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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>
"All Quiet on the Western Front" is important filmmaking that still rings true today. The film deals with World War I combat through the eyes of the enemy (the Germans). For the first time ever it was realized how heartbreaking war really is, for all involved. One key message within the film is that innocence cannot survive on the battlefield. War is an awful thing that has no true winners, just losers. Brilliant performances from all involved make the film believable and accurate for the most part. A very young Lew Ayres is the best as his story creates tension for the entire film. This is perhaps the first film that proved that the cinema could be a truly imperative medium. The film was scorned by many in the U.S. as some thought that showing the Germans as sympathetic characters was in poor taste. Germans hated the film because of its anti-war message. Hitler was about to become a world power and he wanted all Germans to be excited and enthusiastic about combat. This film goes against those ideals. The Academy was brave enough and smart enough to award the film with the Best Picture Oscar in 1930 and Lewis Milestone became the first multiple Oscar winner in the directing category. "All Quiet on the Western Front" has the storyline of Malick's "The Thin Red Line" and the action and drama of Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan". An overwhelming film experience. 5 stars out of 5.
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