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War and Peace

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Overview

King Vidor's lavish adaptation of Tolstoy's War and Peace comes to DVD with a widescreen anamorphic transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The closed-captioned English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital Mono. English subtitles are accessible. Supplemental materials include the original theatrical trailer, and the trailer for the re-release. This is a decent release from Paramount that should please fans of the film.
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Overview

King Vidor's lavish adaptation of Tolstoy's War and Peace comes to DVD with a widescreen anamorphic transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The closed-captioned English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital Mono. English subtitles are accessible. Supplemental materials include the original theatrical trailer, and the trailer for the re-release. This is a decent release from Paramount that should please fans of the film.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Widescreen version; enhanced for 16:9 TVs; Dolby digital ; English mono; English subtitles; Theatrical trailer-behind the scenes of war and peace; Re-release theatrical trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
In spite of its three-hour length, this 1956 King Vidor film presents only a surface perusal of the panoramic, character-packed novel on which it is based, Russian writer Leo Tolstoy's two-inch-thick tome War and Peace. Nevertheless, the movie gives viewers just enough of the novel to allow them to browse Russian drawing rooms and battlefields and to eavesdrop on the lives and longings of people affected by the brutal war and social upheaval of 1805-1815. The acting is sometimes very good and sometimes very bad, while the cinematography and historical ambience are outstanding. The camera follows Pierre Bezuhov (Henry Fonda) as he wanders through a degenerate youth, a flawed marriage, and the turbulence of war, finally arriving at his true self: an idealist bent on helping others. Along the way, a dashing, sophisticated soldier, Prince Andrey Bolkonsky (Mel Ferrer) outcharms Bezuhoy for the hand of lovely Natasha Rostov (Audrey Hepburn). Fonda is good, Ferrer is mediocre, and Hepburn is excellent; however, modern audiences -- spoiled by the linguistic derring-do of such actors as Meryl Streep, Bob Hoskins, and Gwyneth Paltrow -- may balk at the hodgepodge of non-Russian accents. As the Russian characters go about their lives, the ominous advance of Napoleon and his army is ever on their minds. Herbert Lom (widely remembered as Peter Sellers' boss in the Pink Panther films) portrays the French despot with as much verve and panache as any actor who ever stepped into the role. On the other hand, buxom Swede Anita Ekberg is simply awful as Pierre Bezuhov's wife. Apparently, her presence in the film was a concession to prurience and box-office draw. All in all, though, Vidor's War and Peace is a decent production -- a keyhole that affords a glimpse into a gigantic novel and a world in turmoil.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/3/2002
  • UPC: 097360562644
  • Original Release: 1956
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Language: English
  • Time: 3:28:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Audrey Hepburn Natasha
Henry Fonda Pierre
Mel Ferrer Prince Andrei Bolkonsky
Vittorio Gassman Anatole
Anita Ekberg Helene
Oscar Homolka Gen. Mikhail Kutuzov
Herbert Lom Napoleon
John Mills Platon
Helmut Dantine Dolokhov
Milly Vitale Lise
Barry Jones Count Ilya Rostov
Wilfred Lawson Prince Nicholas Bolkonsky
Jeremy Brett Nicholas Rostov
Sean Barrett Petya Rostov
Anna Maria Ferrero Mary Bolkonskv
Tullio Carminatti Kuragin
Patrick Crean Denisov
Gertrude Flynn Peronskaya
Marisa Allasio Matriosa
Cesare Barbetti Young Boy
Vincent Barbi Balaga
Michael Billingsley Russian Soldier
Georges Brehat French Officer at Execution
Mai Britt
Guido Celano Napoleon's Officer
Geoffrey Copleston
David Crowley
Bob Cunningham Pierre's Second at Duel
Carlo Dale
Paul Davis Young French Officer
Mino Doro Russian General
John Douglas
Andre Eszterhazy Dolokhov's Second
Andrea Fantasia Constand
Charles Fawcett Russian Artillery Captain
Angelo Galassi
John Horne Old Gentleman Dancing with Natasha
Stephen Lang Tichon
Marianna Leibl Servant at Bolkonsky's
Alberto Carlo Lolli Rostov's Major-Domo
Clelia Matania Mlle. Georges
Richard McNamara De Beausset
Enrico Olivieri French Drummer
Piero Palermini Russian Artillery Lieutenant
Mimmo Palmara
Teresa Pellati Masa
Jerry Riggio
Alfredo Rizzo Soldiers During the Rostovs' Exile
Giacomo Rossi-Stuart Young Cossack
Umberto Sacripante Old Man
Lea Seidl Countess Rostov
John Stacey
Robert Stephens Officers Talking with Natasha During Exile
Gilberto Tofano Young Dying Soldier
Michael Tor Pope
Gualtiero Tumiati Pierre's Father
Joop van Hulzen Russian Officer
Maria Zanoli Mayra
Technical Credits
King Vidor Director, Screenwriter
Franz Bachelin Art Director
Bridget Boland Screenwriter
Mario Camerini Screenwriter
Jack Cardiff Cinematographer
Leo Cattozzo Editor
Mario Chiari Art Director
Ennio de Concini Screenwriter
Dino de Laurentiis Producer
Maria de Matteis Costumes/Costume Designer
Franco Ferrara Musical Direction/Supervision
Piero Gherardi Set Decoration/Design
Stuart Gilmore Editor
Guidarino Guidi Asst. Director
Ivo Perilli Screenwriter
Gianni Polidori Art Director
Nino Rota Score Composer
Irwin Shaw Screenwriter
Leo Tolstoy Source Author
Aldo Tonti Cinematographer
Robert Westerby Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Pierre Bezukhov
2. Dolokhov's for Debauchery
3. The Count Sleeps
4. Promises of Father and Son
5. Great Human Pleasures
6. Battle Plans and Duty
7. Home to Moscow
8. Lise's End
9. Duel in the Snow
10. Reunited With Andrei
11. The Honor of a Dance
12. Natasha's Impatience
13. Anatole Kuragin
14. A Subject for Gossip
15. Soldier's Words
16. Eve of War
17. An Interesting Morning
18. Horse Calvary Attack
19. Moscow Exodus
20. No One to Surrender
21. Spared and Not Spared
22. Private Monastery
23. Napoleon's Army Decay
24. The Animal Runs
25. Ensign Rostov's Bargain
26. Victory Is Complete
27. Wounded, But Still Standing
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Set Up
      Audio Option
         English
      Subtitle Options
         English
         None
   Trailers
      Theatrical Trailer
      Re-Release Theatrical Trailer
   Scene Selections
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    An Accessible Introduction

