Cast & Crew
By 1805, Russia is being drawn irrevocably into a struggle for survival against Napoleon. Although Prince Andrey Bolkonskiy, discontented with his life and marriage, willingly goes to war, his friend Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a wealthy count, remains behind in Saint Petersburg. Pierre's father dies, leaving the young man his title and wealth. Later, Pierre naively marries the scheming Hélène Kuragina, who is subsequently unfaithful to him. Pierre is goaded into a duel in which he severely wounds his wife's lover, Dolokhov, and he separates from Hélène. Misfortune also plagues Andrey, who is injured and captured by the French at Austerlitz. Upon his release, he returns home to find his wife, Liza, dying in childbirth. During the uneasy alliance of Russia and France, Andrey attends a lavish ball at the Rostov estate in Otradnoye and falls in love with Natasha, the 17-year-old daughter of Count Ilya Rostov. Respecting his father's wishes, Andrey agrees to postpone marriage to Natasha for a year and go abroad. Left alone, the romantic Natasha goes to Moscow with her father and is swept off her feet by the dashing young Anatole Kuragin, Hélène's brother. Natasha attempts to elope with Anatole, but Pierre, a longtime family friend, learns of the plan and prevents their departure, informing Natasha that Anatole is married. Natasha has already broken her engagement, however, and Andrey cannot forgive her. Despondent over the unhappy affair and the loss of Andrey's love, Natasha falls ill and finds comfort only in the attentions of the devoted Pierre. Then the shaky peace collapses, and Napoleon leads his armies across the Russian frontier. No longer able to ignore political events, Pierre visits the front and is witness to the Battle of Borodino, after which Kutuzov, the Russian commander-in-chief, is forced to order a retreat from Moscow. The city, quickly engulfed in flames, is left to the mercy of the French. Pierre, deeply moved by what he has seen, refuses to evacuate the city, foolishly hoping to find the opportunity to assassinate Napoleon. As the French triumphantly march into Moscow, Andrey, wounded at Borodino, is evacuated and later dies after being reunited with Natasha. Despite Napoleon's victory, he is unable to negotiate a peace treaty with Kutuzov, and, without supplies and reinforcements, French morale quickly disintegrates. Left with no alternative, Napoleon orders a retreat from Moscow, taking along the Russian prisoners, among them Pierre. But Napoleon has not reckoned with the bitter Russian winter, and his troops fall by the hundreds on the vast frozen expanse. Seizing the opportunity, Kutuzov attacks at Berezina and routs the remnants of the French Army. Pierre is freed and learns that Hélène has died. With the momentous 8-year conflict at an end, Pierre seeks out Natasha, whom he has long loved, and asks her to become his wife.
Fine Recording Inc.
N. K. Gudziy
V. V., (gen.) Kurasov
Andrew L. Sager
Walter Reade Organization
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Art Direction
On 12th June, 1812, the forces of western Europe crossed the frontiers of Russia and war began. In other words, an event took place that was contrary to all human reason and human nature.- Narrator
Natasha... I love you too much. More than anything in the world.- Prince Andrei Bolkonsky
And I! But why too much?- Natasha Rostova
Why too much? Well, what do you think? What do you feel in your soul, deep in your soul? Shall I live? What do you think?- Prince Andrei Bolkonsky
I'm sure of it.- Natasha Rostova
How good that would be.- Prince Andrei Bolkonsky
And not for this day and hour alone were the mind and conscience of this man darkened, on whom the burden of events weighed more heavily than on all the others who took part in it. Never, to the end of his life, had he the least comprehension of goodness, of beauty or of truth, or of the significance of his actions, which were too contrary to goodness and truth, too remote from everything human for him ever to understand their meaning. He could not disavow his deeds, lauded as they were by half the world, and so he was obliged to renounce truth and goodness and all humanity.- Narrator
Enough, enough, men. Stop, consider, what are you doing? Into the minds of tired and hungry men on both sides, a flicker of doubt began to creep. Were they to go on slaughtering one another? Kill whom you like, do what you like, but I've had enough. Yet some inexplicable, mysterious power continued to control them, and the terrible business went on, carried out not by the will of individual men.- Narrator
A moral victory which compels the enemy to recognize the moral superiority of his opponent and his own impotence was won by the Russians at Borodino. The direct consequence of the Battle of Borodino was Napoleon's flight from Moscow, the destruction of the invading army of 500,000 men, and the destruction of Napoleonic France, on which was laid for the first time, at Borodino, the hand of an adversary stronger in spirit!- Narrator
I want only to say that it is always the simplest idas which lead to the greatest consequences. My idea, in its entirety, is that if vile people unite and constitute a force, then decent people are obliged to do likewise; just that.- Narrator
In adjusted dollars, with appropriate costs factored in, this remains the most expensive movie ever made.
1968 Golden Globe Winner for Best Foreign Language Film.
Voted Best Foreign Film of the Year by the 1968 New York Film Critics Association.
Voted Best Foreign Language Film of the Year by the 1968 National Board of Review.
Re-released in United States October 19, 2007
Released in United States April 1981
Restored print re-released in New York City (Film Forum) October 19, 2007.
Film is in four parts.
reels 10 (part four-Russian language)
English language version available
reels 16 (part one-Russian language)
reels 12 (part two-Russian language)
Produced between 1963-1967.
reels 10 (part three-Russian language)
Re-released in United States October 19, 2007 (Film Forum; New York City)
Released in United States April 1981 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (FilmEssay: The Best of Filmex) April 2-23, 1981.)
The United Soviet Socialist Republics