Война и мир; Vojna i mir (War and Peace) (1968)




Director:     Sergei Bondarchuk.

Starring:     Sergei Bondarchuk (Pierre Bezukhov),  Lyudmila Savelyeva (Natasha Rostova),  Vyacheslav Tikhonov (Prince Andrei Bolkonsky),  Boris Zakhava (Field Marshal Kutuzov),  Anatoli Ktorov (Prince Nikolai Andreevich Bolkonsky),  Anastasiya Vertinskaya (Pricess Lisa Bolkonskaya),  Antonina Shuranova (Princess Maria Bolkonskaya),  Oleg Tabakov (Nikolai Rostov),  Viktor Stanitsyn (Ilya Andreyevich Rostov),  Irina Skobtseva (Hélne Bezukhova),  Boris Smirnov (Prince Vasili Kuragin),  Vasili Lanovoy (Anatol Kuragin),  Kira Golovko (Countess Rostova),  Irina Gubanova (Sonia Rostova),  Aleksandr Borisov (Uncle Rostov). 

expensive and long Russian version of War and Peace


Part I.  Andrei Bolkonsky.

Chapter 1. 

Views of the landscape, then the scenes with the sounds of war.


Chapter 2.  Opening Credits. 


Chapter 3.  1805.  Anna Pavlovna Scherer's Soiree in St. Petersbug. 

The older woman Anna Pavlovna Scherer tells the guests that the whole world has gone mad.  She is a leader in Russian society circles.  She is also the maid of honor and confidante of Empress Maria Fiodorovna.  She has brought in the French aristocrat Vicomte Mortemart who fled from Napoleon Bonaparte.  Some of the guests talk about the execution of Duc d'Enghien during the French Revolution.  Monsieur Pierre is a big fan of the ideals of the French Revolution. 

Lisa is the wife of Prince Andrei who is to be adjutant to General Kutuzov.  Prince Andrei speaks with Monsieur Pierre, who doesn't want to help the English and Austria fight the greatest man in the world.  The Prince dislikes his lifestyle.  Lisa comes into the room where the two men are talking.  She wants to know why her husband has changed his feelings toward her.  She says he's cold and distant to her.  She leaves the room. 

Prince Andrei urges Monsieur Pierre never to marry.  Pierre is an illegitimate son without rank, without fortune.  The Prince urges Pierre to break with the Kuragins and their sort of life of drinking and debauchery.  Pierre says that Anatol Khas has invited him to a get-together, but he won't go.


Chapter 4.  The Drinking Party.

He said he wouldn't go to the party, but Pierre does go.  The party is a wild one with lots of drinking and breaking things.  Then the men, mostly military, go off to see the "actresses". 

A man named Prince Vasili says Count Bezukhov, the father of Pierre, must be worse off health wise and now his distress over Pierre will be the death of him.  Three of the men at the party took the bear to see the actresses.  Then they decided to grab a policeman and tie him to the back of the bear.  Dolokhov was reduced to the ranks.  Pierre has been sent back to Moscow. 


Chapter 5.  Natasha Turns Thirteen. 

Natasha comes in with the other children.  She is very bubbly and very spoiled.  She plays hide and seek.  She hides behind some plants in one of the rooms.  Sonya is upset and she comes into the room with the plants.  A military officer kisses her.  Later when Boris comes and finds her, Natasha kisses him. 

An old woman scolds Pierre for playing while his father is dying.  Everyone eats at a huge table.  A rather large woman named Maria Dmitrievna is at the party.  The talk is about Count Bezukhov trying to get Pierre legitimized.  And if he succeeds he will leave him everything in the will. 


Chapter 6.  The Dance.

Maria Dmitrievna dances with a man while everyone watches. 


Chapter 7.  Count Bezukhov Suffers Another Stroke. 

Count Bezukhov is still alive.  People pray for his recovery.   The Count finally dies.  A woman in black comes out to take Pierre in to see his father. Later Pierre sleeps on a couch. 


Chapter 8.  At Bald Hills Estate.

General-in-Chief Prince Nikolai Andreyevich Bolkonsky.  Society named him "The King of Prussia."  He retired to his estate in the reign of Emperor Paul and has remained at Bald Hills with his daughter, Princess Maria.  Maria gets a letter from Julie.  Her father tells her that he will allow two more letters to pass, but he will read the third. 

Prince Andrei and and his wife Lisa arrive at the estate.  Maria is somewhat of a religious fanatic.  The Prince says to his father that he is sorry to be leaving his wife on his hands while he goes to war.  The Count tells his son to give a letter from him to General Kutuzov.  Count Bolkonsky tells his son:  "If you are killed, it will be a grief to me in my old age."  The Prince says:  "If I am killed, and my child is a son, keep him here with you."  Dad asks:  "Not let your wife have him?"  The Prince says nothing in reply.  He leaves.  From a second floor window, his wife Lisa cries as she watches him leave.   


Chapter 9.  General Kutuzov's Army Enters Austria.

