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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 »
Reviews
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

Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies. See more »

Goofs

In the recruitment parade scene, several women are wearing drop-waisted dresses with hems that end well above the ankle. This is appropriate for the year of production, 1925, but quite anachronistic for the time in which the scene is ostensibly set, 1917. See more »

Quotes

Bull: What do you birds think this is... a May party? Come on! Show me some speed!
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

Referenced in The Silent Lovers (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the Finest Movies of Its Own or Any Other Era
18 October 2004 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

A fine silent classic that has held up very well, "The Big Parade" is one of the very best films of its era and of its genre. It has a nice blend of drama, action, and lighter moments, with plenty of good photography and settings. The characters are simple, believable, and unpretentious, and they are brought to life well by the cast. Its commentary on the war is to the point, yet in a thoughtful way, without the heavy-handed cinematic ranting that mars so many films about war.

The early scenes work very well in introducing some of the characters and themes. Its portrayal of the USA's entry into the war is intelligently done, while holding nothing back in its perspective. By not assigning blame or responsibility to any specific persons or countries, it enhances its portrayal of the kind of mentality that so often prevails in such situations. It is a believable, and sometimes subtle, sequence that works quite well.

Once the movie gets into the main story, it uses the "parade" imagery well, and combines it effectively with the personal development of the characters.

John Gilbert and Renée Adorée work quite well together, and Gilbert's army pals are both used effectively. There are quite a few memorable scenes as it depicts a full variety of wartime experiences. The lighter sequences are used particularly well, not as raucous humor but as moments of the more sensitive side of human nature that is still there somewhere amidst all of the turmoil.

There's much more that could be said about such an absorbing film, but watching the movie is more rewarding than reading about it. It's neither an action-heavy war film nor a superficial, easily understood movie contrived to prove a particular point; it's something much better that fully repays careful attention and appreciation.


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