War and Peace (1956)
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Movie InfoThis film is a commendable attempt to boil down Leo Tolstoy's long, difficult novel into 208 minutes' screen time. In re-creating the the social and personal upheavals attending Napoleon's 1812 invasion of Russia, $6 million was shelled out by coproducers Carlo Ponti, Dino de Laurentiis, and Paramount Pictures.
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Critic Reviews for War and Peace
Alas, the human stories that Tolstoy told so significantly in the book are sketchy and inconsequential, despite the time devoted to them.
A stilted and ponderous epic about Napoleon's failed Russian invasion of 1812.
Spectacle galore starring Hepburn and Fonda.
Audience Reviews for War and Peace
The gentle Pierre and the warlike Andrei experience Napoleon's invasion of Russia.
This is not a film but a monument, a tribute, a love letter of Cliff's Notes to Tolstoy's novel. Though I must confess that I have yet to read the book, I can see lurking beneath the melodrama of the film Tolstoy's sharp characters and moral dilemmas. Tolstoy is so sharp a writer and such a master of inner monologue that no film could get inside the heads of these characters like his prose, and there lies the film's weakness. But despite its medium and the film's flaws, what lies beneath unfolds in fits and starts. And what fits and starts they are. The need for war but the reasonable repulsion of it, the dalliance of youth and the practiced certitude of adulthood, and the question of what makes militaries and states great are all themes that emerge if only in abstractions in King Vidor's epic film.
Overall, this is an ambitious project that fails because it cannot capture all the goals its source material sets, but it succeeds sublimely sometimes.
Henry Fonda and Audrey Hepburn are a reason to watch, even if it is CRAZY long and boring for long stints.More
Lumbering, stagnant version of an epic novel that could not possibly be covered in 3 1/2 hours. Miscasting is another major downfall of this production, Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda were great stars and very fine actors but they were the wrong ones for this film. Fine production design and beautiful photography do not an entertaining film make. A trial to sit through.More
What a very long epic film classic. Really interested drama story of international conflict, spectacular adventure, gripping intrigue and tragic romance set against the sweeping backdrop of Napoleon's invasion of Russia. It's also a bit familiar to 1939's Gone with the Wind. I found out this took five years to make at enormous cost; it is a cinematic treasure.More
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