Search - War & Peace (1972) on DVD

War & Peace (1972)
War Peace
Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Alan Dobie, Morag Hood, Joanna David, Sylvester Morand
Director: John Davies
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
NR     2007     14hr 50min

Leo Tolstoy?s timeless masterpiece of love and loss is universally recognized as one of the greatest novels ever written. Focusing on the consequences faces by three Russian families during the Napoleonic Wars, this classi...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Alan Dobie, Morag Hood, Joanna David, Sylvester Morand
Director: John Davies
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Format: DVD - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 10/23/2007
Original Release Date: 11/20/1973
Theatrical Release Date: 11/20/1973
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 14hr 50min
Number of Discs: 5
SwapaDVD Credits: 5
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Low Star Power...High Quality
Ray West | San Francisco, CA United States | 03/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm quite in agreement with the reviewer who wrote that this is the best version of Tolstoy's classic--which I have, in fact, read. This is distinct from the "Fonda/Hepburn" version for that very reason: the mid-'50's version is known as the "Fonda/Hepburn" version. There were no Stars in this BBC production, just excellent actors. Mind you, anyone who watched a lot of Masterpiece theatre was able to follow Angela Down [Princess Marya Nokolaievna Bolkonskaya] into a subsequent series, "The Glittering Prizes;" or Frank Middlemass who portrayed General Kutuzov into "Poldark" as Uncle Charles. It was only later that Anthony Hopkins went Hollywood, and became recognized; although his portrayal of gay butcher Richard the Lion Hearted in "The Lion in Winter" was superb in '68.
This is the best, most faithful to the book, version of War and Peace available."
This is the best film version made of War and Peace
Ray West | 08/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I saw this film only once, 25 years ago when it was serialized on PBS, and I have been waiting to see it again ever since. I have seen every other film version of War and Peace, but none can compare to this one. Anthony Hopkins is superb as Pierre."
Faithfully and beautifully rendered film of the book
Ray West | 06/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Having seen all three versions, (Hepburn, Russian and this) and having read the book and biographies of Tolstoi, I am most impressed with this version. The actors may not be exact replicas in appearance but in spirit they capture the characters quite well. The dialog is well chosen and faithful in the most important areas. My only criticism would be (and this is true of all versions) that Tolstoi's explanation of Helene's and Anatole's cruelty being due to their complete lack of sensitivity of what they're doing, is not so obvious as in the book. Anatole is seen riding around Moscow and waves gaily to Pierre the day after his failed attempt to elope with Natasha which indicates how little he thinks of what he has done. Perhaps it is not extremely important but I thought it made alot understandable.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!"
Joyes Burris | San Francisco, CA | 01/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I first viewed the 1972 BBC dramatization of Tolstoy's War and Peace when it was broadcast around 1982 on Masterpiece Theater as 14 one-hour episodes. Captivated by the panoply of gowns, uniforms and palatial interiors and enchanted by the capricious dynamics between the many characters, I had no interest in or understanding of the "war" aspect of the story. Indeed, the myriad explanations of military strategy were tedious to me at the time. I had attempted to read Tolstoy's novel many times but found the Russian names difficult to grasp and differentiate. The best result of my viewing of this film series was that it inspired me to finally have the courage to read the book. The film provided proper pronunciation of the names and gave me faces to connect to the names; this made the reading much more pleasurable.

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.

Like Natasha (the nubile heroine), I could not help falling in love with Pierre's friend the brooding, dutiful and pensive Andrei, masterfully portrayed by Alan Dobie.

The beautiful gowns, uniforms and gentlemen's wear were created by Charles Knode, the costume designer who won the Academy Award for his creations in Blade Runner.

The story covers fifteen years with the War of 1812 in between, so the setup may seem slow and wearisome. The point is to follow how people grow (or not) through their experiences with each other and the circumstances in which they are thrown. Like the rest of us, these characters have "issues" - even before Napoleon imposed himself on them. However, as nearly all the characters become enmeshed in its effects, war accelerates "process".

To watch this movie now (2004) is eerie. War and peace. We certainly have war. Where is peace? Tolstoy, who died in 1910, first published his novel in 1865-1869. It is ironic that in the film, as he ponders the comet of 1812, Pierre wonders what the world will be like when the comet returns in a hundred years. The viewer has the benefit of knowing what neither Pierre nor Tolstoy could know, that the status quo of Russia in 1812 or 1820 suffers brutal and irreversible devastation.

In the film Napoleon's reason for invading Russia is so he can impose his universal code over all of Europe, referred to in the book as the Continental System, so that instead of scores of states and principalities, each with their own laws and courts, all of Europe would be governed under one set of laws, with one court system and one currency. Napoleon has nearly got his wish. What would he think of the EU - of which Russia is not a member?