Lewis Milestone, 1930 (America), 136 minutes

2af Dihaoine 31 An Damhair

AQOTWF1Made only a dozen years after the end of the Great War when its memory was still raw, All Quiet on the Western Front is the first major anti-war film of the sound era.  It is closely based upon the timeless, best-selling 1929 novel by Erich Maria Remarque (who had experienced the war first-hand as a young German soldier).

It won the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director, and was nominated for Best Writing Achievement and Best Cinematography. A critical and financial success, it remains arguably the greatest anti-war film and has lost little of its impact and power.  It was denounced by the Nazi government in Berlin of the 30s and subsequently banned.

The story is neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure.  It simply tells of a generation of men destroyed by the war, even those who escaped death.

Unlike the novel that uses flashbacks to earlier times, the film is chronological. The episodes include vignettes and scenes that portray the senselessness, futility, death and disillusionment of war. [Recent war films such as Platoon (1986), Full Metal Jacket (1987), and Saving Private Ryan (1998) have similarly portrayed a perspective of war from the soldier’s point of view.]

In 1990, the film was selected and preserved by the United States Library of Congress’ National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”


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