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All Quiet on the Western Front

Lew Ayres , Louis Wolheim , Lewis Milestone    Unrated   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 14.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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This 1930 film, No 54 on the AFI's Top 100 list, still holds up as a surprisingly forceful and honest antiwar drama. Indeed, the modern sensibility is almost as startling as the sometime stagy acting of Lew Ayres, which can be excused by the fact that, three years after the introduction of sound, actors were still applying stage techniques to talking pictures. Ayres plays a German college student during World War I, who is brainwashed into enlisting in the Army (along with the rest of his class) by a zealously inspirational college professor. Once in uniform and on the front lines, however, he quickly discovers that the glory of the Fatherland is of little concern to a soldier dodging bullets and explosions, whose comrades are dying in his arms. As powerful in its way as Platoon almost 60 years later, All Quiet on the Western Front remains a classic tale of young soldiers' confrontations with the possibility of imminent and arbitrary death. Director Lewis Milestone shows a surprising range of techniques in this film from the formative years of moviemaking with sound. --Marshall Fine

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Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A generation of men destroyed by war July 16 2004
Format:VHS Tape
For a movie in the 1930's, Lewis Milestone's adaptation of All Quiet On The Western Front, based on Erich Maria Remarque's novel, follows the book reasonably well. However, rather than starting with the soldiers lining up to get the cook Ginger's stew per the novel (that part comes later), it starts with Paul Baumer's school teacher telling him and his fellow students that they are the light of the Fatherland, the iron men of Germany, the brave heroes who will repulse the enemies when called to do so. In other words, he's exhorting them to enlist, which they do, pressed into patriotism in what was initially thought to have been a quick war with small losses.
From the start, the recruits are eager to get into uniform and to the front, and are puzzled by the behaviour of burned-out experienced soldiers like Tjaden and Kat. This latter, a large, pleasantly ugly man has a knack for scrounging for food and finding enough for the group, and soon, all the recruits stick with and respect this man, especially after their first bombardment. When one of the recruits realizes he has wet his trousers, Kat tells him not to worry about it, as it's happened to better men.
The stages of attacking, the bombardment, attack, counterattack, and repulse, is presented in graphic detail for that period, with the shots of men dying by artillery shells, being bayoneted, or machine-gunned. Some recruits go crazy waiting in the bunker during the bombardment, and one of them rushes outside, only to get cut down by bullets. And the aftermath isn't pretty for some. Franz Kemmerich ends up in the infirmary and has his leg amputated.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic April 30 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I found this movie to be realistic and entertaining with the emphasis of being from the German point of view. It is a very good movie with no flaws to speak of hindering the effects of the movie. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys old movies with realistic content and little to no fake visual effects.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Dec 9 2013
By Eephus
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Arrived on time and in good shape. Great restoration and presentation in blu ray with some cool extras. A great anti- war soldier's story whose message will never grow old. The scene's in the crater with the french soldier and Paul's return to his old school room are great. Obviously parts of the movie are dated being 80+ years old, but the combat scenes are better than most movies made since then. Easily one of the best war movies of all time.
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3.0 out of 5 stars all quiet on the western front June 23 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
tres bon film qui decrit les détails de la guerre de tranchees de la guerre 1914-18,en noir et blanc.bon film
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4.0 out of 5 stars Way ahead of its time Jan. 27 2004
Long before Platoon and Saving Private Ryan, a pacifist antiwar film dedicated to the soldier's point of view had them queuing round the block. An enormous critical and financial success, All Quiet On The Western Front was made in 1930 for the then enormous sum of $1.25m. The story of the inglorious fate of young German soldiers in the trenches of the Great War, it was made at a time when the actors and the public could remember the panic and the enormous numbers of dead. Thoroughly sensible and honest, this story claims to be 'neither an accusation, nor a confession, and least of all an adventure'. How many other war films have the guts to wear such a broken heart on their sleeve?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cinema at its best Dec 20 2003
I can only re-iterate the comments passed by most of your other reviewers, a real master piece. Dated? maybe, the acting is of another age. but for all that the story and cine-matic quality reigns amongst the greatest of all time. The 1st world war is seen through a young, ordinary lad at first enthusiastic to serve his nation after a barrage of lecturing led by his school master on how glorious to wear a uniform with the girls flocking at your feet, the pride of the nation,ect,ect. He and most of his school mates join up only to be confronted with the reality of trench warfare.The story is quite straight forward but interwoven are really great episodes eg: we digress from the characters to follow a pair of boots as they are worn by various soldiers each one loosing them through death.
There are no glorious deaths no famous last words just the passing of a few young men out of the 9,000,000 who's lives ended between 1914 and 1918.
The final scene is a classic in film history.
The anti war message is as strong now 73 years after its release as it was then.
For those who have not seen this film and are real art lovers
this is a must buy for any film collection.
For me i just think it,s in the top 5 best films of all time and definately the best war movie ever made.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Picture Winner of 1929-1930 May 28 2004
'All Quiet On The Western Front' was released in 1930 and won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1929-1930. When you watch it, you will see why.
The films leading star is Lew Ayres, and he gives a very fine performance as a German college student who enlists in the Army during the First World War, along with the other students in his class, because of the professor at the college who makes them all want to become brave soldiers. We then watch the brilliantly shot action scenes, which are very realistic and sad to watch, as they go to fight on the front lines. They certainly discover the horrors of war, while we watch it. The movie is directed by Lewis Milestone, and has a very powerful, and sad ending, that you wont forget it.
Now for this Universal Region 1 DVD. Sadly, the print and sound quality are not really too great in all honesty. However, the film is very old, and still, even if its not in the condition some might like it to be, it is still very watchable. Overall, the DVD is not too bad.
This is an absolute must-have for classic film fans. So if you can pass by the fact that the print used here on this DVD is not brilliant, you will absolutely love this movie.
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