War & Peace: Season 1 (2016)

Season 1
War & Peace

Critics Consensus

War & Peace boasts sumptuous visuals and the narrative remains largely faithful to its sprawling source material, even if the pace may challenge less patient viewers and the period detail is slightly lacking.



Critic Ratings: 25


Audience Score

User Ratings: 227

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Air date: Jan 18, 2016

In the series premiere, Pierre Bezukhov inherits his father's fortune, leaving him at the mercy of fortune seekers; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky goes off to war, leaving his pregnant wife at home; and Natasha Rostov worries about her brother Nikolai who has also left to fight in the war.

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Air date: Jan 25, 2016

Pierre defeats Dolokhov in a duel, despite his lack of experience with guns, and tells Helene he is leaving her; Andrei returns from war just as his wife is about to give birth; Nikolai invites Dolokhov to his estate to recover; Andrei expresses remorse to Pierre about the war; and Prince Bolkonsky asks Andrei to convince Count Rostov to contribute more to the militia.

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Air date: Feb 1, 2016

Natasha has doubts about Andrei's love for her. Later: she meets Helene and Anatole at the opera and finds herself being charmed by Anatole, sparking a heated conflict that brings Pierre into the mix as well. Elsewhere: the French army approaches Russia.

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Air date: Feb 8, 2016

Pierre goes to battle; Napoleon withdraws his army and regroups; Andrei suffers a bad injury; and Natasha opens up her home to wounded soldiers. Also: Pierre is brought before the French general and the Rostovs take shelter in a cottage in Mytishchi and Andrei reunites with Andrei.

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News & Interviews for War & Peace: Season 1

Critic Reviews for War & Peace Season 1

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (13)

Now enter this latest version, which not only has to make its own sense of that sprawl but stand shoulder to shoulder with all those other versions. It's a wonder that it does, and then some.

Jan 19, 2016 | Rating: A | Full Review…

This was fantastic to look at, generally, with mises en scène so lavish and spectacular - those palaces! - that it made today's super-rich look rubbish, made it look as if they live in back-to-backs in Bradford with outside toilets.

Aug 31, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

This is a series far better than your average Downton-style Sunday bodice ripper.

Feb 10, 2016 | Full Review…

I can't remember the last time I was so seduced by the storytelling or sublime visual power of a TV drama.

Feb 8, 2016 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

As an expression of what lies beyond, above and below the mixed-up affairs of men, nature matters very much here. If that isn't clear, if you can't feel it, the bottom falls out of the story. But the bottom stays put.

Jan 19, 2016 | Full Review…

The cast and pervasive prettiness of the surroundings may be enough to encourage some viewers to seek out Tolstoy to fill in and make sense of the myriad limitations and gaps.

Jan 19, 2016 | Full Review…

In a relatively modest way, the mini-series does provide some sense of the great events that shaped the Tolstoy novel-namely, the aftermath of the world-altering French revolution.

Feb 25, 2021 | Full Review…

In truth, the miniseries hooks and excites. [Full review in Spanish]

May 6, 2020 | Full Review…

The production values are all out, the cast is largely strong and somehow, in a sea of characters, each one is distinctive and easy to recognise from the others.

Oct 3, 2019 | Full Review…

War & Peace is entertaining, and novel, it is a feast of good actors in a powerful production of those who begin to give credit to the emerging sector of series in Europe. [Full Review in Spanish]

Jul 11, 2018 | Full Review…

While Tolstoy's novel may have been a slog, there's no way anyone can be anything other than gripped and enthralled by the BBC's lavish production of War And Peace.

Aug 10, 2017 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

There's back-stabbing, social-climbing, all sorts of skulduggery and the whole thing looks utterly beautiful with furry hats and velvet capes aplenty. It's a must-see for period drama fans.

Apr 19, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for War & Peace: Season 1

  • Feb 09, 2021
    Beautiful show that gives a new light to the classic story. Lily James gave an innocent Natasha that everyone has such pity for, and Paul Dano gave a wonderful performance as Pierre.
  • Mar 11, 2019
    I loved it. The acting, the pacing, the cinematography. It was great.
  • Jan 17, 2019
    Excellent photography and acting; however, the miniseries strips all of the philosophy out of the film. It becomes just another pretty story with little to no philosophical substance. For an excellent version see the 1972 BBC series version with Anthony Hopkins. This is still the best version with some of the philosophy included.
  • Nov 09, 2018
    Thank you BBC for even trying this huge production. Some sad war scenes take the breath away. The cast, cinematography, clothes and horsey people, where great. Well done who ever signed off on this production.
  • Oct 30, 2018
    First half sort of ok but then the story turns ridiculous, followed by hours of soppiness. The story itself is simply dated and silly.
  • Feb 04, 2018
    All's fair in love and war! SEASON 01: The war and wealth, the romance and deceives, the fictional Russia of the 1800s. First of all I've never seen the series or film adapted from theis book. This is my first version of any format. So it's high excitement time, since I like Leo Tolstoy works. It did not disappoint me. The BBC had done it again. Yep, another wonderful adaptation. Great casting and shot in location, or to say the graphic works were done wonderfully. Nice costumes show as well, in the original Russian classic style. It starts with war and ends with the same. Surrounded by lots of historical figures. Basically, it's about five royal class families. How their lives turn out during the Russian war against the Napoleon's France. Focused on the younger generation who are about to take over everything from their elders. So they have to decide, very big decision that's going to change their lives and the nations forever. The romance is also the part of the tale. Being very rich or about to lose their wealth, they have to find true love. But in some cases, the love is a game plan for a better future. So there's deceive and cheats involved. Patriotically, and sentimentally the tale unfold, where the Russian fate hangs. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but one thing that bothered me was the English adaptation. Imagine if it was entirely in Russian with subtitles, that would have been so awesome. Particularly that sound of the language and musics and locations, all would have matched so perfectly. In the poster, Lily James in the front, but that's done for the marketing purpose, because of her popularity among other cast. While watching the series it was a different experience. A well balanced characters, lots of things happened, like that takes us to the real 19th century. One of the best periodic drama which overwhelmed by war and romance theme. I think it is a muse see. 8/10
  • Oct 04, 2017
    I find this version very rewatchable & more immersive than most. I usually save Barry Lyndon for special occasions (no more than once a week), and I also indulge Russian Ark often. This, Amadeus, & Marie Antoinette scratches that itch in between.
  • Aug 31, 2017
    Your average, pretty good British period drama.
  • Jun 06, 2017
    Visually dazzling and even better acted, W&P is a really engrossing period drama. Though some may find the pace slow, the series is very deliberate; it never meaders.
  • May 30, 2017
    Worst serial ever. Don't waste your time

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