War and Peace (1956 film)

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War and Peace
Poster - War and Peace (1956) 03.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by King Vidor
Produced by Dino De Laurentiis
Carlo Ponti
Screenplay by Bridget Boland
Robert Westerby
King Vidor
Mario Camerini
Ennio De Concini
Ivo Perilli
Gian Gaspare Napolitano
Mario Soldati
Based on War and Peace 
by Leo Tolstoy
Starring Audrey Hepburn
Henry Fonda
Mel Ferrer
Oscar Homolka
Anita Ekberg
Music by Nino Rota
Cinematography Jack Cardiff
Edited by Leo Cattozzo
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • August 21, 1956 (1956-08-21)
Running time
208 minutes
Language English
Budget $6 million
Box office $6.25 million (rentals)[1]

War and Peace is the first English-language film version of the novel War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. It is an American/Italian production, directed by King Vidor and produced by Dino De Laurentiis and Carlo Ponti. The music score was by Nino Rota and the cinematography by Jack Cardiff. The film was made by Dino de Laurentiis Productions and distributed by Paramount Pictures.

The film stars Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda, and Mel Ferrer, along with Vittorio Gassman, Herbert Lom and Anita Ekberg, in one of her first breakthrough roles. It had Academy Awards nominations for Best Director (King Vidor), Best Cinematography, Color (Jack Cardiff) and Best Costume Design, Color (Maria De Matteis).

Differences from the novel[edit]

The film script had to condense the extensive original. It is primarily focused on Natasha, Pierre, and Andrei, their complex relationship and personal maturation on the backdrop of the historical events of the Napoleonic invasion. In Moscow, most of the scenes take place at the Rostov residence, and episodes at the country estates are curtailed, with some exceptions such as the hunt where Natasha first meets Andrei. This is a condensation of two scenes at the Rostov country estate, since in the novel Andrei, who by then is already Natasha's fiancé, is not present at the hunt. There is no scene from St. Petersburg. The relationship between Nikolas, Sonya, and Mary is toned down. Historical figures retained are General Kutuzov and Napoleon. Minor battles are omitted, while Napoleon's crossing of the Berezina is added. The concept of the inner dialogue is retained, notably in regard to Natasha, but the extensive use of French is not retained in the movie. Events of the epilogue are not included in the movie, nor are Tolstoy's discourses about history.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956', Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957.

External links[edit]