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All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

All Quiet On The Western Front (1930)

In this Best Picture-winning anti-war film from award-winning director Lewis Milestone - a powerful, grim and poignant masterpiece based on the anti-war, pacifistic 1929 novel by Erich Maria Remarque:

  • a group of young, patriotic, German schoolboys during the Great War, including the main character - soldier Paul Baumer (Lew Ayres), volunteered to serve their country in 1914, fighting in the trenches on the Western Front battlefields; they had been inspired to fight by the encouraging words of their teacher Professor Kantorek (Arnold Lucy)
  • they quickly found that their illusions of glory were shattered
  • the realistic battle sequences of the war included rows of infantrymen instantaneously being mowed down by machine gun fire as the camera moved sideways across them and showed the remains of one unfortunate soldier (his hands grabbed barbed wire)
  • during an attack on a cemetery, Paul stabbed a Frenchman in a panic and became trapped in the bomb crater with the slowly dying man, where he guiltily attempted to give him water to drink
  • after grim warfare, Paul was furloughed and returned home and to his school to tell the students of his disillusionment with war
  • later, Paul also experienced the devastating death of his experienced platoon leader and long-time "Kat" Katczinsky (Louis Wolheim)
Paul's Death by Sniper When Reaching for Butterfly
  • on the front lines, Paul ultimately also met his own death to the sound of the whine of a French sniper's bullet as his hand reached out to touch a beautiful butterfly from the shell-hole trench
  • in the film's final image, ghostly soldiers marched away, while superimposed over a dark, battle-scarred hillside cemetery covered with a sea of white crosses

Hands Grabbing Barbed Wire

Slow Death of Frenchman in Trench After Stabbing

Paul's School Speech About His Disillusionment

Film's Final Image


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