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War and Peace

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Original title
War and Peace
Running time
208 min.
United States United States
Ennio De Concini, King Vidor, Ivo Perilli, Bridget Boland, Robert Westerby, Mario Camerini (Novel: Leo Tolstoy)
Nino Rota
Jack Cardiff
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Co-production United States-Italy; Paramount Pictures. Producer: Dino de Laurentiis
Drama. Romance. War | Epic film. 19th Century. Napoleonic Wars
Movie Groups
Leo Tolstoy Adaptations
Synopsis / Plot
Set against the backdrop of Napoleon's 1812 invasion of Russia, King Vidor's adaptation of the Tolstoy sprawling classic stars Henry Fonda as Pierre Bezhukov. Despite the vast scope of the author's detailed portrait of the classes, regions, and characters of Russian society, he was able to draw on his own experience as a soldier in this campaign, capturing the chaos and confusion of battle in its terrible immediacy. Both the immensely wealthy Pierre and his friend Prince Andrei Bolkonsky (Mel Ferrer), members of an aristocracy of warriors, become disenchanted with the unheroic truth of war. As he says, "The habits of the military class are the absence of freedom, that is discipline, idleness, ignorance, cruelty, debauchery, and darkness." The reflective, unhappily married Pierre is a seeker after truth, wracked with doubt about himself, about the purpose of the war, and about the destiny of the human race. It is only in his love for the enchanting Natasha (Audrey Hepburn) that the ruminative protagaonist can find the meaning that he sought for so long. The film suffers from a leaden script and the 54-year-old Fonda is seriously miscast, but it is worth watching for the excellence of the panoramic battle scenes alone, directed by Mario Soldati.
1956: 3 Nominations for Oscar: Best Director, Cinematography color, Costume Design color
1956: Golden Globes: Best Foreign Language Picture. 5 Nominations
1956: BAFTA Awards: Nominated for Best Film and British Actress (Audrey Hepburn)
1956: National Board of Review: Top Best Foreign Language Films
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