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Paths of Glory (1957)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | November 1957 (West Germany)
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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.

Director:

Stanley Kubrick

Writers:

Stanley Kubrick (screenplay), Calder Willingham (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
2,620 ( 129)
Top Rated Movies #61 | Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kirk Douglas ... Col. Dax
Ralph Meeker ... Cpl. Philippe Paris
Adolphe Menjou ... Gen. George Broulard
George Macready ... Gen. Paul Mireau
Wayne Morris ... Lt. Roget
Richard Anderson ... Maj. Saint-Auban
Joe Turkel ... Pvt. Pierre Arnaud (as Joseph Turkel)
Christiane Kubrick ... German Singer (as Susanne Christian)
Jerry Hausner ... Proprietor of Cafe
Peter Capell ... Narrator of Opening Sequence / Chief Judge of Court-Martial
Emile Meyer ... Father Dupree
Bert Freed ... Sgt. Boulanger
Kem Dibbs Kem Dibbs ... Pvt. Lejeune
Timothy Carey ... Pvt. Maurice Ferol
Fred Bell 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:

The most explosive motion picture in 25 years! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Latin

Release Date:

November 1957 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Paths of Glory See more »

Filming Locations:

Munich, Bavaria, Germany See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$935,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bryna Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Main actor Kirk Douglas was born in the year the movie takes place, 1916. See more »

Goofs

After the court martial, as the sergeant is addressing the guards describing the procedure and discipline required of the firing squad, all of the guards in the rank have a "710" regiment number collar pin whereas the sergeant (and those in Col. Dax's regiment) have a "701". Although it might be a simple matter of the costuming department transposing the two numerals, the difference might also be intentional. If a firing squad is going to execute three men in a given regiment, then you'd want to have men from another regiment come in and do it to avoid having men shooting their friends. 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

Referenced in Nostalgia Critic: A.I: Artificial Intelligence (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Künstlerleben (Artist's Life), Op.316
(1867) (uncredited)
Composed by Johann Strauss
Played as dance music at the party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
They Couldn't Take An Ant Hill
2 July 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Almost one hundred years later the concept of that static war of the trenches that was the Western front of World War I is almost unfathomable. After the French army stopped the German offensive at the Battle of the Marne, the French and British armies faced the Germans in a line of trenches that stretched from Belgium to Switzerland. About a quarter of France was occupied for four years in that time. The casualties ran into the millions in that stalemate that gains were only measured in meters.

It was always just one more offensive over the top charging into automatic weapon fire that would break the other guy. Just such an offensive was planned one day in 1916 against a German stronghold dubbed the ant hill.

General George MacReady, promised a promotion by his superior Adolphe Menjou, orders a beaten and tired battalion to charge the ant hill. The attack flops and MacReady looks for scapegoats. He decides after coming down from shooting 100 men to a selected three drawn by lot. The unlucky three are Joseph Turkel, Ralph Meeker, and Timothy Carey.

The commander of the three Kirk Douglas asks to serve as their counsel and he makes a good show of it at the kangaroo court martial they have. But the fix is definitely in.

Except for Spartacus, Kirk Douglas rarely plays straight up heroic types in film. Even his good guys have an edge to them, a dark side. But as Colonel Dax, Douglas is at his most heroic. He may be one dimensional here, but he's great. Especially in that last scene with Adolphe Menjou when he tells the man off in no uncertain terms, mainly because Menjou has misread Douglas's motives.

Menjou and Macready portray two different military types. The arrogant MacReady as versus the very sly Menjou. Not very admirable either of them. Menjou was not very popular at this time in Hollywood because of the blacklist. He favored it very much, his politics were of the extreme right wing. Nevertheless he was a brilliant actor and never better than in this film, one of his last.

The enlisted men are a good bunch also. They're kind of like the posse in The Oxbow Incident, just an ordinary group who become ennobled in martyrdom as they go to the firing squad for the sake of politics.

Paths of Glory is one of the best anti-war films ever made. It ranks right up there with All Quiet on the Western Front which showed the war from the German point of view. Both will be classics 200, 300, a thousand years from now.


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