All Quiet on the Western Front
A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I. Together with several other young German soldiers, he experiences the horrors of war, such evil of which he had not conceived of when signing up to fight. They eventually become sad, tormented, and confused of their purpose.
Okay, so some of the acting is a little stilted at times, but the earnestness helps to endear the characters and All Quiet on the Western Front packs in so much film-making virtuosity and naturalism for an 83 year old film that it hasn't aged for a second. The war scenes are astounding with realism and mortifying with truth. The camera so composed, always in the right spot, so still and picturesque with haunting reserve at times. The framing often reveals detail in the background as the foreground carries on with story. There is always more than one action going on in every shot, always commanding full attention. The anit-war message is ever-lasting in every sense of the word. A phenomenal piece of work that has stood the test of time as well as anything.
Goes to show how a second viewing can make a big difference. I'd been of the opinion this was creaky and boring, the kind of movie that would have been better as a silent movie a year or so earlier. I was an idiot for thinking this. It's just as visually dynamic as most silents, and the sound gives it a naturalism that suits the material infinitely better. Devastating.
A powerful war film. That even even if you showed it to people today, would still have the same effect as it did when it came out in 1930. There are lots of images in this that had me in awe. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT is a war film about the countries youth and how they see it at home, hearing it on the radio, listening to adults tell them to go to war and die like a hero, then there are the ones who actually fight on the front line. They kill, they listen to explosives go off, they see their friends die in their arms. This film breaks its story up into three parts.
Deserves its classic status, but with some caveats. The narrative template for the basic war film is basically already in place here, and the battle scenes and practical effects are convincing even now. But the acting exists in some strange transitional period where we're moving from silent to sound, and it's highly riffable, the expressions highly .giffable, and the story's compelling themes are turned into bludgeoning weapons by the script delivery. It's all delightfully naive BUT it clashes with the remarkable visual realism. The final shot coaxed some manly tears out of me though, so overall it works as more than just a historical touchstone, it's a good story.
**Part of the Best Picture Project**
Even today the film's age hasn't really affected how powerful the films is, despite having some pretty hammy and over the top acting at times. Also, some of the best war scenes ever.
I read the book of All Quiet on the Western Front. 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 fire. 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…
Yes, young whiny American accents coming out of German mouths takes a bit of time to get used to, yes a lot of the cast look identikit and are hard to differentiate and yes, some of the acting is a bit high-school level but this has little affect on the power and impact of All Quiet on the Western Front which remains one of the most potent anti-war statements in cinema. All Quiet is at its best when it is in the trenches. The stretch in the middle of the film showing the company in a trench bunker riding out, some of the young recruits going insane from the constant enemy bombardment is a terrifying scene. The following incredible trench…
Don't come much better than this.
Everyone should watch.
Powerful anti-war film that was both controversial and banned in many countries for many years; the first movie that deserved its win of Best Picture. It's both funny and haunting in turns, playing through all the emotions of America in war.
At least by my recollection of the '79 remake, it's better than this.
All Quiet features one of the coolest opening scenes I've ever seen. The cinematography somehow almost managed to convince me that I was watching a computer animation. A long take leads you from a parade into a classroom whose lively teacher is backdropped by the parade as he shouts its propaganda at the kids. It isn't one of my favorite openings in any subjective manner of speaking, but it's just so well done.
Everything gets really average from there. The supposedly German kids are played by a roomful of Hollywood sidekick archetypes. It's kind of hard to listen to their voices; things get okay again once you…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
For a movie that's 83 years old, All Quiet on the Western Front still feels relevant today in how it depicts the toll being a soldier in a war can take on a man. That's really the central theme of the film, and it explores it pretty well. The battle scenes are also quite strong, and the performances from the main actors are good as well, and some effective dramatic moments come from that. But at the same time, the movie never feels like it does anything truly remarkable or more interesting than what's expected of the war genre. Letters From Iwo Jima, for example, told its story from a different perspective, that being not our side, but found ways…
I read the book and was impressed how many of the horrifying images made it into this film. It was years ago that I saw it. Perhaps it's time to watch it again.
From the fact it was made in 1930, you could class 'All Quiet on the Western Front' as a war movie museum piece, but Lewis Milestone's film is a seminal piece of anti-war propaganda, focusing on the Great War from the perspective of a group of German soldiers, in particular Paul Baumer (Lew Ayres).
Ayres gives a sensitive and powerful performance: by the next World War the actor chose to serve as a medic, where he gained distinction.
Remembered for the sequence with the butterfly at the end in particular, this early talkie manages to set its scene and transmit a powerful message.
An involving and clever film which on its recent restoration and cinema re-release has taken on new significance in the 21st century.
One of the best war films ever made.