This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
All Quiet on the Western Front
They left for war as boys never to return as men.
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.
Film #1 of Project 30
”When it comes to dying for your country it’s better not to die at all.”
It’s really amazing that this 84 year old film’s messages and its viewpoints regarding war and its effects on human soul feel so fresh and modern even now. Lewis Milestone’s adaptation of Eric Maria Remarque’s novel of the same name is an absorbing, tantalizing and incredibly affective piece of cinema which focuses on a group of naive German boys who go to the ugly battlefields of World War I and it shows how anguish, misery and sorrow replaces all their energy, passion and enthusiasm for life and how their courage, valor and heroism soon turns into silence, depression and despair.…
There are a dozen or so legendary films in the history of cinema that live up to their billing, and then some. This is certainly one of them. It's so defiantly timeless, and also makes you somewhat wonder why people even bothered making war films ever since.
As a result of the 100th year commemorations of WWI which are currently underway, I finally decided to seek this film out and polish it off. It is one of those films you often hear about a long time before you get around to seeing it, it features prominently in the history of early cinema, particularly the early era of the Oscars. The film title itself is pure pop-culture, to the point of…
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. A phenomenal piece of work that has stood the test of time as well as anything.
[Originally written on my blog.]
Give it up to Milestone for directing battle sequences that still have the power to astonish over 80 years later, even compared to the groundbreaking contemporary films they directly influenced (namely Saving Private Ryan and its knockoffs). Actually, just give it up to him period, because the entire film is sensationally directed, to the point where it much more closely resembles late silents than early talkies. There actually is a silent version of All Quiet, as it turns out, shot simultaneously, and I really should watch that at some point, if only to see how it handles the incredibly stilted dialogue scenes that keep dragging the movie down. (Odds are it plays…
A half hour into this, around the time the second hysterical soldier cries like a baby, I'm ready to condemn it for being unrealistic. And that's when I realize it's just my American conditioning kicking in. Having recently watched American Sniper (review forthcoming), All Quiet On The Western Front is about as lucky a counterpoint as I could have hoped for. A film like this just couldn't be made today; lately it seems the American military must be a rock-solid bastion of masculinity at all times, and it's insane to think how many war films made in Hollywood tread this same purloined path of self-righteous bravado.
Eighty-five years later and this is one of the greatest war films ever made.…
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.
An awe-invoking production. Pre-Code cinema at its most powerful.
A war film told from the perspective of the Germans rather then it being English. Spoken in English rather then German and set during World War I is All Quiet on the Western Front.
Following a group pf troublesome boys who are given the chance to enlist in the army. This is through a motivation speech from their Professor Kantorek played by Arnold Lucy. Seeing it as an opportunity for them to get out of school nearly the entire class enlists. However later on it is not what it seems. From going through training under Himmelstoss played by John Wray who swears that he will make soldiers out of them. Also the experience they will face through war and under…
First watch in a long time, and I'm sorry to say that it drops out of my very short 10/10 list. It's just too unsubtle, too heavy-handed, to be perfect. That said, it's still a very powerful anti-war statement that really set the standard for war films that have the courage not to glorify war, and everything in that genre that's come after it owes it a debt. For that reason, I couldn't drop it very far.
The high praise of this film, despite its age, is incredibly well known as the 1930 winner for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. This Smithsonian-preserved film was #54 on the first edition of the American Film Institute's "100 Years... 100 Movies" list and their #7 epic on their genre lists. It's regarded still, to this day, as arguably the greatest anti-war film in cinematic history.
Based on the German World War I novel written by Erich Maria Remarque, the American film adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front was released in 1930, predating World War II by nine years. Directed by Academy Award winner Lewis Milestone and featuring a then-virtually unknown cast, the film follows one class of…
The most realistic, effective, and emotional WWI film I have ever seen.
Despite its slow pace, the film goes to places you'd never expect it to. Its masterful storytelling allows us to not just see, but feel the effects of the war and its effects on the soldiers.
Although only a handful of characters felt really developed, we feel connected to nearly all the characters because of how we're transported into World War I through the film's brilliant direction, cinematography, editing, sound, production design, and of course, acting. Nearly all of the characters feel relatable and are so likable that we are laughing in their glad moments with them, on the edge of our seats with them, and crying with…
God when this film stops to talk about how war is horrible it's a stilted affair. The awkward delivery and overly earnest dialogue never feel the least bit organic. It's more high school play than best picture winner.
But when the battles start and the camera moves and the screams of bombs and men are heard, oh boy is this compelling. A clear argument for show don't tell, my gut dropped during each battle scene, the horror of it all clear as glass.
Not all the dialogue is terrible mind you, there are some nice character moments throughout the film, especially between the veteran Kat and the younger recruits. But as soon as the pontificating starts , well, it's the only time in my life I have ever wanted war to break out.
An excellent story, nuanced acting, and directorial skill combine to make a brutal, heart-breaking and depressing, depiction of the horrors, both psychological and physical, of war. It's also years ahead of it's time, technically and artistically, only barely feeling dated 85 years later.
Glad I watched this. Every realistic war movie should try to live up to this apex on the genre.
The battle scenes are stunning, but the film is dragged down a little by an excess of sentimentality. Some of the bits taken straight from the novel, like the Gerard Duval scene, work much better in prose than on screen - talk it up to stilted acting in the transition to sound era, I guess.
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
Yes, this is the history of the cinema. Or at least as Letterboxd sees it. The films below were picked…