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All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

War | 131 minutes
3,75 443 votes

Genre: War / Drama

Duration: 131 minuten

Country: United States

Directed by: Lewis Milestone

Stars: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim and John Wray

IMDb score: 8,1 (67.573)

Releasedate: 29 April 1930

All Quiet on the Western Front plot

"They left for war as boys never to return as men."

At the start of the First World War, a group of German students, including Paul Baumer, are persuaded by their teacher to serve the fatherland. At first they think it will be an exciting adventure, but that soon changes. They see the horrific reality of warfare, and the image of 'the enemy' and 'good and evil' fades. Paul watches his classmates die one by one.

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avatar van Bobbejaantje

Bobbejaantje

  • 1839 messages
  • 1826 votes

A realistic depiction of the great war in which the meaninglessness and horror of the daily life of frontline soldiers is displayed without falling into sensational pursuit of effect. The form depends on the message. It is a deeply humane portrait of ordinary boys in extraordinary circumstances.

I really like the premise of the film. The fact that people choose to depict the lives of German front soldiers is not an obvious fact if you look at all the war films that have been produced in Hollywood since then. It felt strange to me - especially in the beginning - to build empathy with the German guys fighting the French and British. As a viewer, you are thus transported into a different perspective where you come to realize that the average German soldier was just cannon fodder sacrificed for strategic interests. It is therefore a very socially critical film.

The film reminds me of the stories of my grandparents who were forced to shelter German soldiers in their house during the occupation during WWII. According to my grandparents' stories, those Germans didn't feel like fighting and being so far from home. War is therefore a case of large-scale manipulation.

Technically, I think this movie is formidably made, when I compare it to other movies from the early 1930s. Directing and cinematography are top notch. The lack of music during the brutal trench fighting contributes to a kind of documentary character of the film. Great acting and a strong script. It doesn't bother me that some dialogues or monologues seem a bit theatrical, it gives a poetic touch to the whole.

The ending of the film is truly unforgettable.

This film should be seen by every eighteen year old in my opinion.

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