War and Peace
Cast & Crew
In 1805, most of Europe is torn apart by Napoleon Bonaparte's drive to conquer more and more territory. In Moscow, many young men have joined the army, including Nicholas Rostov, the son of Count Ilya Rostov and his wife Nataly, and the brother of young Petya and the flighty but devoted Natasha. The Rostovs' friend Pierre, the illegitimate son of the ailing, wealthy Count Bezukhov, has recently returned from Paris and believes that Napoleon is a "cleansing force" who can establish equality and liberty. Despite his pacifism, Pierre wishes Nicholas well and then visits his friend, army officer Dolokhov, a notorious rake. There, the comrades indulge in drinking games but are interrupted by Prince Andrey Bolkonsky, an officer of much finer character than Dolokhov. Andrey informs Pierre that his estranged father, who is near death, is calling for him, and Pierre goes to his father's mansion, where various relatives snub him. Their derision changes to hypocritical concern, however, after the old count dies and it is discovered that he has accepted Pierre as legitimate and named him his sole heir. The scheming Helene Kuragina immediately sets her sights on Pierre and soon he falls in love with her, while her father, Prince Vasili Kuragin, insinuates himself as the administrator of Pierre's vast estates. One day, Pierre runs into Andrey in the country as Andrey is escorting his pregnant wife Lise to his father's house. Andrey, who feels trapped by the clinging Lise, had earlier advised Pierre never to marry, and now Pierre refuses to accept his warnings. After Andrey takes Lise to live with his sister Mary and gruff father, Prince Nicholas Bolkonsky, he leaves for the front and is made an adjutant to the commander of the army, Gen. Mikhail Kutuzov. Later, at the Battle of Austerlitz, Andrey attempts to rally the retreating men by grabbing their banner and rushing the enemy, but he is wounded and left for dead. While surveying the battlefield, Napoleon comes across Andrey and, admiring his courage, orders that he be tended to by his personal physician. In Moscow, when Pierre learns that the Russians are suing for peace, Helene persuades him to return to the country alone so that she can spend the season in the city, welcoming the soldiers. Nicholas comes home safely, much to the delight of Natasha. Meanwhile, Andrey returns to his family, just as Lise goes into labor. Although their son Kolya survives, Lise dies after giving birth, and the grieving Andrey blames himself for not offering her enough comfort and love. As time passes, Helene begins a flirtation with Dolokhov, and when Pierre learns of the rumors about them, he insults Dolokhov and accepts his challenge of a duel. Although Pierre is woefully unskilled with firearms, he manages to shoot and wound Dolokhov, while the soldier's shot goes wide and Pierre is unharmed. Infuriated that he was provoked into acting in such an uncivilized manner, Pierre separates from Helene and agrees to accompany the Rostovs to their country estate. One day, while they are hunting, they meet Andrey, who is enchanted by Natasha. Later, Andrey dances with Natasha when she attends her first ball and realizes that he wants to marry her. Prince Bolkonsky urges Andrey to wait a year, as Natasha is so young and the Rostovs are not their social equals, but promises to consent if Andrey still wishes to marry her then. With Natasha's promise to wait for him, Andrey then joins the mission to Prussia, where Czar Alexander and Napoleon sign a peace treaty in June 1807. While Andrey is gone, however, Natasha is seduced by Anatole Kuragin, Helene's brother, who is as cold-hearted and debauched as his sister. Even though he is secretly married, Anatole persuades Natasha to elope with him, but their plans are foiled by Natasha's cousin Sonya and Pierre, who threatens Anatole with exposure of his marriage if he ruins Natasha's reputation. Pierre's threats come too late, however, and soon all of Moscow is gossiping about Natasha, who falls ill after Andrey ends their relationship. After several months, she begs Pierre to convey her regret to Andrey, and Pierre, who is in love with her, assures her that she is blameless, and that if he were free, he would ask for her hand. Later, in 1812, Napoleon crosses the River Niemen into Russia, despite the peace treaty. Faced with the superiority of the French Army, Kutuzov orders his men to retreat, and as they fall back, the soldiers and peasants set fire to the countryside so that the French will be without provisions. Although his officers protest