The Russian army of 50,000 men and  commanded by General Kutuzov enters Austria to join the allied Austrian army of General Mack for joint action against Napoleon.  Prince Andrei comes in to the office saying that they have to explain why their advance is halted.  General Mack arrives at the Battle of Ulm to see General Kutuzov.  He tells the Russian general:  "Behold the unhappy Mack."  His army was defeated.  General Kutuzov invites him into his office. 

His Excellency arrives with another man.  One of the officers receiving His Excellency says that General Mack has already arrived.  Prince Andrei is angry with the fellow receiving His Excellency for acting like a clown.  He tells the man that he had better not play the clown in his presence again.  He turns to his Russian comrade and says:  "40,000 massacred, our ally's army defeated and that's a joke?"

Monsieur Pierre talks with some men and tells them that if Tabor Bridge (located in Brigittenau, the 20th District of Vienna, Austria; the only Danube bridge at that time) has been taken by the French, that means the French are on this side of the Danube. And that means that Kutusov's army has been cut off and destroyed. 

Anna Pavlovna Scherer introduces Pierre to the blonde Helene Kuragin.  The hostess says about her:  "Happy the man who wins her."

On the battlefield Kutuzov tells Prince Bagration that he wishes him well on his great endeavor.  Andrei asks Kutuzov to allow him to fight with the Prince's division.  But the General says that he needs good officers too.  When Kutuzov and Andrei leave in a carriage Kutuzov says that he will be happy if even one-tenth of the Prince's division can rejoin the army.

Prince Bagration with 40,000 hungry, exhausted men had to hold back the entire French army for twenty-four hours.  This extra time would allow Kutuzov to escape from the French whose army was three times the strength of Kutuzov's army. 


Chapter 10.  The Battle of Schon Grabern. 

It's started!  Here it is!  Terrible but glorious!  These are some of the comments as the battle starts.  Andrei is with Prince Bagration.  The Russians charge and the French run.  But the French come back.  Captain Tushin's battery had been forgotten.  Even his supporting troops had been withdrawn.  A messenger is again sent to Tushin.  The messenger asks the artillery captain:  "Are you mad?  Twice you've been ordered to retreat."  But still the artillery men stay, long after most units would have left.  Finally, Andrei comes to Captain Tushin and tells him that he has to retreat.  Tushin obeys this time.  Largely because of Tushin and his unit, Kutuzov's army of 30,000 men is saved.  Prince Bagration's men rejoin Kutusov's army.

The Prince calls Captain Tushin to him and wants to know why a cannon was lost?  Captain Tushin says very little, not wanting to incriminate another officer.  So Andrei sticks up for the accused.  Andrei tells the Prince that their success was mainly due to the battery and its heroic endurance.  All the Prince says is that Captain Tushin may go. 


Chapter 11.  Pierre and Helene. 

Pierre sits and talks with Helene alone.  Anna is trying to get the couple together permanently.  Helene's dad becomes impatient for progress, so he goes up to Pierre and pretends he has heard that Pierre has popped the marriage question to his daughter.  He says he is very happy about the upcoming marriage. Helene tells Pierre to take off his glasses.  He does so and she grabs him and kisses him. 


Chapter 12.  Russian and Austrian Armies in Review.

The Battle of Austerlitz was known as the Battle of the Three Emperors (of Austria, Russia and France).  The Russian battle planners do not expect Bonaparte to attack.  Kutuzov pretends that he is sleeping.  He wakes up and says the battle order has been set and there is only the option now that each man do his duty. The planning session breaks up.  Alone Andrei asks Gen. Kutuzov what will happen tomorrow?  The General says:  "I think the battle will be lost."  He adds that he has already told Count Tolstoy and he in turn will tell the Russian emperor. 


Chapter 14.  Prince Andrei Dreams of Glory. 

Andrei says to himself that he wants to be famous.  It's the only thing he cares for, that he lives for.  He adds:  "I would give all for a moment of triumph."  Meanwhile, Napoleon comes amongst his soldiers and they give him a grand reception. 

The Tsar and the Austrian Emperor arrive.  Kutuzov greets them. 


Chapter 15.  The Battlel of Austerlitz. 

The battle begins.  By 5 p.m. the battle was lost on all sides.  The Russians turn back, but Andrei grabs the flag and shouts:  "Forward, lads!"  The men follow him. 

But Andrei goes down.  When he wakes up he notices how quiet and solemn it is compared to the battle.  Napoleon looks upon the fallen Andrei with the flag still in his hand and comments about what a splendid way to die. 


Chapter 16.  1806.  Nikolai Rostov Returns to Moscow. 

Horses pull a carriage to Moscow from the front.  Nikolai and his friend Denisov are going to Nikolai's home.  When Nikolai gets home he is warmly received by the rest of the family. 

Andrei's father learns that his son is missing in action.  He tells his daughter Maria.  He adds that Kutuzov says that Andrei must have been killed.  Maria goes to tell her sister-in-law.  She starts crying on Lisa's lap, but when Lisa asks if anything is wrong, Maria says nothing is wrong. 

Pierre arrives at the home of Natasha's father.  The gossip of the day is that Dolokhov, the bully, has compromised Pierre's wife, Helene.  They say that Pierre is broken hearted.  Pierre is invited to a big celebration. 


