War and Peace (Italian: Guerra e pace) is a 1956 American-Italian war drama film based on Leo Tolstoy’s 1869 novel of the same name.
Differences from the Novel
The film script had to be greatly condensed from the extensive original novel. 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 are no scenes in St. Petersburg.
- The relationship between Nicholas, Sonya and Maria is toned down.
- Historical figures retained are General Kutuzov and Napoleon.
- Minor battles are omitted, while Napoleon’s crossing of the Berezina, not mentioned in the novel, 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 film.
- Events of the epilogue are not included, nor are Tolstoy’s discourses about history.
Production & Filming Details
- Director: King Vidor.
- Producers: Dino De Laurentiis and Carlo Ponti.
- Screenplay: Bridget Boland, Mario Camerini, Ennio De Concini, Gian Gaspare Napolitano, Ivo Perilli, Mario Soldati, King Vidor, and Robert Westerby.
- Music: Nino Rota.
- Cinematography: Jack Cardiff.
- Editor: Leo Cattozzo.
- Production: Ponti-De Laurentiis Cinematografica.
- Distributor: Paramount Pictures (US), Dino de Laurentiis Cinematografica (Italy).
- Release Date: 21 August 1956 (US) and 29 December 1956 (Italy).
- Running time: 208 minutes.
- Country: US and Italy.
- Language: English, Italian, and Russian.