War and Peace (1973)

We’re about a third of the way through the 1973 BBC miniseries of War and Peace. I’ve never seen it before (can’t think how I’ve missed it), and it’s a while since I’ve read the book, but the miniseries is reminding me of how much I love this story. Tolstoy’s characters are so real and so believable, and he paints them in all their human frailty and perversity as well as their goodness and nobility. I’m particularly enjoying Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of Pierre, one of Tolstoy’s best and most complicated characters.

Up until now I’ve said that Anna Karenina is my favourite (not just of Tolstoy, but of all the great Russian novelists), but I think I may be coming around to the orthodox view that War and Peace is the best. Except for the fifty page philosophical reflection at the end; don’t even try to read that part!

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