Chapter 17.  The Banquet Honoring Prince Bagration. 

At the celebration everyone toasts to the health of His Majesty.  Pierre is placed directly across from his nemesis, Dolokhov.  A menu is given to Pierre and Dolokhov snatches it from him.  Pierre hesitates for awhile, but then jumps up shouting:  "How dare you?"  Dolokhov tells Pierre he is not going go give his menu back to him.  Pierre shouts: "You blackguard!"


Chapter 18.  Pierre Challenges Dolokhov to a Duel.

Pierre shouts:  "I challenge you!" 

Pierre and Dolokhov meet on the dueling grounds.  Pierre has never handled a weapon before.  His second has to show him how to shoot it.  When the duel begins Dolokhov walks slowly to Pierre, but Pierre runs toward Dolokhov.  Pierre fires.  It takes him awhile to tell what has happened, but Dolokhov has been hit in the abdomen off to the left side.  Dolokhov goes down, but he is determined to fire his shot.  He finally fires his weapon but he misses.  Pierre runs off talking about death, lies and idiocy.  The duel officials take Dolokhov to a doctor. 

When Pierre gets home Helene scolds him for making her the laughing-stock of Moscow.  And she denies that Dolokhov was her lover.  Pierre tells her not to talk to him.  And he suggests they separate.  Filled with rage, Helene shouts at Pierre that a separation doesn't scare her.  She is so nasty that Pierre shouts:  "I'll kill you!"  He picks up a table and throws it. 


Chapter 19.  Liza's Labor. 

Lisa is giving birth to her child. 


Chapter 20.  Andrei Returns Home. 

Andrei arrives home.  The doctor arrives at the same time.  Andrei goes to check on Lisa.  She is in a great deal of pain.  After more suffering Lisa dies, but the baby lives.  Andrei runs into his father,.  Dad cries to see his son who he thought was dead. 


Chapter 21.  Pierre and Prince Andrei Exchange Philosophies.

Pierre and Andrei talk together like old times.  Andrei says he will never fight in the Russian army again.  Pierre says he's happy that Dolokhov did not die.  Andrei says some people deserve to be killed.  They get into a philosophical discussion about life and death.


Chapter 22.  Prince Andrei Visits the Rostov Estate

Andrei is driven to the Rostov Estate.  He sees Natasha, who is all grown now and is impressed.  While walking around the grounds with Mr. Rostov, Andrei again runs into Natasha who has a big smile on her face.  At night Andrei hears Natasha speaking to her sister about the beautiful moonlight.  Next day Andrei leaves.  He thinks about Lisa and feels bad about the way he treated her.  And now, after seeing Natasha, his philosophy is so much more cheerful.  Now he wants his life to be known to others like Pierre and Natasha. 


Part II.  Natasha Rostova. 


Chapter 23.  Opening Credits.


Chapter 24.  1807.  The Treaty of Tilsit is Signed. 

In 1807 Napoleon and Alexander I of Russia signed the Treaty of Tilsit, temporarily halting their hostilities.  Life continued on as usual independent and regardless of political alliances. 

Mother says to her daughter Natasha that people won't understand her childhood ties to Boris.  Therefore, Boris shouldn't visit so often.  But Natasha pleads with her mother to let the relationship just stay as it is.  She is not going to marry him, so let them be as they are, Natasha says.

Going to her bedroom Natasha says that no one can understand the way she really is  --  not even Sonya who is so virtuous.


Chapter 25.  December 31, 1809.  New Year's Eve Ball Preparations.

December 31, 1809.  A famous old nobleman gives a grand ball attended by the Emperor and the diplomatic corps. This will be Natasha's first grand ball.  She's all excited as she climbs the huge staircase up to the Grand Ballroom. 


Chapter 26.  The Grand Ballroom.

The Grand Ballroom is huge and is packed with hundreds of people.  Standing watching everyone, Natasha becomes upset.  She doesn't understand why no one will ask her to dance.  Helene is at the ball, as well as Pierre.  Pierre goes over to speak with Andrei.  He tells him to ask Natasha to dance. 


Chapter 27.  The Waltz.  Natasha and Prince Andrei. 

Prince Andrei walks across the ballroom during a pause in the dancing and asks Natasha to dance.  They dance a waltz and to Natasha it seems like she is living a dream.  Natasha is all smiles, while poor Pierre can't even manage one smile. 

At home Pierre receives a visit from Andrei who tells him he is in love.  He describes the felling as being one of being overwhelmed.  Andrei wonders if he is too old for Natasha.  Natasha tells her mother:  "I never felt like this before."  Pierre tells Andrei to marry Natasha. 

It has been three weeks since Andrei had last called on the Rostovs.  Natasha paces around the rooms.  At night she cries.  She tells her mother that he does not want to marry her.  But now she has gotten over him completely. 

Natasha sings and says to herself:  "I don't need anybody."  But then she senses that Andrei is here.  She feels upset and shouts:  "I won't be tortured."  Andrei shows up.  He kisses her hand.  He explains that he went away to see his father to discuss an important matter.  Andrei speaks to the mother alone.  A little later her mother comes to tell Natasha:  "Go to him.  He asks for your hand." 