his strategy, Kutuzov insists that the only way to save Russia is by letting the French wear themselves out. Soon the city of Smolensk is abandoned and Kutuzov decides to make a stand at Borodino. Determined to see war firsthand, to decide if his hatred of it is valid, Pierre travels to Borodino, where he finds Andrey's camp on the eve of the battle. Although Pierre urges Andrey to forgive Natasha, Andrey states that he cannot. The next morning, Pierre watches with mounting horror as the fighting rages around him and the French slaughter the Russians. Finally realizing that his hero is just a tyrant, Pierre damns Napoleon. Kutuzov then decides to fall back beyond Moscow, leaving the ancient capital city to the French. In Moscow, the Rostovs are among the many families preparing to flee when some wounded Russian soldiers arrive, hoping to be billeted at their home after their departure. Natasha insists that the men cannot be left behind to be captured, however, and they are loaded into the Rostov wagons and taken to a distant village. In Moscow, Napoleon is infuriated to learn that the government has fled, leaving no one behind to surrender to him. Although Pierre lies in wait one day, hoping to assassinate the French emperor, he cannot do it and is taken prisoner. Meanwhile, Natasha has learned that Andrey is among the wounded in their care and reunites with him. While Pierre is befriended by a fellow prisoner, the peasant Platon, the Rostovs take Andrey to a monastery to convalesce. Andrey's wounds prove fatal, however, and he dies just after Mary and Kolya arrive to bid him farewell. In Moscow, Napoleon realizes that he has been outmaneuvered by Kutuzov, and, fearing being trapped in Russia during the winter, orders his men to retreat. The prisoners, including Pierre and Platon, are forced to accompany the soldiers during their 2,000-mile march, and many of them die. The Russian soldiers follow behind the French, allowing them little rest and picking off stragglers. Petya, who has joined the army against his parents' wishes, is sent with a dispatch to Dolokhov, ordering his platoon to join the main regiment. Eager for one last fight, Dolokhov insists on attacking the French the next morning and allows Petya to accompany him. Petya is killed during the engagement, and although Pierre is freed, he is too overcome by the boy's death to rejoice. Dolokhov informs Pierre that Helene has died, and later, joins the other Russian soldiers as they attack the French, who are fleeing back across the Niemen. Later, the Rostovs return to Moscow and find their mansion a burned-out shell, with only one wing remaining intact. Natasha rallies her family to make the best of what they have, however, and as the others settle in, Natasha sadly remembers happier times. She then sees Pierre in the doorway and rushes to embrace him. Telling him that he is like their house, which suffers and shows its wounds but still stands, Natasha kisses Pierre, and they walk together in the garden.
Anna Maria Ferrero
Erland "bud" Bashaw Jr.
R. D. Cook
Ennio De Concini
Dino De Laurentiis
Maria De Matteis
Alberto De Rossi
Best Costume Design
War and Peace (1956)
As Hollywood began searching for large-scale projects in the 1950's to give movie audiences something the television at home could not provide, several producers latched onto the idea of adapting War and Peace. The story had great battles, a love-triangle and, best of all, it was in the public domain. No author royalties! David O. Selznick wanted to do it, Mike Todd wanted to do it, but the ultimate winner was Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis, then best known as the producer of Fellini's hit film La Strada (1954). De Laurentiis knew he could only convince Paramount to allow him to make the film if he brought them something they did not have. Knowing that what they did not have was a finished script, he tore Tolstoy's 600,000-page novel into equal sections and handed the sections out to several Italian screenwriters. Three weeks later he collected the results, pieced it together, had a quick translation made from Italian to English, and flew to America where he plopped the 506-page screenplay on Paramount's desk. He got his permission to make the movie.
Next De Laurentiis hired King Vidor, director of Duel in the Sun (1946) and The Fountainhead (1949) to make the movie. Vidor chucked the Italian script, wrote a synopsis of the novel's action and went through a succession of screenwriters, including novelist Irwin Shaw, to create a new script. Meanwhile, the search for a cast began.
