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After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Top Rated Movies #59 | Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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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 ...
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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:

BOMBSHELL! the roll of the drums... the click of the rifle-bolts... the last cigarette... and then... the shattering impact of this story... perhaps the most explosive motion picture in 25 years! 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:

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Box Office

Budget:

$935,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Generals Paul Mireau and George Brulard appear to be based loosely on two real French generals, Robert Nivelle and Philippe Pétain. Nivelle was a French army Commander-in-Chief who ordered an unsuccessful assault on German positions that resulted in massive French casualties. Nivelle was sacked and replaced by Petain, who ordered the execution of dozens of French soldiers who had mutinied. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film, when the German girl sings, there are modern (1950s) metal music stands on the stage. 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 ...
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Connections

Featured in The Greatest Ever War Films (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Der Treue Husar
(uncredited)
German folk song
Sung a cappella by Christiane Kubrick near the end
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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