Chapter 28.  Natasha and Prince Andrei Declare Their Love.

Natasha comes into the room.  She slowly walks to Andrei and he meets her halfway.  He tells her that he fell in love with her the first time he saw her.  However, they have to wait a year to get married.  Natasha doesn't really comprehend what he is saying.  Andrei says it will give her time to be sure of her feelings toward him.  Natasha tells him that she loved him since the day he came to Otradnoe.  But then it dawns on her what the Prince said and, astonished, she says:  "A whole year?"  She says she will die if she has to wait an entire year.  But then she gets hold of herself and says that she will do it.  Andrei tells her to go to Pierre alone for advice and help. 


Chapter 29.  The Wolf Hunt.

Together with her young brother Petya, Natasha visits her Uncle at the wolf hunt.  The dogs are off on the chase having scented the wolf cubs.  The wolf hounds subdue a wolf and the men capture it alive. After the hunt they go to Uncle's house.  While Petya sleeps, Natasha hears music coming from another room.  She is drawn by the music of the balalaika.  But the musician stops playing.  She is disappointed so Uncle plays the guitar for her. 


Chapter 30.  Natasha's Guitar Dance.

Natasha dances while Uncle plays the guitar.  The servants come to listen and watch her. They like her dance.  Natasha is afraid that her time with Andrei will never come.  She is very impatient.  She returns home.  Sonya, Natasha and Nikolai talk.  The mummers arrive dressed in their costumes.  People engage in moonlight sleigh races.  Natasha and Sonya put on fake mustaches. 

Count Bulkonsky  tells his daughter Maria that Andrei wants to reduce the waiting time to three months.  He tells Maria to write to her brother and tell him to wait until he dies:  "I'll soon free him."  He adds that she'll make a good stepmother for his little son Nikolai. 

Natasha and her father call on count Bolkonsky.  They are told that the Count is not receiving guests, but Maria wants to talk with Natasha.   Maria comes in and speaks with Natasha.  The Prince in his robe comes out.  He asks Natasha to please excuse his dress.   He only wanted to talk with Maria.  Natasha just keeps staring straight ahead without saying anything.  Bolkonsky leaves.  The three women in the room (the other being Natasha's French teacher in who Bolkonsky has taken an interest) look extremely sheepish over what just happened. 

Natasha and her father go the the ballet.  Helene is also there.  Natasha sees a handsome young man in his military uniform at the opera.  


Chapter 31.  Natasha is Swept by Prince Anatole.

The handsome man is none other than Prince Anatole Kuragin, who is the brother of Helene.  He speaks with his sister and it looks like she is whispering to him something about Natasha.  Natasha seems wowed by the Prince.  From his front row seat he glances backwards to look at Natasha.  Helene moves into Natasha's box to talk with her.  Prince Kuragin comes to the box and whispers something to Natasha.  Anatole follows Natasha around.  Later he dances with her.  Soon he tells her:  "I'm madly in love with you."  They kiss. 

Natasha receives a love note from Anatole.  Anatole speaks with his buddy Dolokhov, who is smoking his pipe.  Dolokhov tells him that his plan to elope with Natasha is stupid.  They will discover that he is already married and bring criminal charges against him.  Anatole, however, says if his marriage is invalid, then he will have nothing to answer for.  And, he says, she's a goddess. 

Natasha spills the beans about Anatole and the elopement to Sonya.  Sonya asks Natasha:  "What about Prince Andrei Bolkonksy?"  She adds that she cannot allow this to happen.  She will tell.  Natasha says if she tells, Sonya will be her enemy.  And they will be separated.  Sonya brings up a good point:  Why didn't Anatole come to the house and ask for Natasha's hand honestly? 

Anatole takes a sleigh to Natasha's place.  When he goes to the door a man tries to force Anatole inside the house.  Delakhov shouts to his friend that they have been betrayed! Come back!

Natasha and her father have been staying at the home of Maria Dmitrievna.   Maria comes into Natasha's room and tells her:  "You shameless hussy!  Nice manners, indeed!"  She says that Natasha has disgraced herself like some common trollop.  Natasha talks about killing herself and Maria backs down a bit.  Natasha shouts  to Sonya, asking her why did she tell on her? 

Pierre gets hold of his brother-in-law Anatole.  He is very upset with Anatole.  He has Anatole give him Natasha's love letters.  He then tells Anatole to leave Moscow tomorrow.  Furthermore, Anatole is to say nothing about his relationship with Natasha.  Pierre tells him that he should get women like his sister Helene and not prey on innocent young women with the intent to deceive and then abduct them.


Chapter 32.  Prince Andrei Responds.

Prince Andrei talks with Pierre.  He gives his friend Natasha's letters to him along with a portrait of her.  He tells Pierre to give them to Natasha. Pierre says that Natasha was so very ill that she almost died.  Andrei tells Pierre to tell Natasha that she is now free and that he wishes her every happiness. 


Chapter 33.  Pierre's Confession.

