War and Peace

Krieg und Frieden
Moscow in 1805. Unlike his pacifist friend Pierre Bezukhov, Prince Andrey Bolkonsky joins the Battle of Austerlitz to prevent the further advance of Napoleon’s army. Young countess Natasha admires Pierre, but falls in love with Andrey. The lives and loves of the protagonists are interwoven with the Russians’ fight against the French army, Napoleon’s capture of Moscow, and the final defeat of his grande armée amid mud and snow in 1812 … A societal portrait, a military oil painting, and a sombre epitaph to grand imperialism – King Vidor’s monumental fresco begins with a constellation like that in So Red the Rose, and ends in the same disillusionment as The Big Parade. The film was shot at Rome’s Cinecittà studios with a record-breaking budget. Yet, above and beyond the pageantry and opulence, War and Peace nonetheless sounds notes of many of Vidor’s fundamental leitmotifs – a critical stance on militarism, as well as the issue of an individual’s responsibility to society. At the same time, cinematographer Jack Cardiff, shooting in widescreen VistaVision, succeeds in rendering period images that have the pictorial quality of the era’s oil paintings shown behind the opening credits.
by King Vidor
with Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Mel Ferrer, Vittorio Gassman, Herbert Lom, Oscar Homolka, Anita Ekberg, Helmut Dantine, Tullio Carminati, Barry Jones
Italy / USA 1956 English 190’ Colour Rating R12


  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Henry Fonda
  • Mel Ferrer
  • Vittorio Gassman
  • Herbert Lom
  • Oscar Homolka
  • Anita Ekberg
  • Helmut Dantine
  • Tullio Carminati
  • Barry Jones


Director King Vidor
Screenplay Irwin Shaw, Bridget Boland, Robert Westerby, King Vidor, Mario Camerini, Ennio De Concini, Ivo Perilli
Story Leo Tolstoi Vojna i mir (1865–69)
Cinematography Jack Cardiff
Editing Stuart Gilmore
Montage Leo Catozzo
Music Nino Rota
Sound Leslie Hodgson
Art Director Mario Chiari
Costumes Maria De Matteis
Assistant Directors Piero Mussetta, Guidarino Guidi
Producer Dino De Laurentiis

Produced by

Ponti-De Laurentiis Società Cinematografica Per Azioni (A Ponti-De Laurentiis Production)

Additional information

Print: Kinemathek Le Bon Film, Basel
(dye-transfer print)

King Vidor

Filmography (selection)

1919 The Turn in the Road; Lost film 1925 The Big Parade (Die große Parade) 1928 The Crowd (Ein Mensch der Masse) 1929 Hallelujah 1934 Our Daily Bread (Der letzte Alarm) 1938 The Citadel 1940 Northwest Passage (Nordwest-Passage) 1947 Duel in the Sun (Duell in der Sonne) 1949 The Fountainhead (Ein Mann wie Sprengstoff) 1956 War and Peace (Krieg und Frieden) 1959 Solomon and Sheba (Salomon und die Königin von Saba)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020