War and Peace

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Paramount Released 1956

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Movie Summary

Director:
King Vidor
Released:
1956
Rating:
PG

War And Peace (1956), based on the epic 19th-century novel by Count Leo Tolstoy, is set against the backdrop of Napoleon's disastrous incursion into Russia in the early years of the century. Prince Andrei Bolkonsky volunteers to fight against the invader, but his intellectual friend Pierre Bezukhov remains at home in Moscow, inheriting a title, lands and a fortune when his father dies. The unworldly Pierre soon finds himself suckered into marriage with the selfish and deceitful Helene, although he secretly loves the beautiful Natasha, daughter of the aristocratic Rostov family. The invasion of Russia brings about vast and incalculable changes in the fortunes of all these friends, and tragedy repeatedly befalls before Napoleon is expelled from the country and Pierre and Natasha are finally united. Directed on a colossal scale by the veteran King Vidor, War And Peace is a very satisfying and enjoyable version of a literary masterpiece.

Metacritic Score

  • 90

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    Mr. Patwardhan has located so much information and found so many willing interview subjects that his War and Peace has a riveting intelligence all its own and earns its epic title.

  • 70

    Variety David Stratton

    Though long-winded and discursive, the professionally assembled material is of immense interest and importance in reminding the viewer of the threat to world peace posed by the con...

  • 40

    TV Guide Maitland McDonagh

    Patwardhan offers no solutions, but poses disturbing questions.

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn

Natasha Rostova

Henry Fonda

Henry Fonda

Pierre Bezukhov

Mel Ferrer

Mel Ferrer

Prince Andrei Bolkonsky

Vittorio Gassman

Vittorio Gassman

Anatol Kuragin

John Mills

John Mills

Platon Karataev

Oskar Homolka

Oskar Homolka

Field Marshal Kutuzov

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The making of this six-million-dollar epic was filled with difficulties, mostly due to the intransigence of producer Dino De Laurentiis, who quarrelled vigorously with both director King Vidor and leading man Henry Fonda. Vidor and Fonda didn't get on with each other much, either, both feeling Fonda was miscast. Vidor later revealed that he would have preferred either Peter Ustinov or Paul Scofield for the part.

  • QUOTES (2)

  • NOTES (1)

    • In addition to featuring six credited screenwriters, the film had several other contributors to the screenplay, including Irwin Shaw and the director's wife, Elizabeth Hill.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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Themes

Epics, Military & War, Love & Romance, Historical, Classics