Audrey Hepburn was the first on board, chosen to play Natasha. However, the newly married actress could not bear to leave her husband Mel Ferrer behind for such a long shoot, so Ferrer was brought in to play war hero Prince Andrei. For the overweight, bespectacled Pierre, the center of the novel, many names were thrown about including the most likely candidate Peter Ustinov, but after many compromises, Henry Fonda was cast in the part.
Fonda knew he was wrong for the role. "...But I decided that, with the right kind of spectacles, some strategically placed padding and my hair combed forward, I could pass." However, this was not what De Laurentiis had in mind. He wanted to turn Pierre into a straightforward romantic hero. "The padding went immediately, over my anguished protests. And, from that point on, it was a constant struggle between the producer and me as to whether or not I'd wear the spectacles. I won about half the time, usually when he was nowhere near the set."
Despite the compromises, the result still followed the original novel even though there were numerous deletions. The film itself, however, also went through cutting, down from 220 minutes in the first release print to 205 minutes later. Critics praised the results but American audiences never warmed to it. Russian audiences, however, did and this version became a big hit in the Soviet Union, a great embarrassment to Soviet officials. This was at the height of the Cold War and surely the Americans could not be allowed to create the only movie version of the greatest Russian novel ever written! The Soviet government threw every thing it had into their own gigantic film version. Released in 1967, their War and Peace would, in scope and fidelity, dwarf this 1956 adaptation.
Director: King Vidor
Writers: Bridget Boland, Robert Westerby, King Vidor, Mario Camerini, Ennio De Concini, Ivo Perilli, based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy
Producer: Dino De Laurentiis
Music: Nino Rota Cinematographer: Jack Cardiff
Editor: Leo Cattozzo
Art Director: Mario Chiari
Cast: Audrey Hepburn (Natasha Rostov), Henry Fonda (Pierre Bezukhov), Mel Ferrer (Prince Andrei Bolkonsky), Vittorio Gassman (Anatole), Herbert Lom (Napoleon), Oskar Homolka (General Kutuzov).
C-209m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.
by Brian Cady
War and Peace (1956)
Sir John Mills (1908-2005)
Born Lewis Ernest Watts Mills in Norfolk, England on February 22, 1908. His father was a headmaster of a village school in Suffolk, where Mills was raised. After secondary school, he worked as a clerk in a corn merchant's office while acting in amateur dramatic societies. Ever ambitious, he relocated to London in 1928 to find more work as an actor.
He took tap-dancing lessons and made his stage debut as a chorus boy in The Five O'Clock Girl at the London Hippodrome in 1929. Later that year, he joined an acting troupe that toured India and the Far East with a repertory of modern plays, musical comedies and Shakespeare. It was during this tour when he scored his big break - he was spotted by Noel Coward while in Singapore and promptly taken under the playwright's wing when he returned to London in 1931.
On his return, he starred on the West End (London's Broadway), in Coward's Cavalcade and earned the lead in a production of Charley's Aunt. His song and dance talents came in handy for his film debut, an early British musical-comedy The Midshipmaid (1932). His biggest hits over the next few years would all fall into the genre of light comic-musicals: Britannia of Billingsgate (1933), Royal Cavalcade (1935), and Four Dark Hours(1937). He scored a his first big part as Robert Donat's student in the MGM backed production Mills went on to play Robert Donat's Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939). He developed some more heft to his acting credentials that same year when he made his debut at the celebrated Old Vic Theatre as Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
He served briefly in the Navy, 1940-41, during World War II before receiving a medical discharge. When Mills returned to the screen, he began a great turn as the atypical sturdy, dignified Englishman ("English without tears" went the popular phrase of the day). He starred as a stalwart lead in a amazing string of hit films: In Which We Serve (1942), We Dive at Dawn (1943), This Happy Breed (1944), The Way to the Stars (1945), and Waterloo Road (1945). Although Mills was ever dependable, they did not show his breakout talents until he starred as Pip in David Lean's gorgeous adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations (1946). As the young orphan who morphs into a man of wealth and stature, Mills showed the depth as an actor by offering a finely modulated performance.
