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Paths of Glory (1957)

8.5
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 89,290 users  
Reviews: 318 user | 127 critic

When soldiers in World War I refuse to continue with an impossible attack, their superior officers decide to make an example of them.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Top 250 #58 | Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Pvt. Pierre Arnaud (as Joseph Turkel)
Christiane Kubrick ...
German Singer (as Susanne Christian)
Jerry Hausner ...
Peter Capell ...
Narrator of Opening Sequence / Chief Judge of Court-Martial
Emile Meyer ...
...
Kem Dibbs ...
...
Fred Bell ...
Shell-Shocked Soldier
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Storyline

The futility and irony of the war in the trenches in WWI is shown as a unit commander in the French army must deal with the mutiny of his men and a glory-seeking general after part of his force falls back under fire in an impossible attack. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Now the screen blasts open the bombshell story of a Colonel who led his regiment into hell and back - while their maddened General waited for them - with a firing squad! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

25 October 1957 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

La patrulla infernal  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$935,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was banned in France for its negative portrayal of the French army. Switzerland also banned the film (until 1978), accusing it of being "subversive propaganda directed at France." Belgium required that a foreword be added stating that the story represented an isolated case that did not reflect upon the "gallantry of the French soldiers." See more »

Goofs

In the scenes of the men's executions the sky repeatedly shifts between gray and overcast in some shots to bright sunshine in others, noticeably changing the natural light, causing shadows and sun glare to appear and disappear from shot to shot. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator of opening sequence: War began between Germany and France on August 3rd 1914. Five weeks later the German army had smashed its way to within eighteen miles of Paris. There the battered French miraculously rallied their forces at the Marne River and in a series of unexpected counterattacks drove the Germans back. The front was stabilized then shortly afterwards developed into a continuous line of heavily fortified trenches zigzagging their way five hundred miles from the English Channel to the Swiss ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Spartacus (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Künstlerleben (Artist's Life), Op.316
(1867) (uncredited)
Composed by Johann Strauß
Played as dance music at the party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Stands the Test of Time
28 July 2007 | by (New Jersey, USA) – See all my reviews

An arrogant French general (a superb George Macready) orders his men on a suicide mission and then has the gall to try to court marshal and execute three of them for cowardice in the face of the enemy. A former lawyer turned colonel (Kirk Douglas in his prime) is the voice of reason against gross injustice. This excellently staged and wonderfully acted production is as much an acting showcase for Douglas as it is a directorial masterstroke by a young Stanley Kubrick who adapted this to the screen from a novel based on actual accounts.

Kubrick displays a great control of sound effects and camera movement in the brief but effective battle scenes that expertly depict the controlled chaos that was trench warfare during WWI. Things get juicier during the ensuing courtroom battle where the deafening disparity between the elite who propagate and profit from war and the common citizens who suffer and die in war is shown with great lucidity.

Unlike later Kubrick epics, this runs at a crisp 90 minutes, though suffers briefly from a slow and awkwardly staged opening ten minutes before Douglas comes on screen. Ultimately, this holds up very well to modern scrutiny thanks to the flawlessness of Kurbick's craft, the amazing ensemble acting, and the surprising depth of its philosophical and psychological pondering. "Paths of Glory" is more anti-arrogance than anti-war, and is unapologetically sentimental and pro-soldier. As such, much can still be gleaned from its message.


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