Pierre goes to talk with Natasha.  She tells Pierre that she knows that it is all over with Andrei, but she is still tortured by the harm she did him.  She wants Pierre to tell Andrei that she begs him to forgive her.  Pierre has a question for Natasha:  "Did you love that vile man?"  Natasha snaps that Pierre is not to call Anatole vile.  And she doesn't know if she really loved him or not.  Pierre tells her to remember that he is her friend.  If she needs a shoulder to cry on or some advice, please come to him.  Natasha says she doesn't deserve all this concern for her welfare, but Pierre says that if he were more handsome and clever he would right now ask her for her hand and for her love.  Natasha is touched by his sentiments toward her. 


Chapter 34.  June 12, 1812.  France Invades Russia.   

On June 12, 1812, the forces of western Europe crossed the frontiers of Russia and war began. 



Part III. 1812.

Chapter 35.  Opening Credits.


Chapter 36.  1812.  The French Army Enters Russia.

The French invade Russia. 

Natasha's younger brother Petya wants to become a soldier, but his father tells him to forget that nonsense.  He must study. 

At a soiree given by Anna there is talk that Kutusov should not become the Commander-in-Chief of the army.  He's a decrepit old man and blind. 

At the home of Count Bolonsky the family reads a letter from Andrei.  The letter says that Barclay is a bad leader.  He is sluggish.  The whole army detests him.  The French are at Vitebsk and within four days they can be at Smolensk.  In fact, they may be there already.  But Count Bolonsky is not concerned.  He says the French will never cross the Niemen River.  

A Russian town is being bombarded by enemy cannons.  People are running and screaming as explosion after explosion goes off.  At home Count Bolonsky tries to find a place to sleep.  Russian soldiers are retreating.  Still unable to sleep, the Count retrieves Andrei's letter to go over it carefully. 


Chapter 37.  The Death of Prince Bolkonsky.

Count Bolkonsky is on his death bed.  Maria is with him and he thanks her.  He asks for his son Andrei but Maria has to tell him that Andrei is with the army in Smolensk.  The Count says that Russia is destroyed. 

The Russian army is on the march.

Natasha is singing.  Pierre comes in to visit her.  Natasha tells him that Nikolai was awarded the St. George's Cross and she is very proud of him.  She says she has complete faith in Pierre.  She notes that Andrei is back in the army and she asks if he will ever forgive her.  Pierre says that there is nothing to forgive.  Natasha likes to hear that.  She says Pierre is kind and generous.  If it hadn't been for him, she doesn't know what would have become of her.  Pierre says he has to go and does a little running to get out of the room. 

Now General Kutusov is Field Marshal.   


Chapter 38.  General Kutusov Resumes Command.

The soldiers give General Kutusov a great reception.  When the General sees Andrei he grabs him and tells him to come with him.  Andrei tells Kutusov that he wants to be with his regiment.  Kutusov sympathizes with Andrei.  He tells him he remembers him at Austerlitz with the standard in his hand.  The General says that he made the Turks eat horseflesh and he will make the French eat horseflesh also.  To Andrei he says goodbye my dear follow. 

Pierre is very curious about the war.  He wants to see it up close.  He watches as wounded man after wounded man pass by him.  A military man speaks with Pierre saying that these men were yesterday's wounded.  There were heavy losses and the Shevardin Knoll is now in enemy hands.  He tells the military fellow that he wants to see the battle and the follow tells him to go through Tatarinovo and up to the mound and he will be able to see the battle.  In tomorrow's battle, the military man says, they can expect 20,000 casualties out of the 100,000 soldiers.  Pierre asks the name of the nearby  village and is told the name is Borodino.

A picture of the virgin Mary is brought among the men.  The serfs working on battle preparations and the army men run to the picture of the virgin.  Kutusov stops and kneels before the picture. 


Chapter 39.  Prince Andrei's Pre-battle Thoughts.

The possibility of death raises its ugly head in the thoughts of Andrei.  The thoughts become so strong that death seems to be a certainty to Andrei.  He thinks that tomorrow he shall be killed.

Pierre visits Andrei.  He says he was looking over the troop placement and he thinks that the left flank is weak and the right flank is too extended.   Andrei takes the point of view that position doesn't matter.   He says it's the fighting spirit of each man in the army that is important and determines outcomes in battle.  Andrei says he would take no prisoners, if he were in command.  He says the French have destroyed his home and are going to destroy Moscow. 

Pierre is a bit amazed at Andrei's stance.  Andrei explains that life has become a burden to him.  He then tells Pierre that he needs sleep before a battle and says good night.  Pierre says to him:  "I know that this is our last meeting." 


Chapter 40.  The Battle of Borodino.

Pierre watches the battle.  Despite the fact that there is firing going on everywhere Pierre all dressed in white with a white hat  is just walking around.  The soldiers are really amazed at Pierre and tell him it's funny to see a gentleman here with the troops.  The Russians start retreating as the French come forward. 


Chapter 41.  Napoleon Commands His Troops in Battle. 

Napoleon decides to send in Friant's division instead of the suggested Claparede's division.  A Russian artillery commander reports to a colonel that only around eight rounds are left.  The artillery commander is hit.