By the late '40s, Mills was a bona fide star of British films, and over the next decade the strong roles kept coming: as the ill-fated Robert Falcon Scott in Scott of the Antarctic (1948); Bassett, the handy man who tries to help a troubled child (the brilliant John Howard Davies) of greedy, neglectful parents in the superb domestic drama The Rocking Horse Winner (1950); an overprotective father who gets trapped in a murder yarn in Mr. Denning Drives North (1952); a fine Willie Mossop in David Lean's Hobson's Choice (1954); an impressive "against-type" performance as a Russian peasant in War and Peace (1956); a sympathetic police inspector coaxing the trust of a juvenile (his daughter Hayley) who knows the facts of a murder case in the underappreciated Tiger Bay (1959); a rowdy Australian sheep shearer in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (also 1959); and arguably his finest performance - a Best Actor award at the Venice Film Festival for a hard-as-nails army colonel who fears the loss of control over his regiment in Tunes of Glory (1960).
The mid-60s saw an isolated effort as a film director: Gypsy Girl (which starred his other daughter Juliet - who would later find fame on US television in Nanny and the Professor (1970-72); and showed the development of Mills into a charming character actor: the working-class patriarch in the modest comedy The Family Way (starring Hayley as his daughter); and a terrific comic bit as a murderous Lord who tries to kill off his kin for the family inheritance in Bryan Forbes The Wrong Box (all 1966).
By the '70s, his film work slowed considerably, but he was always worth watching: an Oscar winning performance as a mute villager in David Lean¿s study of the Irish troubles Ryan's Daughter (1970); as the influential General Herbert Kitchener Young Winston (1972); and as a driven oil driller in Oklahoma Crude (1973). With the exception of a small role in Sir Richard Attenborough's Ghandi (1982 - where he was credited as Sir John Mills after his knighthood in 1976), and a regrettable cameo in the deplorable Madonna comedy Who's That Girl (1987).
Very little was seen of Mills until recent years, where the most memorable of his appearances included: Old Norway in Hamlet (1996); as the stern chairman opposite Rowan Atkinson in the hit comedy Bean (1997); and - in a daring final role for his proud career - a nonagenarian partygoing cocaine user in Stephen Fry's bawdy social satire Bright Young Things (2003)! Mills is survived by his wife of 64 years, the novelist and playwright Mary Hayley Bell; his daughters, Juliet and Hayley; son, John; and several grandchildren.
by Michael T. Toole
Sir John Mills (1908-2005)
When I finally say I love you to any man and really mean it, it will be like a defeated general who's lost all his troops, surrendering and handing his sword to the enemy.- Natasha Rostov
Did you notice he almost never smiles? While I was singing, I turned around suddenly and caught him looking at me and he was smiling then. And I felt - but it's almost impossible to describe - I felt as if someone had given me the most enormous, beautiful present.- Natasha Rostov
For the filming of the epic battle scenes, the producers hired 65 physicians, dressed them as soldiers and scattered them throughout the location to take care of any extras or stuntmen who might get injured during filming of the scenes.
Jeremy Brett was chosen to play Nicholas in part because it was felt he resembled his on-screen sibling, Audrey Hepburn.
At the end of the film, the following quotation from Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace appears onscreen: "The most difficult thing-but an essential one-is to love Life, to love it even while one suffers, because Life is all. Life is God, and to love Life means to love God." During the film, an offscreen narrator occasionally provides dates and factual information, and some voice-over narration by the actors is used to illustrate the thoughts and feelings of their characters, as when "Andrey" tells himself that if "Natasha" smiles at him while she is dancing, he will marry her. As depicted in the film, Napoleon Bonaparte's forces engaged the Russian Army in several important battles, especially at Austerlitz (20 November 1805) and Borodino (26 August 1812). Bonaparte's attempt to invade and conquer Russia was foiled, to a great extent, because of the "scorched earth" policy of the retreating military and civilians, who set fire to the countryside, villages and cities rather than allow the French to take possession of them.
