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  • War and Peace (Volume 1) [VHS] [1994] [1972]
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War and Peace (Volume 1) [VHS] [1994] [1972]

29 customer reviews

Price: £16.77
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Product details

  • Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Morag Hood, Alan Dobie, Rupert Davies, Joanna David
  • Format: VHS
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: BBC
  • VHS Release Date: 24 Jan. 2000
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CONB
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 276,982 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

First part of the BBC dramatisation of Tolstoy's epic novel. In Moscow, 1805, the threat of war looms. Scholarly Pierre Bezuhov (Anthony Hopkins) finds his life changed when he inherits his father's estate, while his friend Andrei Bolkonsky departs to fight Napoleon's forces.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Dec. 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I'm absloutely delighted to have eventually found this outstanding BBC TV drama on video, and at such a competitive price too.I clearly remember seeing this series when it was first made in the seventies. It was a totally compelling , with attention to authentic detail, lavish costumes and sets and impressive locations. It seemed to go on forever and I was completely spellbound - drawn in by the excellent characterisations. I remember wanting to be Natasha and falling in love with Pierre - portrayed magnificently by Anthony Hopkins (his debut I think?)who became a favourite actor of mine as a result. I'm going to buy the set for my mother, who for years has been saying that she wishes the BBC would repeat it.
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174 of 182 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 12 Oct. 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw the series when it was televised in the 1970s and found it completely addictive drama at its very best. I have long been an admirer of Tolstoy's epic novel have read it first at the age of thirteen and have returned to read it again at least six times since. Each time I find something new in the novel thanks to Tolstoy's genius and the micro world he created during the Napoleonic War in Russia. The BBC had taken on a large task to try and capture the essence of such a remarkable novel They pulled it off with flair and created a masterpiece of their in turn. One which I have waited for years to be released on dvd.
I have given it five stars although i felt that some work could have been done on improving the quality of the picture. However it is certainly not bad and the sound is very good. The boxset comes with a 44 page booklet which will delight old and new fans alike and the discs have photo galleries.
War and Peace may have become a cliche for pretentious reading lists but don't let this put you off the tv series or indeed the book. The novel is one of the greatest books ever written and Leo Tolstoy remains unsurpassed for the beauty and scale of his work. I have never forgotten the series and can scacely believe I have a copy now. I believe this series is the jewel in the BBC's crown where drama is concerned.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Clive Viegas Bennett on 20 Jan. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
To me there is no doubt. War and Peace is the best and most important work of fiction ever written, encompassing the whole of human existence, from the most petty of concerns to the sweep of an epoch in an enthralling, achingly human story. We fall in love with the characters, whether Pierre's familiar frailties and big-hearted foolhardiness, Andrei's intelligence, stoicism and brooding passion, Natasha's ever-optimistic celebration of life and humanity.

The BBC's 1972 adaptation is somewhat dated, it is true. The flow of dialogue and camera work creaks. Some of the minor actors are stilted and hard to believe. Modern technology, CGI and the rest leave us dissatisfied with the battle scenes. It is also, unavoidably, rather British. Only the written word or a Russian production can convey the Russian-ness of this wonderful work. Russia itself is the only important character left out. Nevertheless, it was and remains an inspired and majestic production - more faithful to the original work, at least in extent, than any other I know of.

I still believe Anthony Hopkin's portrayal of Pierre is quite marvellous - surely the best thing he has done in all his career. He is the Pierre of one's imagination. Andrei, Nikolai, Maria, Natasha, Sonya are all pretty true to the book. Above all, this production is engaging, as gripping and addictive as any thriller. We want to know what happens next and feel bereft of the characters' lives when we come to the end.

This specific set was collated and published through a Dutch company. The DVD cover is in Dutch and there are Dutch subtitles (no English or other language subtitles are an option), which can of course be turned off. The colour is OK but with a hint of the murkiness of early 70s TV. The sound track is good.

Great value.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By catsatcastle on 9 Sept. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have given it four stars because I think the acting is good, the screenplay is very good, so far as I remember faithful to the story. I remember it from the first broadcast but I have tried to cut out the nostalgia and regard it as a piece of drama that someone could enjoy now.

It is however a strange mixture to watch today. There are many studio scenes and a lot of outdoor scenes, on which a lot of money must have been spent but when they wanted to close in on the outdoor scenes, they looked like studio scenes. Those were high production values for the time but they look dated now. The question is, do they still work?

I am sorry to say not, except for the towering performance of the young Anthony Hopkins as Pierre, early in his career. He is superb. He shows this character going through the stages of confusion, dissolution, despair, enlightenement, contentment.

I would also single out Angela Down as Maria. Morag Hood had the difficult job of portraying Natasha from youth to womanhood and I think she did a good job.

There is, however, something missing. It lacks passion. A previous reviewer thought that the vital missing character was Russia and that may be it. I had that review in my mind when I watched it and could see the attempts to put Russia at the heart of the story but it didn't quite work.

Maybe it's because this is an adaptaton of a work in translation about a country I don't know and there are just not enough links.

If you have seen it before you will enjoy the dvd. If you haven't, you may wonder what the BBC was doing. What they were doing was bringing high quality adaptations of serious books to BBC viewers with the best cast and crew of the time and they are to be commended for that. Unfortunately it looks very dated now but it's a very good effort at such an ambitious project.
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