All Quiet on Western Front

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Product Overview

Unlike most "message" films that 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 throughout their passage from idealism to disillusionment. As the central character Paul Baumer (Ayres) 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 the French farm girls; Ayres' pacifist speech to his astonished schoolmates; and the final shot of the soldier's hand reaching for a butterfly


Studio Universal Home Video
SKU 40105301
UPC 025192051029
UPC 14 00025192051029
Format DVD
Release Date 9/2/2003
Rating NR
Essential Cinema
World War I
Editors Note
Note Lewis Milestone's adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's anti-war novel is a masterpiece whose power to disturb remains undiminished by the passage of time. The film stars Lew Ayres as the young Paul Bauman, who, along with a group of his teenaged classmates, are conscripted into the German army during WWI. The youths quickly realize that the patriotic hogwash they had been fed by their schoolmaster has absolutely has nothing to do with the horror they observe and experience on the front lines.
Plot Summary
Summary Still widely regarded as the best war film ever made, director Lewis Milestone's adaptation of the Remarque WWI novel is clearly his masterpiece, a searing indictment of the insanity of war. Starring Lew Ayres as the young Paul Bauman, the film focuses on the fates of the boy and his classmates, who have enlisted to fight in the German army during WWI. Still on fire with the patriotism instilled by their teacher, Kantorek (Arnold Lucy), they arrive for training, eager to face death. When they reach the front lines, the realize that the German troops have few supplies and no food. Sgt. Katczinsky (Louis Wolheim), briefs the recruits on how to avoid getting killed, but on the first night, one of them gets shot. The carnage of the battle shocks the boys, and some are driven mad. Day after day, the recruits huddle in the trenches, frightened, starving, and unable to gain ground, realizing that it is not glorious to die for one's fatherland. This powerfully affecting film is brilliantly directed and written, and generally well acted despite some dated elements. Milestone's magnificent crane and tracking shots of the battlefields surely owe something to the work of Karl Freund, arguably the finest cinematographer in film history.
USA Today "...The third best-picture Oscar winner is still one of the best movies to have won the award..." 01/15/1999 p.11E
Total Film "...Few films have conveyed the confusion, brutality and senseless sacrifice of organised conflict more vividly than Lewis Milestone's monochrome masterpiece..." 03/01/2001 p.106
Uncut "It resonates with a sense of contempt for battle that has never been captured before or since." 12/01/2003 p.150
Lewis Milestone
John Wray
Louis Wolheim
Russell Gleason
Lew Ayres
Cast & Crew
John Wray - Actor
Lew Ayres - Actor
Louis Wolheim - Actor
Russell Gleason - Actor
Erich Maria Remarque - Based on Novel By
Lewis Milestone - Director
Arthur Edeson - Director of Photography
Carl Laemmle, Jr. - Producer
George Abbott - Screenplay
Technical Info
Original Release Date 1930
Catalog ID 20510
UPC 00025192051029
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 130 minutes
Color B&W
Original Language English
Available Subtitles French, Spanish
Available Audio Tracks English [CC], English
Aspect Ratio
Oscar (1931) Lewis Milestone, Winner, Best Director,Carl Laemmle, Jr., Winner, Best Picture,Arthur Edeson, Nominee, Best Cinematography,George Abbott, et al., Nominee, Best Writing, Achievement
ReviewSource Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide
Review Vivid, moving adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's eloquent pacifist novel about German boys' experiences as soldiers during WWI. Time hasn't dimmed its power, or its poignancy, one bit. Scripted by Milestone, Maxwell Anderson, Del Andrews, and George Abbott. Academy Award winner for Best Picture and Director.
Reviewer Leonard Maltin
ReviewRating 9
DVD, Full Picture Aspect Ratio, Spanish, French, Mono Audio

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