Kutusov is informed that the positions have been retaken from the enemy and that Prince Bagration is wounded.  Prince Andrei's regiment is held in reserve.  Without doing anything, his regiment loses one-third of its men.  The Russians are also running out of ammunition for the artillery.  They are out of charges.  Pierre volunteers to get the charges from the reserve and leaves.


Chapter 42.  Prince Andrei is Wounded.

A French cannon ball lands and spins in a circle sizzling.  Andrei wonders if this is to be the end of him.  Pierre gets knocked down and quickly gets back up.  A soldier tries to strangle him, but Pierre gets away.  Now the French cavalry goes against Russian artillery.  The French are making progress.  Napoleon is told that their positions are being attacked by the cavalry of Generals Matov and Uvarov. 

Kutusov is informed that all the points of the Russian position are in the hands of the enemy.  And there are just not enough troops to do anything about it.  The Russians start running from the battlefield.  A commander reports to Kutusov that the Russians are completely routed.  This angers Kutusov who claims that the enemy has been repulsed on the left and defeated on the right flank.  He tells his commander to go to General Barclay and tell him that Kutusov intends to attack tomorrow.  He shouts:  "The enemy is defeated!" 

Nevertheless, reports keep coming in about defeats.  The Russian army loses half of its men.  And another battle proves physically impossible. 

Andrei is brought back on a stretcher.  Prince Anatole Kuragin gets his leg taken off, while Andrei waits his turn to be seen. 

Napoleon takes a close-up look at the battlefield.  There are dead bodies everywhere. 

Pierre's once white suit is brown with all kinds of dirt and he no longer has his hat.  Finally, he says he's had enough of war. 


Chapter 43.  The Consequences of the Battle of Borodino.

The direct result 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. 



Part IV. Pierre Bezukhov.


Chapter 44.  Opening Credits. 


Chapter 45.  September 1, 1812.  General Kutusov orders the Retreat from Moscow. 

Kutusov asks his officer staff what should they do?  Should they risk losing the army and Moscow in battle or give up Moscow without a battle and save the army?  There is no agreement among the officers.  So Kutusov decides:  "I give the order to retreat."  The officers, some looking disgusted, get up and leave.  Alone with one other officer, Kutusov says the fight's not over and the French will yet eat horsemeat. 

Night of September 1.  The army falls back across Moscow to the Ryazan road. 

Pierre tells his servant to bring him peasant clothes and a pistol. 

Natasha asks a servant whose carriage is that?  She learns that it belongs to Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who they say is dying. 

Natasha's father brings the family and the servants together.  He says:  "God be with us." 


Chapter 46.  The Exodus from Moscow.

Moscow residents flee Moscow taking with them everything they can carry.  In the crowd Natasha sees Pierre and calls out to him  He comes over to her carriage and she asks him what's happened?  He says he is staying in Moscow.  Natascha says she wishes she were a man so she could stay with him.   They part.  As Pierre walks he feels everything is crumbling down around him. 


Chapter 47.  Napoleon Anticipates the Capture of Moscow.

Napoleon looks out from a rise of land at Moscow.  He is waiting for a delegation from the city.  A messenger arrives to tell the Emperor:  "Moscow is empty!" 

A female servant comes in to tell Pierre that four Frenchman are here.  A French officer named Ramballe comes in and states that he wants lodging.  A drunken madman tries to shoot the Frenchman, but Pierre deflects his hand and the bullet goes into the wall beside the officer.  The officer threatens to have the man shot, but Pierre asks him please to pardon the drunken fool.  Ramballe replies that since Pierre saved his life, he will pardon the man. 


Chapter 48.  The French Army Enters Moscow. 

There are huge number of French soldiers coming into Moscow. 


Chapter 49.  Napoleon Surveys the Treasures of Moscow. 

Napoleon looks at the situation through a telescope.  Later he looks at some of the marvels of Russian palatial interior decoration.

Ramballe has dinner with Pierre.  He tells Pierre that he was wounded once at Wagram, twice at Smolensk and in the leg at the great battle before Moscow.  Pierre asks if Napoleon is here in the city?  No, replies Ramballe, he'll enter Moscow tomorrow.  (But Napoleon is in the city.)

The refugees look back toward Moscow and see parts of it on fire.  Sonya looks out the window and says:  "How awful!  I believe all Moscow is on fire."  She tells Natasha to come and look, but Natasha's mind is only with Prince Andrei who is traveling along with them. But when she gets up and walks around, she notices the reddish lights on the wall created by the glow of the huge fires in Moscow.  She rushes to the window, opens it up, puts her head out and takes a good look while she cries over the fate of Moscow. 

When everyone is sleeping Natasha goes to see Prince Andrei in another room. 


Chapter 50.  Natasha visits the Wounded Prince Andrei. 

When the Prince sees Natasha, he says:  "What happiness!"  She asks him to forgive her for what she did.  The Prince just says that he loves her:  "I love you more  -- better than before." 


Chapter 51.  The Pillage and Burning of Moscow. 

