8.2/10
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The Big Parade (1925)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, War | 1926 (Austria)
A young American soldier witnesses the horrors of the Great War.

Directors:

King Vidor, George W. Hill (uncredited)

Writers:

Laurence Stallings (story), Harry Behn (scenario) | 1 more credit »
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3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Gilbert ... James Apperson
Renée Adorée ... Melisande (as Renee Adoree)
Hobart Bosworth ... Mr. Apperson
Claire McDowell ... Mrs. Apperson
Claire Adams ... Justyn Reed
Robert Ober ... Harry
Tom O'Brien Tom O'Brien ... Bull
Karl Dane ... Slim
Rosita Marstini ... French Mother
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Storyline

The idle son of a rich businessman joins the army when the U.S.A. enters World War One. He is sent to France, where he becomes friends with two working-class soldiers. He also falls in love with a Frenchwoman, but has to leave her to move to the frontline. Written by Philip Apps <apps@math.wisc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

King Vidor's PICTURIZATION of LAURENCE STALLINGS' GREAT STORY See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

1926 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Parade des Todes See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$245,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$11,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$22,000,000, 31 December 1985
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | (1988 TCM print) | (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Silent | Mono (music and sound effects) (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (with tinted sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Due to Hollywood censorship of the time, title-writer Joseph Farnham had to tone down the salty dialogue of the American soldiers. For example, he was required to substitute "b------s" for "bastards". Yet in another scene he was allowed to have John Gilbert shout (in all caps) "GOD DAMN THEIR SOULS!" See more »

Goofs

The three future recruits live in New York City (one works construction on a skyscraper, another works a bar in the Bowery), but during the recruitment parade, there are shots of wide avenues lined with low buildings and palm trees - clearly shots of 1920s Los Angeles. See more »

Quotes

James Apperson: Waiting! Orders! Mud! Blood! Stinking stiffs! What the hell do we get out of this war anyway! - cheers when we left and when we get back! But who the hell cares... after this?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer gratefully acknowledges the splendid co-operation of the Second Division, United States Army and Air Service Units, Kelly Field. See more »

Connections

Featured in MGM Parade: Episode #1.23 (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Blockbuster Classic from the Silent Era
10 June 2003 | by gbheronSee all my reviews

King Vidor's "The Big Parade" is the biggest blockbuster from the silent era, and, I am told, the movie gold standard to which all others were compared well into the 1930s. ("The Big Parade" was released in 1925).

The story focuses on three American doughboys, fighting in Europe during WWI. Two are working class; a tobacco spitting riveter, Slim, a barkeep, Bull, and a ne'er-do-well son of wealth, Jim, who was shamed into enlisting by his family. These three go through the hardships of military training together, bond, and become fast friends. Their friendships deepen after they are shipped to France where Jim falls in love with a French farm girl. This comprises the first half of the 2 ½ hour movie. The second half of the movie is the gritty reality of trench warfare.

Some say that this is one of the first big-budget anti-war movies. I don't quite agree. The movie shows the human cost of war without condemning it outright. Remember that WWI was 'the war to end all wars', and in 1925 this was still a possibility. But "The Big Parade" does take an unflinching look at the affect of war on both combatants and non-combatants.

The performances and direction are excellent and silent or not, this is a movie well worth seeing.


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