3 Stars
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At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet film industry set out to prove it could outdo Hollywood with a production that would dazzle the world: a titanic, awe-inspiring adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic tome in which the fates of three souls—the blundering, good-hearted Pierre; the heroically tragic Prince Andrei; and the radiant, tempestuous Natasha—collide amid the tumult of the Napoleonic Wars. Employing a cast of thousands and an array of innovative camera techniques, director Sergei Bondarchuk conjures a sweeping vision of grand balls that glitter with rococo beauty and breathtaking battles that overwhelm with their expressionistic power. As a statement of Soviet cinema’s might, War and Peace succeeded wildly, garnering the Academy Award for best foreign-language film and setting a new standard for epic moviemaking.

FILM INFO

  • Sergei Bondarchuk
  • Soviet Union
  • 1966
  • 422 minutes
  • Color
  • 2.35:1
  • Russian, French
  • Spine #983SPECIAL FEATURES
    • New 2K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
    • New interviews with cinematographer Anatoly Petritsky and filmmaker Fedor Bondarchuk, son of Sergei Bondarchuk
    • Two 1966 documentaries about the making of the film
    • Television program from 1967 profiling actor Ludmila Savelyeva, and featuring Sergei Bondarchuk
    • New program with historian Denise J. Youngblood (Bondarchuk’s “War and Peace”: Literary Classic to Soviet Cinematic Epic) detailing the cultural and historical contexts for the film
    • Janus rerelease trailer
    • New English subtitle translation
    • PLUS: An essay by critic Ella Taylor

    New cover by Gary Kelley

    June 25, 2019

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Ronald Epstein

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Ronald Epstein

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Thank you for supporting HTF when you preorder using the link below. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link.

 
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richardburton84

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I have to say I wasn’t expecting this to cost as much as it does (I was expecting at least $80). That said, I am extremely eager to see this and hope to pick it up during the next sale.
 

Jim*Tod

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Yes... I was expecting a much higher retail price. Definitely a day one purchase though I hope there will be a theatrical screening somewhere within a reasonable distance.
 
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JoeDoakes

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Yes... I was expecting a much higher retail price. Definitely a day one purchase though I hope there will be a theatrical screening somewhere within a reasonable distance.
For a 7 hour film?
 

Mark-P

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The $49.99 retail price is completely in line with their standard pricing. They usually price single disc releases at $39.99 and double disc sets at $49.99. Multi-title box sets usually go for $100 or more.
 

moviepas

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Война и мир, trans. Voyna i mir
Don't forget this was filmed in 70mm and they decided against Kodak for film stock due to costs and opted for their own manufacture. I assume the warlike opening is not there but rather the later passive fields one?
 

Ronald Epstein

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Is this worth a blind purchase? You know me...so many classics I still have not seen.
 

Jim*Tod

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Yes.... 7 hours. I saw it all in one day at AFI Silver about a decade ago. They had a very rare 70mm print of the Russian version (not the cut and dubbed version shown in its USA release in 1968). The spectacle really has no equal and should be seen on the big screen. Yes... there are lulls here and there, but trust me it is worth the effort. This is a remarkable film.
 

Jim*Tod

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And somewhat off topic---------just what has happened to the American release of the restoration of Gance's NAPOLEON? I know the European version came out over a year ago and the US was supposed to come out last year. Anyone have any info on this?
 
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Robert Crawford

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Is this worth a blind purchase? You know me...so many classics I still have not seen.
I don't know Ron, you might get bored or disinterested with this seven hour film that you will definitely have to spread over some different sit downs.
 

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I don't know Ron, you might get bored or disinterested with this seven hour film that you will definitely have to spread over some different sit downs.
Well, one things for certain; it is far easier to view a war from multiple sits in our chairs than it is to be in the actual heat of battle.;)

Wow, from "Bergman's Cinema" to "War and Peace", Criterion is killing it. And we haven't even reached the spring thaw, yet.:thumbs-up-smiley:

It's funny how epic releases, such as these, has the opposite effects on us; for rather than our quietly disappearing into these seasonal satisfactions, it only inspires us to regenerate our Wish-LIst, post it and ask for more. Not so for me, though. I refuse. I am not greedy and therefore not a peep from me. Truly, I refuse to bother Criterion who has done so much. I will not burden them with my hopes for "The Circus", or "Bringing Up Baby", or "Ryan's Daughter", or "Sons and Lovers" nor the recent OCN 4K restoration of "It's a Wonderful Life". Nope, not me. I just wouldn't dream of asking any more from our good Criterion; insomuch as to suggest the release of Able Gance's "Napoleon". But other than that one single title, I refuse to post anything - and I mean anything - that has any semblance to a Wish-List, at all. It's just simply not my style.:rolleyes:
 
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Ed Lachmann

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Yes.... 7 hours. I saw it all in one day at AFI Silver about a decade ago.
We were at that same screening. We had a lunch break as I remember. Not that I needed it. I was mesmerized through the whole event. SO much more material than in the '71 Walter Reade version. THIS is the release of the decade for me. Only Greed or Cabiria could come close (if there were a miracle). A true masterpiece. The uninitiated will not regret picking this up.
 

PMF

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Get the UK BFI Napoleon if you are region free. It's dazzling. Same with the French Lobster DeMille King of Kings.
Excellent leads, Ed. With a backlog of desired titles and my not making purchases until late spring, "Napoleon" from UK/BFI - and going Region-Free - is on the front burner. Guess I'll have to live with just the film, itself; as the 3-Disc deluxe set has ling been sold-out. The 2-Disc is, regretfully, without the Carl Davis supplement. As for the French Lobster transfer on "King of Kings", I sense that your recommendation suggests this disc to be superior to the already great looking American BD, to which I already own; so I'll add "King of Kings" to the list with great interests in seeing an even greater level of PQ.
Criterion's "War and Peace" is an irresistible double-edge sword. No doubts, it's going to look great; but I, like so many of us, will always be wondering what we might have had were the 70mm print (or OCN) still feasible.
 
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