As noted in Hollywood Reporter news items, British producer Alexander Korda announced interest in adapting War and Peace for the screen as early as 1941, with Orson Welles directing and Merle Oberon starring. A July 1942 New York Times article reported that Korda's film was to be made in cooperation with the Soviet government, and Hollywood Reporter news items in 1943 and 1944 announced that Agnes Moorehead and her husband, Jack Lee, would be starring in Korda's production, with Lillian Hellman writing the screenplay. Korda's production was never realized, however. Producer Mike Todd actively pursued filming the vehicle in the 1950s, even arranging with Soviet and Yugoslavian officials for filming locations and the massive number of required extras. According to modern sources, Todd, who had announced that Fred Zinnemann would direct his production, also wanted Audrey Hepburn to star as "Natasha" and was greatly disappointed when she instead signed with Dino De Laurentiis and Carlo Ponti. Todd's abandonment of his plans to film War and Peace was due partially to the heavy production and promotion schedule of his own spectacular, Around the World in Eighty Days. Two 1956 Cue articles noted that David O. Selznick had also announced his intention to film a version of the Tolstoy novel.
Italian producers De Laurentiis and Ponti announced pre-production on their version of War and Peace in October 1954, and on October 10, 1954, New York Times reported that Gerard Philipe "probably" would have one of the "major roles," and that in addition to offering the directorial assignment to Eliza Kazan, the producers were hoping to cast Marlon Brando as "Pierre." On December 10, 1954, Hollywood Reporter noted that Mario Camerini was set to direct the picture. The item also reported that Columbia was in negotiations to co-produce and distribute the feature. Although a February 1955 New York Times news item stated that Gregory Peck was soon to be signed for the role of Andrey, modern sources assert that the producers were interested in casting him as Pierre. In a modern interview, director King Vidor stated that he also considered Paul Scofield for Pierre. In March 1955, New York Times reported that the cast was to include Peck, Jean Simmons, either Stewart Granger or Richard Burton, Valentina Cortese, Gino Cervi and Massimo Serato. Information in the Arthur Freed Collection at the USC Cinema-Television Library notes that Sebastian Cabot was tested for a part in the picture.
According to an July 8, 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item, Fredric March was originally offered the role of "Gen. Mikhail Kutuzov." Information in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals that Arlene Dahl was cast as "Helene Kuragina" but fell ill and was replaced by Anita Ekberg, who was borrowed from Batjac Productions. A September 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item includes Paul Davis in the cast, but his appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed.
According to modern sources, Hepburn, who had a great deal of control over the production due to her extensive contract, suggested Peter Ustinov for the role of Pierre and requested that Franz Planer, with whom she had worked on Roman Holiday, serve as the director of photography. Hepburn also employed makeup artist Alberto De Rossi's wife Grazia as her hairstylist and asked her friend, designer Hubert de Givenchy, to supervise her costume fittings. War and Peace was the only film in which Hepburn co-starred with her then-husband, Mel Ferrer (although Ferrer had a cameo in Hepburn's 1964 film Paris When It Sizzles. See AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70). According to a February 1956 Los Angeles Times article, Hepburn received $350,000, the largest salary of any of the actors in the film.
Modern sources report that Hepburn was borrowed from Paramount and Associated British, which co-owned her contract, and that in exchange for her services, Associated British was given the right to distribute War and Peace in Great Britain. According to a May 20, 1955 Daily Variety article, Paramount was to receive "global distribution rights (except Italy)" in exchange for a payment of $2,000,000 to Ponti and De Laurentiis upon the film's completion. The Paramount Collection and Hollywood Reporter news items reveal that Lux Film loaned a significant amount of production money to De Laurentiis and Ponti, in exchange for the Italian distribution rights. According to the July 1956 Cue article, De Laurentiis gave Ponti his interest in their film studio in exchange for the full rights to War and Peace.
