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War and Peace

BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation
Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (93 ratings)

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Summary

Paterson Joseph, John Hurt, Lesley Manville and Harriet Walter are among the cast of BBC Radio 4's epic full-cast dramatisation. Adapted for radio by Timberlake Wertenbaker, Leo Tolstoy's epic story follows the fortunes of three Russian aristocratic families during the Napoleonic War. First broadcast on New Year's Day 2015, the drama also features Alun Armstrong, Natasha Little, David Calder, Phoebe Fox, Sam Reid and Joanna David. Duration: 10 hours approx.

©2017 BBC Worldwide Ltd. (P)2017 BBC Worldwide Ltd.

Critic reviews

"Tolstoy's imagined world is recreated on air brilliantly by the extraordinary cast." ( The Spectator)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Par Excellent Production of War & Peace

An excellent production of War & Peace which we have listened to several times and look forward to more. Quite true to the book as it can possibly get, we have 9 hours and 38 mins of pure classic theatre that is beautifully acted by an all star cast who play their parts with aplomb. This is best if you can listen in one go, but still as enjoyable in parts. I could have listened to many more hours, this story just grips me each time. I like it because there are so many characters interwoven, some you like some you despise, but all have a personality behind them that stirkes, power and belief, friendship, love, desire, political intruigue, comradeship, and down right utter selfishness. Its all here set in a time and a Country I am thankfull I was not born.

5 people found this helpful

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A fantastic and thought-provoking story

A dramatic and encapsulating performance of each character's storylines and development, with thought-provoking questions and narratives throughout. Some shocks dashed here and there makes this a compelling listen.
However, due to the creative and immersive way the audio has been mixed and engineered, it is best enjoyed in a quiet space. Character dialogue can sometimes sound rather distant and quiet at first, so limit the noise around you so you can get lost in the characters' storytelling.

3 people found this helpful

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Brilliant adaptation of very great novel

A superb adaptation, gripping and moving in equal measure. Fine performances from the whole cast, which includes some of the greatest actors around.

3 people found this helpful

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Very difficult to hear all the characters.

I had to return this book after one chapter. Some characters sound so distant you can barely hear what they are saying and it very frustrating, especially as I know that the acting and narration has been performed well. But it ruins the experience so had to return it.

2 people found this helpful

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A great way in to an absolute classic.

My favorite book of all time. This was a wonderful dramatisation covering the main parts of the story. I can't recommend this highly enough.

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Superb

Superb dramatisation and a brilliant cast of narrators. It was a joy to listen to this performance.

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Loved it!!!

The dramatization was brilliant!! I'm now going to take on the Herculean task of reading the book.

I am in awe of how Tolstoy expertly juggled the numerous characters against the backdrop of the French- Russian War.

Absolutely loved it, all 9+ hours of it!

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I did enjoy War and Peace, though I didn’t love it

The full 10 hours was originally broadcast on New Year’s Day, 2015, by BBC Radio 4.

The story follows the fortunes of three Russian aristocratic families during the Napoleonic wars - though told with British noble accents. During family gatherings they reminisce and tell each other stories, some of war and some of peace.

A superb list of actors: Alun Armstrong, Sam Reid, John Hurt, Roger Allam, Tom Goodman-Hill……… the list is huge, and whilst this could be a positive I did find the enormous number of characters a little confusing - who was related to who, etc. Maybe a second listen would help make this clearer, or if you have already read the book you should be fine.

I did enjoy War and Peace, though I didn’t love it as much as either the Forsyte saga/ Cazalets dramatisations I’ve recently listed too. This is probably due to not really connecting with a character/s, there are just too many of them.

3 people found this helpful

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  • linda
  • 22-09-17

Engrossing

I tried to read War and Peace a few times but never stayed with it until this performance. The description of war were amazing- you really felt that you were on the battlefield.
I highly recommend.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-04-18

very enjoyable

Though War and Peace can be a daunting book, this BBC radio adaptation made it very enjoyable and the time (10 hours) passed quickly. I would definitely recommend it. Wonderful actors. Music and sound effects brought the story to life.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Cynthia Frase
  • 19-01-19

Amazing

Well preformed. I appreciate the actors clear articulation and command of the material. A joy to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • bJmir
  • 30-01-18

Couldn't stop listening.

Only took two days to finish this book. Loved the story and performance. Wonderful version.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Gabriel C. Fornari
  • 20-05-20

Know your characters

Hearing a dramatization of this magnificent novel that I had read years ago brought the story to life. However, I had to get a list of the characters to refresh my memory when I started listening. One of the actors had an accent that sounded strongly Irish or Scottish. I found it ill-placed in this narrative and at times very distracting. He portrayed a minor character yet one who appeared enough through the story to cause me to give 4 stars instead of 5.

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  • Phil
  • 14-04-20

Wow!

I loved it! I tried reading the book, but got lost in the characters. This was magnificent in telling the story and bring you in with great sound effects.

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  • Blue Swallow
  • 11-04-20

Best of the best

This epic novel brilliantly performed. Very touching and I was moved to tears many times.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • night owl
  • 16-09-18

Just didn't like this format

Never found a dramatization on audible. I finnished

I really Liked Murder On the Orient Express so I thought I'd give the wonderful War And Peace a go Big disappointment O found the background noise very distracting. Also didn't know .who was.talking a lot of the time
















Liked Murder On The Orient Express, I thought I'd give this great story a go. Very disappointed. I found the background noise distracting. I couldn't tell who was tal