Rent All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

4.0 of 5 from 97 ratings
2h 8min
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Unlike most "message" films which date themselves almost immediately, Lewis Milestone's low-key unpolished and deeply-felt screen adaptation of the Erich Maria Remarque anti-war novel has lost little of its original impact. Years after its release it was still being banned in countries mobilizing for war.
The plot follows a group of young German recruits in World War I through their passage from idealism to disillusionment. As the central character Paul Baumer declares, "We live in the trenches and we fight. We try not to be killed - that's all". All Quiet is an anthology of now famous scenes: Ayres trapped in a shell crater with a man he has killed; the first meeting of the recruits and the veterans; infantrymen being mowed down to machine-gun visual rhythms; a moonlight swim with French farm girls; Ayres' pacifist speech to his astonished schoolmates; and the final shot of the soldier's hand reaching for a fatal butterfly.
, , , , , , Owen Davis Jr., Walter Rogers, , , , , , , , , , , , Poupée Andriot
Carl Laemmle Jnr
Erich Maria Remarque, Maxwell Anderson
George Abbott, Arthur Edeson, Del Andrews
Universal Pictures
Action & Adventure, Classics, Drama

1931 Oscar Best Director

1931 Oscar Best Picture

Release Date:
Run Time:
128 minutes
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
B & W
Release Date:
Run Time:
133 minutes
English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish
Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, English Hard of Hearing, Finnish, French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
  • Introduction by Film Historian Robert Osborne
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • 100 Years Of Universal: Academy Award Winners
  • 100 Years Of Universal: Restoring The Classics

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Reviews (2) of All Quiet on the Western Front

A Lesson Never To Be Learned. - All Quiet on the Western Front review by NC

Spoiler Alert

I so much wanted to enthuse and give this five stars. If any film, because of the right messages, deserved to be 'great', then this is one. And indeed there are great passages here:- the opening is spot-on, with a shameless teacher rallying his pupils to abandon learning, and join the slaughter (don't think, just die). The main character,Paul, sees the same teacher spouting the same slime, four years later, and sees it through completely different eyes, for what it is. A scene in a crumbling dug-out, as the young recruits await the order to fight, some of them already suffering mentally from the constant bombardment. A scene in a hospital, where the mortally wounded are taken to 'the dying room', and their vacant beds are remade in swift, clockwork fashion. But it is the battlefield scenes which stay in the mind. There is depictions of such chaos and confusion, and such horror as bodies are mown down and blown apart, that it is hard to believe first of all it was made in 1930, and secondly that such scenes of barbarity could ever be rendered more powerfully.

If only the script and the acting weren't so abysmal. There is one scene where Paul stabs a French soldier who has fallen into the same foxhole. Thereafter Paul, in anguish, desperately tries to aid the dying man. "I want to help you", he shouts. Yes, we can see that, we do not need to be told. It's done too melodramatically. How much more powerful would the scene be if no words were spoken - just Paul frantically trying to stem the bleeding and find water? So many scenes which presumably are there to depict life outside the trenches, are a waste of time because they are so badly done.

It's such a shame. So much is in place to make this one of the most memorable anti-war films. So much so, in fact, that Lew Ayres was to become a conscientious objector in the Second World War, partly through his experience in making 'All Quiet'. But the words the actors are made to utter just can't be forgiven, nor the exaggerated manner in which they say them.

Full honours to anti-war films set in the First World War go to later efforts like Richard Attenborough's 'Oh, What A Lovely War' and Christian Carion's 'Joyeux Noel', but for all that 'All Quiet' certainly puts to shame the sick John Wayne type of film about 'heroes'. There are no heroes here - just boys impelled to enlist, dying in mud and rain and blood, for a reason they can't figure out.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Greatest anti-war film ever - All Quiet on the Western Front review by MB

Spoiler Alert

The film was made 12 years after World War 1 and it captures the horrific atmosphere of that period. Although it was adapted

ffrom a German novel it is universal in its appeal. As for the closing frames - once seen never forgotten.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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