
Admirably cast (the angelic Liudmila Savelieva is ideal as Natasha Rostova and the director was unbelievably wise in casting himself as Pierre Besukhov), elegantly transcribed into a witty screenplay and enacted with class and conviction by its immense cast, "War and Peace" is not just a good adaptation. Its merits as a film are colossal. The cinematography defies any other film, particularly during the battle scenes: rejecting the painterly staticism of Barry Lyndon and the simple charging and distant shots of older films, the violence in Sergei Bondarchuk's epic mirrors that of Kingdom of Heaven (2005!!!), as the camera flies over a never-ending battlefield at full speed, glides aver frantic canons and divisions, crashes into mêlées and follows haunting stampedes of riderless horsemen (a potent metaphor for how the great leaders of the time lost all control over the conflict's proportions). All this without a pixel of CGI in sight (and all the better for it as it presents shots that the eye would simply refuse to believe if generated by a computer) The epic battle of before the sack of Moscow is so colossal and devastating, that even Napoleon looks confused at how to feel before the ocean of corpses sprawled before him. This is the greatest display of cinematic warfare ever committed to the screen. That the calmer scenes manage to sustain that level of excellence is a testament to how grandiose an effort this film is. The display of repressed emotions and overt tenderness are heart-breaking and many episodic scenes stand out magnificently, such as the wolf hunt, the opening balls (easily rivaling anything in "Il Gattopardo") and the duel. This is a film to which the fantastic "Dr Zhivago" feels like a small appetizer Bondarchuk's "War and Peace" reaches beyond the book and in doing so successfully is one of the greatest motion pictures of all time. It is cinematic poetry and entertainment of the highest order. And to sum things up in an overused but never more appropriate than here they'll never make'em like this again.
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