This is an English language film (made in America) adapted from a novel by German author Erich Maria Remarque. The film follows a group of German schoolboys, talked into enlisting at the beginning of World War 1 by their jingoistic teacher. The story is told entirely through the experiences of the young German recruits and highlights the tragedy of war through the eyes of individuals. As the boys witness death and mutilation all around them, any preconceptions about "the enemy" and the "rights and wrongs" of the conflict disappear, leaving them angry and bewildered. This is highlighted in the scene where Paul mortally wounds a French soldier and then weeps bitterly as he fights to save his life while trapped in a shell crater with the body. The film is not about heroism but about drudgery and futility and the gulf between the concept of war and the actuality.Written by
Michele Wilkinson, University of Cambridge Language Centre, <email@example.com>
SEE all of the famed characters in ERICH MARIA REMARQUE'S world-stirring novel - Louis Wolheim as Katzcinsky, Lewis Ayres as Paul Baumer, John Wray as Sergeant Himmelstoss. See Tjaden, the French girls across the canal, Paul's mother - every one of the folks in the book is here! See more »
To ensure authenticity, director Lewis Milestone instructed the studio to try to find out if there were any World War I German army veterans living in the Los Angeles area, so he could have them authenticate German uniforms, equipment, etc. So many were found that Milestone cast a lot of them as German officers in the film, and had them drill the extras playing German troops (the scene where they are laying communication wire in the forward trenches was led by a former German soldier whose job during the war was to do exactly that). See more »
When going to their first battle, while the young soldier is talking to Kat, the young soldier's bag switches from being across his chest with his hands by his side to his bag not being there and his right arm holding his scarf between shots. See more »
Man cleaning doorknob:
From the Russians?
Man cleaning doorknob:
No, from the French. From the Russians we capture more than that every day.
See more »
Later reissues of the film mentioned that the film was an Academy Award winner in the opening credits. See more »
The Library of Congess also restored a sound version, 133 minutes long, which is the version occasionally shown on American TV. See more »
World War 1 and a young German, Paul Baumer, enthusiastically joins the Army. With romantic notions of war and idealistic dreams in his head he undergoes training and then is sent off to the Western Front. In due course the romantic notions are replaced by the harsh reality of war and he becomes disillusioned with it all.
Great World War 1 movie, made when the war was still fresh in everyone's minds.
Might well be the first anti-war war movie, as it depicts the grim realities of war, rather than the romantic, heroic non-existent version of it.
Harrowing, shocking, original, unpredictable, and just as relevant today as in 1930.
Surprisingly good production values for 1930.
Solid performances all round.
Far far better than the 1979 remake.
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