Pierre walks around Moscow.  He is determined either  to die or end Europe's sufferings.  He sees a very distraught woman who tells him that they accidentally left her daughter behind in the house and now  it's on fire. Pierre volunteers to go look for her.  The woman asks Aniska to show him the way.  When they finally get to the house it is being totally consumed by fire.  A French officer says that he saw a child in the back of the yard of the burning house.  He goes with Pierre and they find the young girl crying beneath a picnic table. 

Pierre picks up the child and goes to look for the girl's mother.  When he gets there the family is gone.  Luckily a woman knows two women who were just here, but left.  Pierre gives the baby to the woman and she promises to take it to the mothers and find out who is the true mother of the girl.  A French soldier starts accosting a beautiful Russian woman.  Pierre knocks the man down, but then a great many French soldiers jump on him.  Pierre fights them off one after another, but is eventually captured.  His hands are tied behind his back.  They take him away. 

The French soldiers are pillaging anything of value trying to stay ahead of the fires.  A hospital catches fire and the sick and mentally ill are forced onto the streets. 

Life in Petersburg continues as before.  In Scherer's salon, someone reads a loud a letter from the Metropolitan Bishop of Moscow.  The letter was written to accompany a present to the Emperor of an icon of Saint Sergius.  The other news is of the sudden death of Pierre's wife Helene. 

Pierre appears before the judge.  The judge says he knows Pierre and he also knows that Pierre is a Russian spy.  Pierre protests that he has never met the judge and has done nothing wrong.  The judge asks Pierre how is he to know if Pierre is telling him the truth?  Pierre says:  "I am known by Captain Ramballe of the 13th Light Brigade."  The judge tells the staff to take Pierre away. 

September 8, 1812.  Pierre is taken together with a group of Russian men to the place of execution.  A French solider reads that the men have been condemned to death.  The soldiers take two men at a time up to a post on a small hill, blindfold them, tie them to the post with rope and shoot them.  They now grab a young man of around 20 and Pierre.  Someone shouts:  "Not the big man!"  Pierre is pushed back into line.  The young man tries to resist being taken to the post, but it is no use.  He is executed. 

Pierre watches as French soldiers cover up the dead bodies with dirt.  Pierre thinks about the death of the young man.  Later he meets a wounded but recovering Russian soldier named Platon Karatayev from the hospital.  He says Pierre can sleep in the ruins with him and his stray dog. 


Chapter 52.  The Death of Prince Andrei. 

Pierre is on his death bed with Natasha sitting and knitting nearby.  Andrei tells Natasha that he loves her too much.  Sister Maria and nephew Nikolai come to visit Andrei.  Sister cries.  Pierre closes his eyes and dies. 

Napoleon sends an emissary to Kutusov to ask for peace.  Kutusov tells the emissary:  "I should be cursed by posterity if I were regarded as the instigator of any sort of settlement.  Such is the will of our people."  The emissary goes back to Napoleon to tell him.  Napoleon had asked for peace, but received not any sort of answer. 

A messenger comes to Kutusov with the message that Napoleon has left Moscow.  His vanguard is now at Fominsky.  The General cries a little but then says that God heard their prayers:  "Russia is saved!" 


Chapter 53.  The French Army Departs Moscow.

The French troops leave.  And as they leave the air is full of snow flurries.  Pierre walks with a lot of other Russian prisoners heading for France.  Any stragglers are shot by the French troops.  Pierre looks pretty depressed.  Platon Karatayev with his stray dog sees Pierre in the group of prisoners.  He sits down and leans against a birch tree.  Two French soldiers approach him and shoot him dead.  The dog goes with the rest of the prisoners.  At night sitting by the fire Pierre sees the dog who comes up to him and jumps into his arms. 

Pierre takes a walk but a French soldier tells him to go back.  He starts laughing wildly about the situation in which he finds himself. 

The young brother of Natasha, Petya Rostov, delivers a message to a Russian cavalry unit.  He is to stay with the unit for awhile.  Petya tells the men at dinner that he desperately wants to fight and asks for a command of his own.  The men are a bit amused by the depth of his enthusiasm for battle.     


Chapter 54.  Petya Rostov is Killed in Battle.

Petya joins in on a cavalry charge.  He is killed in action.  When Natasha's mother learns of the death of her son, she really takes it hard.


Chapter 55.  The French Army's Wintry Retreat.

Under an assumed name, Napoleon leaves his army and goes to Paris.


Chapter 56.  Napoleon's Final Address to His Troops.

Napoleon's words sound like they are more about him and what the soldiers can do to help him keep fighting than about the men who served him so faithfully.  His words are empty ones given that thousands of French soldiers and horses are freezing to death.  Kutusov is with the Russian army on the march.  Some of the starving French soldiers join in with the Russians because they have food. 


General 57.  General Kutusov's Final Address to His Troops.

 General Kutusov shouts:  "Hurrah, lads!"  He thanks his men for all their hard and loyal service.  He says now he has pity for the Frenchmen, who are so miserable and destitute.  But, who invited them in anyway?  They have gotten what they deserve. 

The rebuilding of Moscow has already begun.  Pierre returns to the city in a carriage. 


Chapter 58.  Natasha and Pierre Reunited.

