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All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 24 August 1930 (USA)
A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I.

Director:

Lewis Milestone

Writers:

Erich Maria Remarque (by), Maxwell Anderson (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
Won 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Louis Wolheim ... Kat
Lew Ayres ... Paul (as Lewis Ayres)
John Wray ... Himmelstoss
Arnold Lucy ... Kantorek
Ben Alexander ... Kemmerich (as Kemmerick)
Scott Kolk ... Leer
Owen Davis Jr. ... Peter
Walter Rogers ... Behn (as Walter Browne Rogers)
William Bakewell ... Albert
Russell Gleason ... Mueller
Richard Alexander ... Westhus
Harold Goodwin ... Detering
Slim Summerville ... Tjaden (as 'Slim' Summerville)
G. Pat Collins ... Bertinck (as Pat Collins)
Beryl Mercer ... Paul's Mother
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Storyline

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, <mw125@cus.cam.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

At last....the motion picture! 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 | French | German | Latin

Release Date:

24 August 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sin novedad en el frente See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(cut) | (BBFC submission before censorship) | (restored) | (copyright length) | (DVD) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)| Silent (synchronized music score)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The Greek writing on the blackboard in the schoolroom is the beginning of Homer's "Odyssey": "Tell me Oh Muse of that ingenious hero who traveled far and wide". See more »

Goofs

When Paul and Alfred are in the Catholic hospital talking to Hammacher, Paul's hands jump from pulling up the sheets to by his side between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Man cleaning doorknob: Thirty thousand.
Maid: From the Russians?
Man cleaning doorknob: No, from the French. From the Russians we capture more than that every day.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Later reissues of the film mentioned that the film was an Academy Award winner in the opening credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

The silent (synchronized sound, non-dialogue) version is 133 minutes long and was restored by the Library of Congress. It was prepared for Universal's own cinemas (they were one of the last exhibitors to convert to sound) and shown in France and Australia and possibly elsewhere, but never in Britain until Sunday 23 November 2003. See more »

Connections

Version of All Quiet on the Western Front (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

All Quiet on the Western Front
(1930) (uncredited)
Music by Lou Handman
Lyrics by Bernie Grossman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"For death is not an adventure..."
8 May 2015 | by luis_neivaSee all my reviews

All Quiet on the Western Front is the first great non-silent anti-war movie and arguably the most powerful one to date. Based on the critically acclaimed homonymous novel by Erich Maria Remarque, it portraits the transformations a young German soldier suffers during the World War I: the innocence before the war and the promise of everlasting glory, the shock with reality and the realization of his own mortality and of the hypocrisy of war and finally the return to the world away from the trenches, a world that didn't stop to wait for him.

Full of symbolisms, violence and impressive camera work, the whole film is a cinematographic masterpiece. The viewer is placed directly in the battlefield to the point he can almost grasp the blood-soaped earth of the trenches and smell the rotten corpses in no-man's land.

There's two layers I can find in this movie: the first one tells us about the physical destruction endured in a war – hunger, dirt, explosions, amputations, diseases, death… The film does not try to hide the truth, war is ugly and dirty, it is constant suffering and painful. If the first layer is strong enough to create a strong impression on the viewer, the second one is even more powerful: the psychological breakdown the soldiers experience is masterfully portrayed. The excitement turns into doubt, the doubt into disgust, the disgust into anger and the anger into complete numbness. A young promising student is gradually transformed into a soulless killing machine.

Also the acting deserves to be mentioned. The entire cast delivers stand up performances, especially Louis Wolheim and Lew Ayres who depict masterfully two generations united by war.

The only flaw I could find on this is the strong American accent on the few German words spoken, fact that can distract a bit especially on the beginning of the movie.

Overall, this is an overwhelming experience and a mandatory watch to every war film lover!


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