4 user 1 critic

Are We Civilized? (1934)

Approved | | Drama | 6 June 1934 (USA)
Paul is a European. He served in the army in the Great War. He emigrated to the USA. One day he returns to Europe and talks of freedom and liberty. The authorities (Nazi, but unnamed) come ... See full summary »



(story & dialogue) (as Harold Sherman)

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Complete credited cast:
... Paul Franklin, Sr.
... Norma Bockner
... Abraham Lincoln, Felix Bockner
... Paul Franklin Jr.
... Dr. Leonard Gear
... Col. Salter
Alin Cavin ... Moses
Conrad Seideman ... Buddha (as Conrad Siderman)
Sidney T. Pink ... Confucius
... Caesar
Charles Requa ... Christ
... Mohammed
... Christopher Columbus
Aaron Edwards ... George Washington
... Napoleon.


Paul is a European. He served in the army in the Great War. He emigrated to the USA. One day he returns to Europe and talks of freedom and liberty. The authorities (Nazi, but unnamed) come down on him. It is their duty to spread racism and religious hatred. Paul gives the speech of a lifetime set against an epic series of films spread across the history of mankind.

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Release Date:

6 June 1934 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Edited from The Ghost of Slumber Mountain (1918) See more »

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User Reviews

How can a movie start out THIS good and turn into such a complete mess?!
11 August 2015 | by See all my reviews

"Are We Civilized?" is, at times, a brilliantly insightful and wonderfully brave film. Unfortunately, that's just the first third of the film--the rest is pretty much low-budget crap! It's a real shame, because if they'd stuck with what they were doing initially, this could have been a great film.

When the movie begins, he's in the unnamed country of his birth but he's now an American citizen coming to spend time there--along with his son. The son has fallen in love with a nice girl--but her father is a fascist who is in charge of censorship in this now hateful country. What are the father and son to do?!

It's obvious that the film is an indictment of Nazi Germany and their repressive and evil government. The reason it's not mentioned by name and the actors all seem so American is not necessarily because the filmmakers are cowards. Before WWII, most Americans were ambivalent about European matters and wanted to remain neutral. In fact, sentiments ran so deep that Congress actually passed laws forbidding the studios from taking sides in the war once it began!! This is insane but true. So, the notion that filmmakers were trying to more subtly attack the Nazis (and the public surely would have known who the film was about). I commend them for this and loved this portion of the film. So why do I give it a three? Well, about a third of the way into the film, the fascists arrive at the old man's home and he then lectures them for the final 2/3 of the film-- using a lot of crappy clips from bad old silent films to pad the movie!!! On top of that, the guy playing the propaganda minister could barely read his lines. Overall, a hugely disappointing film that started with so much promise due to it being so preachy and cheap.

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