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War and Peace

4.0 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

“A lavish adaptation of the Tolstoy classic” —The Guardian (U.K.)

Passion, secrets, and betrayal

In Tolstoy’s timeless epic of love and loss, a circle of aristocrats finds their glittering world crumbling as war threatens imperial Russia. This magnificent international production was filmed on location in Saint Petersburg by Oscar®-nominated director Robert Dornhelm.

Set during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, War and Peace follows the changing fortunes of brooding military hero Prince Andrej (Alessio Boni, Caravaggio), his bookish friend Pierre (Alexander Beyer, Good Bye Lenin!), and the spirited but naïve Natasha (Clémence Poésy, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). As Napoleon’s armies menace their privileged lives, the horrors of the battlefield reach into the elegant ballrooms and bedrooms of Moscow.

Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange), Brenda Blethyn (Little Voice), and Ken Duken (Inglourious Basterds) also star in this sumptuous adaptation of one of the world’s greatest novels.

Special Features

SDH subtitles

Product Details

  • Actors: Clémence Poésy, Alessio Boni, Alexander Beyer, Malcolm McDowell, Brenda Blethyn
  • Directors: Robert Dornhelm
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: September 24, 2013
  • Run Time: 425 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00D7AM2QK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,752 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Schindler on September 14, 2010
Format: DVD
I am a Tolstoy aficionado, have read War and Peace more than once. I say this in order to qualify my review. I have also seen all 4 of the major movie productions.

The first production with Audrey Hepburn was a US made piece and is sadly dated, also it is so short that everything is abbreviated.

The second production, by Bondarchuk, is a magnificent production, but I felt somewhat disappointed with it as to me Tolstoy balances the human and world events in such a profound way, and this production seems to focus mainly on the world events. However, some of the battle scenes are like great symphonies and bring deep emotions and tears to the eyes. There is little depth or development of the stories of the characters, however. Platon Karatayev, for example, is barely mentioned and is a pivotal part of the story of Pierre.

My favorite production to this day is the one produced by the BBC with Anthony Hopkins as Pierre. In this 12 hour series a number of very strong characters create an interwoven story which I have watched a number of times. The characters of Pierre, Natasha, Andrei, Princess Maria, The old Prince Bolkonsky, Helene and all the others are so memorable that I would recommend this production as the greatest thus far produced. Although they did not have the resources to produce the battle scenes, costumes and authentic sets, this is after all fiction. And some of the greatest plays are done with virtually nothing but a few props.

It was with great anticipation that I purchased this most recent production directed by Dornhelm, touted at costing 30,000,000.00 and supposedly involved with the personalities of the book.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Never expect a screen treatment of Tolstoy's work to be as profound as the original. Any film version is best approached as a kind of comic book illustration. That being said, War and Peace in this "Golden age of TV" should be filmed as a multi-season show, not a miniseries, to even begin capturing the novel's depth.

This 2007 adaptation has better overall casting than the '56, '67, or '72 productions. Filming on location in Russia also helps. The Rostov family, Price Andrei, Old Bolkonsky, Helene, Dolokhov, and others are well-realized and well-acted (albeit dubbed into a rather stale English). Pierre is a quite bit leaner than Tolstoy's creation, but appropriately awkward, and a big improvement over the pretty-boy Fonda in '56 or the aging Bondarchuk in '67. As for Natasha, I got over her portrayal as a blonde pretty quickly, and thought Poesy does a serviceable job channeling the young Rostova's Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl qualities.

The "War" scenes are duly enhanced by cgi, but are clearly not the main reason to see this version. The series fares better with the far more budget-friendly "Peace" portion of the Novel. Some of the sequences are remarkably faithful (most of the Bolknosky family narrative, for example), but many others were altered for dramatic effect, or to suit modern audiences:
Natasha's friendship with Pierre and acquaintance with Prince Andrei prior to 1811 has been considerably strengthened. Pierre's Masonic brotherhood is omitted, and here he's merely "studying the Gospel". Anatole is given a grudge against Andrei to start courting Natasha. The lively and very cinematic scene with Balaga and the gypsies is cut.
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Format: DVD
This effort keeps the spirit and message of Tolstoy intact. He would have approved.
Every film/theater adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" has naysayers. A novel (originally published in 1869 with 1200+ pages) of this length requires adjustment.
Step aside Anna Karenina and make room for "War & Peace." It's just as film-worthy.

This is an elegant look at the high social life of Russia with exquisite period costuming as good as any previously created for epic TV drama. Sensational symphony orchestration. A combo dazzling to the eye & ear. This 2007 version has a great international cast. Amazingly it is nearly impossible to recognize at least 9 of the actors were dubbed in English. It's so well done; it is obvious the actors HAD to be speaking English during the filming. After watching over 7 hours of this adapted drama, you'll wish for more. Alas, Tolstoy wrote no sequel.

The story remains true to the Tolstoy plot and reveals the character of members of 4 Russian society aristocratic families: Bolkonsky, Rostov, Bezukhov, & Kuragin with a bit added time to Boris Drubetsky. Family relationships drive the plot of interaction between socialites in the Napoleonic invasion period, including romances. Much of the Tolstoy philosophical discussion that makes the book so fantastic is left in the book, but not all.

SUBTITLES provided. Unrated but with obvious war violence. This European version refrains from massive gore and blood slinging that seems today to be a must to sell American films.
1-- 1805. Natasha (Clemence Poesy) eyes married Prince Andrej (Alessio Boni) who has personal visions of being a hero of fighting men. His friend Pierre (Alexander Beyer) inherits while the country prepares for war against the Napoleon threat.
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