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War & Peace
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Anthony Hopkins heads the cast as the soul-searching Pierre Bezuhov (a role for which he won the 1972 Best Actor BAFTA); Morag Hood is the impulsive and beautiful Natasha Rostova; Alan Dobie is the dour but heroic Andrei Bolkonsky; and David Swift is Napoleon, whose decision to invade Russia in 1812 has far-reaching consequences for both the Rostov and Bolkonsky families.
Includes a 44-page booklet featuring production notes, episode summaries, character profiles and stunning behind the scenes photography.
The Yugoslavia-filmed battle sequences convince with their cavalcade of extras, but the drawing-room scenes serve as the heart of the series. (The soft exteriors were shot on film; the crisp interiors on video.) In these sequences, the other Rostovs, Bolkonskys, and Bezuhovs--notably Nikolai's impetuous sister, Natasha (Morag Hood)--emerge as complex individuals. Occasional inner monologues distinguish them further. There's some overacting from a few cast members, like the splenetic Anthony Jacobs (Prince Bolkonsky), but Dobie, Angela Down (Andrei's sister, Maria), and especially BAFTA winner Hopkins, give three of the more nuanced performances. Dramatized by Jack Pulman (I, Claudius) and directed by TV veteran John Davies (Germinal), this 20-part series follows a black-and-white silent, a Hollywood production (with Henry Fonda and Audrey Hepburn), and an Oscar-winning Russian epic. The British edition, however, stands as the most complete adaptation. As Pulman stated at the time, "Part of the novel's effect is achieved by its sheer weight of detail, the piling up of incident upon incident." After 15 increasingly compelling hours of marriages, affairs, births, duels, and deaths, it's hard not to feel a kinship with these fatefully entwined families. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Top Customer Reviews
In all other respects, this is a wonderful film, one I would and have watched again and again. You feel as if you know all the characters and you find yourself caring deeply about them. Even having seen it repeatedly I find myself equally moved with each viewing (ok, not as much as the first time when it was new but I was 12) I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. This is a film I had waited 25 years to see again and having lent it to a friend look forward to its return so I can watch again. In my esteem it ranks as one of the top 10 beautiful films!
This is the best, most faithful to the book, version of War and Peace available.
To my knowledge, PBS never rebroadcast this War and Peace, as so many other excellent and memorable programs have not been aired a second or third time, no matter how worthy. So I am grateful to the deities of video for blessing us with VHS/DVD. Viewing this series again, I am surprised by the things I didn't notice or appreciate on my first and second viewings. How did I overlook or ignore all the philosophical asides delivered by Pierre and Andrei? It was as if I were seeing this program for the first time and had never read the book - which I am now inspired to give a second reading.
Anthony Hopkins is superb as the mumbling, stumbling Pierre who is constantly searching for something to which he may devote his simmering passion - despite the deceit and crassness he encounters in his society.Read more ›
If you can stand 1970's BBC production values, and a lack of computer graphics, wizards, and aliens, by all means take the plunge and watch this version.
I plan to watch it again before another 34 years have passed :)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A totally superb production. When it first came out I was making a film in Moscow. The Russians who saw it said Antony Hopkins was a better Pierre than they had managed to get in... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Peter M. Coates
The unforgettable characters in Tolstoy's War and Piece walked out of the pages onto the screen in this perfectly adapted version of a great masterpiece. Anthony Hopkins IS Pierre.Published 1 month ago by lynn bornstein
An excellent version (I'm told by those who've read the book!). Some of the portrayals, especially women, are a bit old-fashioned in acting style, but on the whole this is a... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Winefred's well
I saw this series on PBS when it first came out way back when. I've seen other versions and the one recently out is definitely good but I don't think any can match the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by MissPris
I first saw this on PBS. I really liked the battle scenes. They weren't on a scale of the Russian War and Peace movie, but it was pretty good for TV. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Pen Name
I saw this version when it was first broadcast on PBS, and for dramatic weight and clarity in the personal scenes, it is unbeatable. Anthony Hopkins is the perfect Pierre. Read morePublished 7 months ago by ----philip L. Jordan Jr.
At over 12 hours, this was originally a TV series. Faithful to the Tolstoy classic, this movie makes all other War & Peace movies pale and shallow by contrast.Published 12 months ago by B. Goode