    Fans of both the novel and the undeniably great Russian film by Bonderchuk are very quick to put this version down. Being a fan of both of those myself, I cannot deny that this comes in second or third place. HOWEVER - if you are interested in finding out what the "infamous" War and Peace is all about and don't feel like reading 1200 pages of translated 19th century prose, or watching the 7 hour Russian film (and deal with bad dubbing, three languages, and a hefty price tag), then this version is for you. Granted, it lacks the authentic location shoots, costuming, and battles with 10,000+ extras, but it does manage to contain most of the main characters and follow most of the main plot lines. And Audrey Hepburn really is a magnificent Natasha. If you really want to experience War and Peace, read the novel and then watch the Russian version (the 5 DVD set from Rusico, NOT the butchered 3-disc version from Kultur) in the original Russian language (and skip the subtitles). But if that is too much to ask, check this version out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    What a bust - read the book instead

    How could one of the greatest novels ever written have been done with a worse cast and more awful acting. Audrey is of course gorgeous, but Henry Fonda is too old by 1 - 2 decades and Mel Ferrer is typically stiff. The only believable character per the book is Kutuzov. No wonder the film died.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Skimping on significant battles; not true to the book

    I was severely disappointed with this movie after reading the book. Princess Mary (or Maria depending on the translation) is supposed to be plain looking but is very attractive in the movie. The battle scenes are very brief and choppy, and the highlighted scenes, like the Battle of Austerlitz and Prince Bolkonsky rallying the the troops with the flag, look like they were thrown togther hastily. Very disappointing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Amazing!

    Audrey Hepburn is my favorite actress of all time. And War and Peace is one of my favorite movies of all time. The entire cast dose a swell job at bringing the tragic story to life, and you just can't beat Hepburn, Fonda, and Ferrer acting out a great Tolstoy classic!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

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