War & Peace

War & Peace

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In Tolstoy's timeless epic of love and loss, a circle of aristocrats finds their glittering world crumbling as war threatens imperial Russia. Set during the years of Napoleon's invasion of Russia, War and Peace follows the changing fortunes of brooding hero Prince Andrej, his bookish friend Pierre, and the spirited but nav̐e Natasha. As Napoleon₂s armies menace their privileged lives, the horrors of the battlefield reach into the elegant ballrooms and bedrooms of Moscow.
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (394 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in
Performers: Malcolm McDowell, Brenda Blethyn, Alessio Boni, Ken Duken, Alexander Beyer, Clemence Poesy.
Audience: MPAA rating: Not rated
Language Note: English dialogue; English subtitles
ISBN: 9781621721116
UPC: 054961211197
Call Number: DVD TV WAR
Alternative Title: War and peace


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Sep 06, 2016

This is a 2007 4-part 425-minute French-Italian miniseries directed by Robert Dornhelm.
Count Pierre Bezukhov is the central character and often a voice for Tolstoy's own beliefs or struggles.
He is the socially awkward illegitimate son of Count Kirill Vladimirovich Bezukhov, who has fathered dozens of illegitimate sons.
Educated in Paris, Pierre returns to Russia as a misfit.
His unexpected inheritance of a large fortune, however, makes him socially desirable.
Pierre's best friend is Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who is a strong but skeptical, thoughtful and philosophical aide-de-camp in the Napoleonic Wars.
Andrei's sister is Princess Maria, who is a pious woman whose father attempted to give her a good education.
The caring, nurturing nature of her large eyes in her otherwise plain face are frequently mentioned.
Count Ilya Andreyevich Rostov is a patriarch of the Rostov family.
But he is hopeless with finances, generous to a fault.
As a result, the Rostovs never have enough cash, in spite of having many estates.
An accomplished singer and dancer, Countess Natasha Rostova is another central character, introduced as "not pretty but full of life", romantic, impulsive and highly strung.
After the death of his wife, Andrei gets attracted to Natasha, and the complicated and entwined love story starts.
Among all of the scenes, I loved most seeing Andrei and Natasha dance while listining to the waltz from the "Masquerade Suite" by Aram Khachaturian.

Jul 19, 2016

I found the film visually beautiful -- they obviously had a large production budget -- but the acting was abysmal overall. The three main characters, Natasha, Pierre, and Andrei, were all either wooden or over-acting. Clemence Poesy (Natasha) often mumbles her lines so you don't know what she's saying, and she lacks the depth Natasha should have. Watch it for the lovely costumes and sets, if you can stand the terrible acting (with the notable exception of Brenda Blethyn, who is wonderful).

xaipe Mar 10, 2016

This is an greatly abridged, highly romanticized version of Tolstoy's novel. It's the sort of movie that a high school teacher might show a class to give a general overview of "War and Peace." Tolstoy though, is still rotating.

Aug 15, 2015

This is a 'based on' version in which the writers have omitted episodes (admittedly something every version must do) but also embellished or changed some episodes to the point of invention. The emphasis on introducing the main characters makes the first two segments much more watchable than the final two, which are replete with schlock and embarrassing dialogue.

Clémence Poésy captures Natasha's girlish liveliness, but that's about all. Alessio Boni overdoes the gravity and reserve of Prince Andrei, but the real problem is that he needs to be five inches taller. Most of the other players do an adequate job: Dolokhov and Anatol Kuragin are suitably cynical and dissolute, Pierre is suitably confused in his search for how to live a good life, his faithless wife Hélène is suitably voluptuous, Princess Marya is suitably long-suffering, and Sonia (a very lovely Ana Caterina Morariu who puts Clémence Poésy in the shade) is suitably self-sacrificing. Only 'Lise' (Andrei's wife) and Nikolai Rostov are not up to the mark. But the best performances are by the old pros: Brenda Blethyn as Maria Dimitrievna (easily the best acting in the film), a forever scheming Toni Bertorelli as the old Prince Kuragin, and Malcolm McDowell, whose Prince Nikolai Bolkonsky is an over-the-top patriarchcal tyrant.

Bottom line: See it for the lavish costumes and elegant interiors;, and try to bear with the Harlequinesque screenplay and dialogue. This mini-series is not co-pro Eurotrash, but it comes nowhere near the intelligence, sensitivity and fine acting of the 1972 BBC TV series. On the 'epic' level its clumsy battlefield scenes cannot compete with Bondarchuck's 1966 'cast-of-thousands' extravaganza. And, of course, no one is ever going to approach the sheer loveliness of Audrey Hepburn's Natasha in the 1956 King Vidor film. Still this version is worth a look as we await Andrew Davies' take on War and Peace this coming winter.

NewYorkViews Mar 29, 2015


Jul 03, 2014

I really enjoyed this version of War and Peace. But I thought perhaps the actress portraying Natasha lacked depth. Fortunately all the other actors around her made up for that. Very well done.

d2013 May 14, 2014

This miniseries of War & Peace was actually quite good. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

teddypawz Jan 19, 2014

A cross between Gone with the Wind and Pride and Prejudice. A very good movie historically.


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