Pierre says hello to Maria.  He tells her that he did not know about Andrei.  In fact, he thought he had died at Borodino.  Maria tells him that she was very glad to hear of his rescue from the French.  Pierre sees a woman sitting on a couch but doesn't recognize her as she is dressed in a black dress and a black hat for the mourning period.  Maria sees him keep looking at the woman and she asks Pierre:  "Don't you recognize her?"  Natasha comes to him and he goes to Natasha. 



Very good movie.  The films War and Peace and Gone with the Wind share a lot of similarities which probably suggests that Margaret Mitchell was influenced by Tolstoy's great novel.  The great commonality between the books is that they both deal with such important wars, part of the Napoleonic Wars and the American Civil War.  In both wars, the civilian populations were greatly effected and the human relationships in both novels are set against the war backgrounds. 

War and Peace is on a much grander scale than Gone with the Wind.  The thousands of extras used in the battle scenes create very impressive views of what the battles might have looked like. But on the other hand, the battles were also a big waste of time because they aeat up a lot of time and one can't really tell what's going on in the battles anyway.  And the philosophy of the book War and Peace was not well integrated into the film and seems like another waste of time. 

In many way Gone with the Wind was more enjoyable for several reasons.  There are too many characters in War and Peace and  all the characters are very flawed. Scarlett O'Hara was such a strong woman, just a bit delusional.  In contrast, Natasha is just too young and too immature, as well as too fickle.  She is a light-weight compared to Scarlett.  Scarlett is much more suitable to the 21st century than Natasha, who is more foolish and traditional.  Scarlett was always breaking the rules.  My wife says to look at Pierre compared to Rhett Butler as played by the very handsome Clark Gable.  There is just no comparison.  And the love relationship between Scarlett and Rhett is much deeper.  The two always seem to miss each other, but there is no real doubt that the two people love each other.  Natasha is so capricious that who could say whether the relationship between Pierre and Natasha would last?  Natasha's first love Andrei was a very flawed man.  He was stiff as a board and way too serious about everything. 

I know all the critics would say that Gone with the Wind is just a soap operas, but as a movie it sure was more enjoyable than War and Peace. 

Patrick L. Cooney, Ph. d.


Historical Background:

1789  --  French Revolution. 

1804 May  -- Napoleon crowned Emperor of the French.

1805 – the United Kingdom, the Austrian Empire, Sweden, and the Russian Empire formed the Third Coalition to overthrow the French Empire. When Bavaria sided with Napoleon, the Austrians, 72,000 under General Mack von Leiberich, prematurely invaded while the Russians were still marching through Poland.

1805 (August 27) – Napoleon’s 177,000 troops of the Grande Armée at Boulogne, ready to invade England, march instead south.

1805 (September 24) – Napoleon’s troops were facing General Mack, around Ulm, from Strasbourg to Weißenburg in Bayern.

1805 (October 7) – Mack learned Napoleon was planning to march round his right flank to cut him off from the Russians who were marching via Vienna. He changed fronts, placing his left at Ulm and his right at Rain, but the French still crossed the Danube at Neuburg.

1805 (October 16-19) – the Battle of Ulm.  Napoleon surrounded Mack's entire army at Ulm and Mack surrendered with 30,000 men, 18 generals, 65 guns, and 40 standards. (of the other Austrians, about 20,000 escaped, 10,000 were killed or wounded, and the rest made prisoner.)  Mack meet with Napoleon saying that he was:  "The unfortunate General Mack."  Francis II, the Holy Roman Emperor, court martialed Mack and sentenced him to two years' imprisonment.

1805 – Kutusov commanded the Russian corps which opposed Napoleon's advance on Vienna.  He recommended against rushing into battle.  (It is said he pretended to fall asleep so he would not be blamed for what he saw as a coming disaster.)

1805 (December 2) – Napoleon won the Battle of Austerlitz (aka the Battle of the Three Emperors). By doing so he virtually destroyed the Third Coalition against the French Empire. He decisively defeated a Russo-Austrian army, commanded by Tsar Alexander I. The battle took place near Austerlitz about 10 km (6 miles) south-east of Brno, Moravia. Austria left the war.  The Russian troops under Kutuzov arrived late and this prevented them from saving the Austrian armies in the field.  The Russians withdrew to await reinforcements and to link up with surviving Austrian units.

1806-1807  --  War of the Fourth Coalition (France versus Prussia, Saxony, Russia) Prussian resistance leads to the war.

1812 (June 23) – Napoleon’s invasion of Russia begins.

1812 (August) – Napoleon defeated the Russians in a series of battles at Smolensk.

The Russians carried out a scorched earth policy that made it difficult for the French to find food for themselves and forage for their horses.

1812 (September 7) – the Battle of Borodino. Approximately 44,000 Russian and 35,000 French casualties and captured. It may have been history’s bloodiest day of battle up to that point.  The Russians withdrew beyond Moscow.  The French entered Moscow.  Moscow’s governor Fyodor Rostopchin ordered Moscow burned.

1812 (October 23)  --  after a month in Moscow, Napoleon (concerned about loss of control back in France) and his army left. 


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