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"War and Peace": Knowing Right and Doing Wrong

War and Peace is based on Leo Tolstoy's classic novel. With the backdrop of Napoleon Bonaparte's invasion of Russia in the early 1800s, a variety of characters face moral and physical challenges, experience love, war, and suffering, and express philosophical and religious beliefs about the meaning of their lives.

The scene begins with Pierre (Henry Fonda), dressed in a stylish formal suit, walking the cold streets of Moscow with his army captain friend, Andrei, who is in his military uniform. Andrei had come to retrieve Pierre from a party and escort him to the bed of his dying father.

Pierre and Andrei exit the house and the intoxicated Pierre stumbles slightly as he misses a step. With slurred speech he says to Andrei: "Disapprove of me? Of course you do. You'd be wrong if you didn't. Arriving at the deathbed of my father bleary eyed. Reeking of alcohol. He disapproves too, my father. That's fair enough. I disapprove of many things about him. Chiefly I disapprove of the fact that he didn't marry my mother. Perhaps if I was legitimate¬Ö (He stops, looks up, and says in an unconvinced tone:) I have sinned, Lord, but I have several excellent excuses. With all that, Andrei, do you still disapprove?"

Andrei touches Pierre's arm in reassurance. "You're not being worthy of yourself, Pierre. You're not living up to the best things in yourself. You must be somebody."

As they resume walking, Pierre describes waking up each morning disgusted with himself and vowing to change. Yet, when someone offers him a vodka, he falls into the same behavior.

Andrei tries to encourage him. "There must be something you want to do."

"Of course. I want to discover everything. I want to discover why I know what's right and still do what's wrong. I want to discover what happiness is. And what value there is in suffering. I want to discover why men go to war. And what they really say deep in their hearts when they pray to God. I want to discover what it is that men and women feel when they say they love. You see, there's enough to keep me busy."

Elapsed Time: 00:14:10 seconds to 00:16:29 from the Paramount Pictures logo.

Content: Rated PG for violence

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