in about 100 words or less
USA 131m, sound (B&W)
Director: Lewis Milestone; Cast: Louis Wolheim, Lewis Ayres, John Wray, Arnold Lucy, and Ben Alexander
All Quiet on the Western Front is arguably the most realistic war film ever produced. There are few heroic tales or brave deeds portrayed in Lewis Milestone’s faithful adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic WWI anti-war novel about a lost generation of young men. The brutality and realism of the battle sequences are played out in an ugly destroyed landscape strewn with craters, mud, rats and bodies. The visual effects are well-matched by a never-ending barrage of explosions, machine gun fire and the scream of shellfire among the shouts and cries of the soldiers. The most poignant and perhaps controversial line comes from Paul, who states “It’s dirty and painful to die for your country” (Klaus Ming November 2008).