Although onscreen writing credits for War and Peace read "Adaptation Bridget Boland, Robert Westerby, King Vidor, Mario Camerini, Ennio De Concini, Ivo Perilli," as reported in numerous contemporary sources, Irwin Shaw wrote the final shooting script for the film. According to a August 1, 1956 item in Hollywood Reporter's "Rambling Reporter" column, Shaw insisted that his name not be included in the onscreen credits. The item went on to state that Shaw's ire was caused by Vidor's admission that Vidor's wife, Elizabeth Hill, changed much of the dialogue. In noting that the onscreen writing credits were for adaptation only, rather than for screenplay, the Daily Variety reviewer commented: "The film's scripting credit is strangely anonymous in light of Irwin Shaw's request to remove his billing when director Vidor reportedly rewrote so many scenes on his own." The February 1955 New York Times article included Jean Aurenche, Pierre Bost and Sergio Amidei in the list of writers working on the project, but the extent of their contribution to the completed picture, if any, has not been confirmed. According to a modern interview with Vidor, second unit director Mario Soldati, who directed the battle scenes, also, contributed to the completed script.
In commenting on the difficulty of adapting Tolstoy's very complex and long novel for the screen, reviews of the picture noted that the filmmakers eliminated several characters and some of the battle sequences. The Hollywood Reporter critic noted that the film "has reduced the number of major characters [from over 30] to 18, eliminating some and combining others." Although the battles of Austerlitz and Borodino are depicted in the film, Tolstoy's description of battles at Amstetten, Preussisch-Eylau, Friedland and Ostrovna were not included.
According to contemporary sources, the picture was filmed on location in Turin and Rome, Italy, and utilized the Ponti-De Laurentiis Studios and Cinecittà Studios in Rome. A August 7, 1955 New York Times article reported that a third "major," but unidentified, studio in Rome also was used. According to a January 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item and a May 1955 New York Times item, background footage involving snow scenes had been shot in Finland, but a mid-July 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that the entire picture would be shot in Italy because "planned locations" in Finland and Yugoslavia had been "cancelled as unnecessary." It is probable that the Finland footage was used for process shots. The New York Times item also reported that Soldati was shooting background footage in Sardinia. Contemporary sources report the lavish film's cost as between $6,000,000 and $7,000,000, with Vidor noting, in a September 1956 BHC interview, that the picture would have cost much more if the thousands of extras from the Italian Army had been paid by the production company.
Various source state that between 5,000 and 8,000 Italian troops were used, although a pressbook from the film's 1963 re-release proclaimed that 18,000 soldiers and thousands of horses were employed. [A 12 May 1957New York Times article reported that "use of Italian troops for War and Peace caused a furor in public and parliamentary circles, and permits have been denied or discouraged ever since."] The pressbook also reported that the more than 100,000 uniforms, costumes and hairpieces required for the film were reproduced from original, contemporary drawings. In May 1955, Daily Variety reported that a 16mm documentary film, being produced by Fausto Saraceni and designed for television, theatrical and educational distribution, was being shot about the making of War and Peace; however, no information about the documentary's release has been found.
The film's New York premiere was a benefit for the Tolstoy Foundation, while Tolstoy's daughter, Countess Alexandra Tolstoy, personally attended the picture's Los Angeles opening. Hollywood Citizen-News reported that the countess was pleased with the film adaptation, stating that it "caught the spirit of my father which permeated the pages of the novel." Because of the film's epic scope, many reviews compared it to Birth of a Nation and Gone With the Wind (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 and 1931-40). The Saturday Review (of Literature) critic noted that the "picture originally ran about five-and-a-half hours" before being editing into a commercially viable length. While professing reservations about the film's success in adapting Tolstoy's complicated novel, most reviews complimented Jack Cardiff's cinematography and the majority of the acting. Several critics took issue with the various, contrasting accents in the film, however, stating in particular that John Mills's cockney accent was out of place with his Russian character, "Platon." According to the Variety review, "some of the lesser principals, of native Italian lineage, also found themselves dubbed into British English." Modern sources add that Vittorio Gassman and Anita Ekberg were two of the actors who were dubbed. War and Peace was nominated for Academy Awards in the categories of Best Cinematography (Color) and Best Costume Design (Color), and Vidor received a nomination as Best Director. As an Italian entry, the picture won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. According to 1958 Hollywood Reporter news items, War and Peace was the first "major film with Hollywood stars to play in Russia since the end of World War II." The Soviet government purchased the rights to distribute the film from Ponti and De Laurentiis for approximately $106,000. By February 1959, the film had grossed $18,000,000 worldwide, according to a Hollywood Reporter news item.
