All Quiet on the Western Front

DVD - 1999
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
All Quiet on the Western Front
A group of young World War I German recruits pass from idealism to disillusionment with war.


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This film, released in 1930, is based on the novel by Erich Maria Remarque and tells the story of young World War I German recruits who pass from idealism to disillusionment.

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Sep 12, 2014
  • aaa5756 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Sound and Very well done old school war movie. I would recommend this movie for all to see. Well worth the price of admission to any theater. No falling asleep on this one!!!!!

Jul 16, 2013
  • alpaca85 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I read the book of All Quiet on the Western Front a while ago. I remember really liking it, but by the time I got around to watching the movie, I'd forgotten most of it. From the very first frame of this film I instantly recalled the tone set by the book, and passages blazed through my mind like wildfire. I was shocked by what I saw. I thought that this was going to be a toothless, nonviolent, smaller war film. Sure it could have an anti-war message, but there's no way it's like Paths of Glory, right?

Wrong. Absolutely wrong. I'd forgotten that the production code didn't come into effect until 1934, so this movie could have shots of men being blown apart, and a shot of two severed hands swinging from a rifle. I'd also forgotten that this movie was at the very beginning of the sound era, when people cared about imagery still. But don't worry, by the end of the film I remembered. This was a movie that's decades ahead of it's time. It has more in common with Saving Private Ryan than any bloated war epic up until that time. And it not only shows us a unique side of war, it goes one higher and shows us the German perspective.

It's about a young boy in 1914 era Germany. He's impassioned to join the army and fight for the fatherland. Eventually, he slowly becomes more and more cynical, to the point where he becomes immune to the violence, and it's all he has left to hang onto. It's brutal to watch, and really shocking considered how it was made nearly 80 years ago, and the themes still hold up today. It breaks up war, stripping it down to it's most basic principals. There are scenes that feel as horrible as the real thing. When a man gets shot in the face, his eyes get black and he screams in the most horrifying and realistic way I have ever seen on film. He flops on the ground before dying, and the soldiers keep marching over him.

If anyone is to be sent to war, films like this, Paths of Glory and Come and See should be essential viewing. Films that strip away all the glory and honour, and shows us the closest reality to actual warfare. I don't know how director Lewis Milestone did it, but the stark cinematography makes the brutality of war more apparent on film than I have seen since I saw Come and See. The last shot is just gorgeous and horrifying at the same time. Sure, the dialogue can seem a little off and preachy at times, but the scenes in the trenches and hospitals, and back at home are a dark reminder of the battles and the men in them.

It doesn't help that the film chooses to base itself on WWI, possibly the most horrifying war in recent memory. The film never shies away from the reality of the fight and all the scars are shown. The trenches seem straight out of the Civil War, but the guns and the bombs are all too modern. It's a sobering experience to watch All Quiet on the Western Front. Sure the film is not without the problems. Like I said above, the dialogue can start to get wooden and preachy during the talky scenes, but given the fact that sound in cinema was only three years old, it's a miracle it turned out as well as it did. The film is also kind of long, but those are minor concerns.

While this isn't a masterpiece like other anti war films like Come and See, Ivan's Childhood or Paths of Glory, it's message is one that has not dated, and probably never will. It's a wonder a studio in Hollywood had the guts to do this movie, but I'm incredibly glad they did. It's one that resonates just as the book did, and one I wholeheartedly recommend, if only for the last few scenes. You won't regret it.

Mar 10, 2013
  • Monolith rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

An incredible social commentary for its time, following the journey of the naïve, glory hungry young men, and their rude awakening.

Nov 06, 2012
  • tj_is_cool rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

The movie was good when it was made but there are much better war movies nowadays,

Jul 17, 2012
  • rhys33 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

An amazing film that any movie buff can appreciate. It struck how well it holds up today despite being filmed more than 80 years ago.


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Mar 10, 2013
  • Monolith rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Title card: "This story is neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war..."

Mar 10, 2013
  • Monolith rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Schoolmaster: "If you remember some deed of heroism; some touch of humility -- tell about it." Paul Bäumer: "I can't tell you anything you don't know... We live in the trenches out there... We fight... We try not to be killed... Sometimes we are... That's all..." Schoolmaster: "No! ...No, Paul!" Paul Bäumer: "I've been there! I know what it's like!" Schoolmaster: "But that's not what one dwells on, Paul!" Paul Bäumer: "I heard you in here reciting that same old stuff -- Making more "Iron Men"; more young heroes... You still think it's beautiful and sweet to die for your country, don't you? Well, we used to think you knew. The first bombardment taught us better. So dirty, and painful to die for your country... When it comes to dying for your country, it's better not to die at all! There are millions out there dying for their countries... And what good is it..."


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