All Quiet on the Western Front
War | In English | 152 minutes | 1930
This Oscar-winning film was adapted from Erich Maria Remarque’s novel and many feel it makes a most persuasive anti-war statement. When World War I breaks out in 1914 in Europe, adolescent students in a German school heed their ultra-patriotic schoolmaster and, as a group, they all enlist in the German army. While in boot camp, the students are excited and enthusiastic. But, soon enough, they experience the horrors of war. The fighting is hellish and brutal. One by one the students are killed. Paul Baumer, one of the students, returns home for a break, visits his old school, and in the presence of his gung-ho schoolmaster, tells the students what war is really about. The film depicts the suffering and the disillusionment the students experience. But it’s a story that would apply to any war, even the ones that are going on today. The film was banned in Germany by Joseph Goebbels and was not shown in that country until the 1950s. Much of the credit for the success of this film must go to the director Lewis Milestone.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus) 100% 100%
Academy Awards: Outstanding Production and Best Director
It was the first talkie war film to win an Oscar.
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A harrowing, gruesome, morbid tale of war that’s so compelling in its realism, bigness, and repulsiveness. Nothing is passed up for the niceties; nothing glossed over for the women. Here war is exhibited as it is, butchery. It’s the best war picture every filmed.
In the years since it was made, ALL QUIET on the WESTERN FRONT has been much imitated but rarely approached as a film statement on the waste of war. The grittily photographed scenes of a company of young German volunteers, crew-cut kids fresh from the classroom, spilling their blood and the blood of the French youths for a few yards of devastated ground still brings home powerfully the madness of World War I trench warfare.
It is a great motion picture built firmly and consistently from a great book. It has a genius director, sensitive performances by a marvelous cast, and remarkable camera work.
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