Modern sources include the following actors in the cast: Teresa Pellati (Masa); Maria Zanoli (Mayra); Alberto Carlo Lolli (Prokofiev, Rostov's major-domo); Mario Addobati (Young Mlle. Georges); Gianni Luda, Eschilo Tarquini, Alex D'Alessio, Alfredo Rizzo, John Douglas, Robert Stephens, Angelo Galassi, David Crowley, Patrick Barrett and Michael Billingsley (Russian soldiers); Mauro Lanciani (Kolya, Andrey's son); Ina Alexeiva (Kolya's governess); Don Little and John Home (Natasha's dancing partners); Sdenka Kirchen (Rostov maid); Nando Gallai (Count Bezukhov's servant); Michael Tor (Pope); Piero Pastore (Andrey's servant); Vincent Barbi (Balaga, Dolokhov's coachman); Luciano Angelini (Young soldier at Borodino); Charles Fawcett (Russian artillery captain); Piero Palermini (Russian artillery lieutenant); Aldo Saporetti, Dimitri Konstantinov, Robin White Cross and Lucio de Santis (Young officers at Dolokhov's); Robert Cunningham (Pierre's second); Andrea Esterhazy (Dolokhov's second); Marianne Leibl (Vera, Bolkonsky servant); Marisa Allasio (Matriosa, Dolokhov's servant ); Stephen Garrett (Coachman/Doctor); Cesare Barbetti (Young boy); Francis Foucaud (French soldier); Savo Raskovitch (Czar Alexander I); George Brehat (French officer at execution); Gilberto Tofano (Young dying soldier); Umberto Sacripante (Old man); Paole Quagliero (Woman rescued by Pierre); Christopher Hofer (French officer during retreat); Carlo Delmi (Young guard); Enrico Olivieri (French drummer); Eric Oulton, Archibald Lyall, John Stacey and Mino Doro (Russian generals); Alan Furlan and Joop van Hulsen (Russian officers); Giovanni Rossi-Loti (Young Russian officer at Austerlitz); Giacomo Rossi-Stuart (Young Cossack); Guido Celano (Napoleon's officer); Jerry Riggio, Geoffrey Copplestone, Mimmo Palmara, Giorgio Constantini and Carlo Dale (French officers); Richard McNamara (De Beausset); Stephen Lang (Tichon); Gualtiero Tumiati (Count Benuchov); Celia Matania (Mademoiselle Georges); Andrea Fantasia (Constand); and Micaela Giustiniani, Giuseppe Addobati, Augusto Borselli, Carmelo Consoli, Tiziano Cortini, Henry Danieli, Richard Dawson, Dino Gelio, Arcibaldo Layall, Nino Milia, Frank Pex and Henri Vidon.
In 1987, Los Angeles Times noted that "about five minutes" of footage from the 1956 version of War and Peace was utilized in the television miniseries Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story. Between 1962 and 1967, a 480-minute version of War and Peace was produced in the Soviet Union. Released in the United States in 1968 in a 390-minute, English-language version, the picture was directed by Sergei Bondarchuk and starred Lyudmila Savelyeva as Natasha, Vyacheslav Tikhonov as Andrey and Bondarchuk as Pierre (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70). In 1973, Tolstoy's novel was used as the basis for a PBS television miniseries, directed by John Howard Davies and starring Morag Hood, Alan Dobie and Anthony Hopkins. A Russian ballet of the story was telecast in 1991 with Elena Prokina, Alexander Gergalov and Gegam Grigorian as the stars.
1956 Golden Globe Winner for Best Foreign Film.
Voted Outstanding Directorial Achievement (Vidor) and One of the Year's Best Foreign Films by the 1956 National Board of Review.
Released in United States Fall September 1956
Released in United States August 21, 1956
Released in United States Fall September 1956
Released in United States August 21, 1956 (Premiered August 21, 1956 in New York City.)
The Country of Italy