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on March 7, 2002
I'm quite in agreement with the reviewer who wrote that this is the best version of Tolstoy's classic--which I have, in fact, read. This is distinct from the "Fonda/Hepburn" version for that very reason: the mid-'50's version is known as the "Fonda/Hepburn" version. There were no Stars in this BBC production, just excellent actors. Mind you, anyone who watched a lot of Masterpiece theatre was able to follow Angela Down [Princess Marya Nokolaievna Bolkonskaya] into a subsequent series, "The Glittering Prizes;" or Frank Middlemass who portrayed General Kutuzov into "Poldark" as Uncle Charles. It was only later that Anthony Hopkins went Hollywood, and became recognized; although his portrayal of gay butcher Richard the Lion Hearted in "The Lion in Winter" was superb in '68.
This is the best, most faithful to the book, version of War and Peace available.
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on January 8, 2013
The best & most complete version of Tolstoy's epic available to non-Russians. The Bondarchuk film was only ever released in its 8 hour format. Because of that it doesn't compare to the 13 or so hours the BBC version can devote to the whole of Tolstoy's tale. I did see the Soviet film in its full 13 hour version & on that basis it compares very well. But quite a lot of it is the slog of battle to which Bondarchuk devotes too much attention. But it's the lead characters that do so well in the BBC version. Hopkins is wonderful as Pierre (not as stout as he is portrayed in the book); Dobie as Andrey, Morag Hood as Natasha are also very, very good; especially Hood in going from exuberant young girl to wiser & damaged mature woman. But it is the story of Nikolai & Sonya that are done so well that is a treat with this version, as well as the portrayals of Kutuzov & Napoleon. In most treatments they are almost forgotten because most producers think their audience only wants & expects a love story (which is also true of how Anna Karenina is done), and that is probably true since most people won't have read the book. So many other characters to love as well: Count Rostov, Petya, Platon Karatayev, Denisov, Alexander I.
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on March 6, 2001
When a friend allowed me to borrow a copy of this 1968 BBC series recently, there was no way I was just going to sit on my can and view 12 hours of production. I watched this first tape while walking on a treadmill and was hooked--not only that I had walked for over two hours and had covered five miles! Almost needless to say I poured through the entire series shortly thereafter. Hopkins is great (he was about 30 at the time). If you want a good case study of human nature and the human condition in which it is encased then check this thing out. I should mention that I have not as of yet read the novel itself, but I suspect it shall be even better as is almost always the case when comparing novels and filmed versions.
I see a previous reviewer is complaining about lack of scenery and music. Don't worry about it, the sparseness helps you concentrate on the very human scenes and the dialogue. I never missed the visuals. Don't get me wrong, there are still very ornate interiors, but if you concentrate on the story everything will become timeless anyway. A sure sign of my being moved is that I went out and purchased the Norton Critical Edition of the novel. I can't wait to begin.
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on November 6, 2001
Very engaging and entertaining! Its great fun to watch Anthony Hopkins in an early role. This is a Masterpiece Theatre production which is filmed like a play. There are outside battle scenes however, which are quite good. I couldn't stop watching it (12 hours long). It only took a few days! My only complaint is after all those hours of watching, the ending is confusing! It has to be re-watched. I recommend this, it has no objectionable material and would be great for older children.
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on August 6, 2002
This is an incredibly detailed account by the BBC. The costumes and scenery are very realistic. Anthony Hopkins was fabulous. I highly recommend this movie, but be prepared for the length!
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on March 17, 2013

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on June 15, 2011
This BBC production has several major glitches in it from the sound to certain scenes that you can actually tell where they have spliced it or whatever they do. During some scenes it's rather annoying to be able to hear the one person talking while the other person in the same scene is reduced to where you can't make out what they are saying without cranking the volume really high. It's not the high quality product that I was expecting and we've only watched two of the five dvd's thus far. I will complain to BBC if I can find out where online. I don't wish to return it because I do enjoy older movies and especially of this caliber in terms of that the book is an all time best seller.
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on May 29, 2015
Inspirée de mon livre préféré, cette excellente production de la BBC n’a malheureusement rien à voir avec la Russie. Son charme britannique opère et rend bien la collossalité de l’œuvre, les acteurs interprètent un scénario incassable et finissent par nous convaincre qu’ils sont vraiment convaincus. Mais j’ai déjà vu des films russes, et ce n’est pas cela du tout (ils sont beaucoup plus brouillons, troublés, incertains, côtoyant les abîmes.). Je suis donc partagée : excellente production, acteurs convaincants, magnifique coffret (avec livret et explications pertinentes), mais... ce n’est pas russe. C’est peut-être universel? Comme Tolstoi.
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on May 15, 2002
This War and Peace was just wonderful. I saw it many years ago when it was serialized on PBS and just loved it. Because it was thirteen episodes it was able to cover much from the book. It really fleshed out the characters especially the major ones. Unlike the movie version with Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Mel Ferrer, other important characters have major roles in this production which is critical to the story. The acting was just stupendous. That was the first I saw Anthony Hopkins and just knew he would be a major star. He was perfect as Pierre. I really loved this production.
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on April 22, 2006
Had the original in Beta format unfortunatly, and have tried unsuccessfully to obtain the VHS version to ad to my collection of the best BBC television productions.
This adaption of War and Peace is par excelence.
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