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All Quiet on the Western Front
All Quiet on the Western Front
Actors: Richard Thomas, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Ian Holm, Patricia Neal
Director: Delbert Mann
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Television, Military & War
UR     2002     2hr 30min

A devastating story of war and a generation destroyed. In 1914 a group of German schoolboys idealistic and inflamed with youthful patriotism set off to fight in the "glorious" war. During their brutal basic training disenc...  more »

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Richard Thomas, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Ian Holm, Patricia Neal
Director: Delbert Mann
Creators: John Coquillon, Alan Pattillo, Martin Starger, Norman Rosemont, Ron Carr, Erich Maria Remarque, Paul Monash
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Television, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Television, Military & War
Studio: Lions Gate
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/23/2002
Original Release Date: 11/14/1979
Theatrical Release Date: 11/14/1979
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 2hr 30min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
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Member Movie Reviews

Dick E. (Doxy-Man) from CADILLAC, MI
Reviewed on 10/11/2015...
Fine movie was also in great condition thanks to last user. I enjoyed this movie as much as the first make of the movie many years ago. Four stars

Movie Reviews

All Quiet on the Western Front
C. Netti | Herkimer, NY | 03/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"As a history teacher I am always looking for good materials to use in the classroom. I use exerpts of the book in my Global Hist. class and used to use the 1939 version of the film as a supplement to the reading. The older version is truer to the book but the over the top acting of Lou Ayers doesn't click very well with today's young viewers. They are more likely to laugh at the drama of the older version. The 1979 version misses some of the books irony because it bipasses, or treats very lightly, some crucial scenes in the book, but the character portrayals and somber mood of the film are much more apt to hold my students attention. I enjoyed this film when it first aired on television almost 30 years ago and was happy to finds it on DVD so that I can use it in the classroom."
Great film but would have been better without the editing.
D. M. Kneller | Canada | 07/31/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"As most of the other reviews have noted, this is a great movie. What disappointed me though was that a lot of little parts were edited out. I saw this movie on TV several years ago and recorded it. I thought it was excellent and eagarly purchased the DVD. I wish now that I had kept my tape. Because although the edited parts did not take away much from the story as a whole, those same parts added so much more to it. For example in the unedited version, during training Paul Baumer comes to the aid of one of his comrades who has fallen into the mud. For this he is punished by Corporal Himmelstoss. Later at the front, Paul and his platoon mates are sitting in their dugout and discussing why Himmelstoss received the Iron Cross. By this time Himmelstoss is behaving more human and when he enters the dugout he is no longer taunted. In fact Kat moves over on his bunk to make room for him. These are only 2 examples. There was much more.Still a good movie, but because of the editing I rate it only 3 stars."
Bellum Omni Vorat
Octavius | United States | 04/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"'War devours everything' is the general theme of this more recent adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's famous novel. Directed by Delbert Mann, the film satisfies on many levels with a very good script; good cinematography and direction; and, the good acting talents of Richard Thomas, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasance, and Ian Holm. The story is a first-person narrative detailing the life of its author, Paul Baumer (Richard Thomas), during the period of The Great War from 1916-1918. Baumer just graduated from high school and, like every other good German, he signs up for the war along with his classmates to serve his Fatherland: it is the ideal that has been pounded into them by their school teacher (Donald Pleasance.) At first all gleaming with overconfidence, the narrator and his friends soon realize that there's no glory in war even if one has dutifuly served the Fatherland and received an Iron Cross pinned to their chest by the Kaiser himself.

As with the book, the narrative uses the characters to show how the reality of war, in one way or another, destroys or changes the ideals of life: it is rich in showing the futility and beastiality of war. The film really looks at the two main schools of thought that were a product of WWI; positivists such as Bertrand Russel who thought that modern progress was a positive factor to humanity if guided by moral values and, the school of nihilism that thought morality was relative and human existence purposeless: that modern industrialization was not a sign of progress but the beginning of the end. Baumer and his friends are, at first, the voices of the positivists: despite the war, they're all still obsessed with their dreams of becoming artists/writers, theologists, farmers, and foresters. Their sergeant (Ernest Borgnine) is the sobering pragmatist who teaches the youths to dispense with idealism and to bear only the brutal reality of war in their thoughts: he teaches them the practical skills of finding good food and to survive by using their shovels to kill the enemy instead of the bayonet. Slowly but surely, each of the narrator's friends become victims of the war despite their idealism: some of them are killed precisely because of their idealism. In short, the narrative subtly explores every possible facet of war in how it permanently destroys, disfigures, or otherwise changes life and the human spirit: it explores the utter futility and dehumanization of war. Although one follows Baumer's optimism throughout the story, one realizes that optimism ultimately changes nothing in terms of the reality of war: only one's perception of it. The story actually leaves the question open as to whether an optimistic outlook serves any purpose at all in either war or peace. The film also shows the growing gap between the young soldiers and the elder generations who still saw war in the context of the 19th century: as a glorious and heroic duty/sacrifice to the State. In contrast, the youths are ages apart as they've experienced first hand the horror and desolation of modern warfare which their elders cannot possibly understand (e.g. machine guns, planes, mustard gas, etc.)

This is an excellent film that has great direction, cinematography, and acting that is far above the standards of a made-for-tv film. The filming in the Czech Republic is always a good place for German/Austrian related films (i.e. Amadeus.) The script was well done to bring out the poignant themes in the book. There are some inaccuracies and limitations in its depiction of the military and equipment during that time but a lot of it is budget related as opposed to being signs of incompetence (i.e. no artillery is shown, few aircraft, no tanks, etc.) With the way the soldiers are constantly placing their rifles muzzle first into the mud in every scene, it makes you wonder whether it was the script's soldiers or the actors who received such incompetent training in handling a firearm in battle. There's also a scene where a corporal badmouths a sergeant and everyone seems to think it's normal. Anyway, these are simply minor defects that have no major impact on the film. I strongly recommend it as the only other version, although a classic film, is black and white and over 70 years old. Good companions to this film would be 'The Lost Batallion', 'Gallipoli', and 'The Blue Max' which all deal with WWI. In terms of theme, a good counterpoint to this film is 'Cross of Iron' which is also a great film in exploring the futility/absurdity of war except that it is set in WWII from the German perspective. Unlike this film, 'Cross of Iron' is grounded in a nihilistic theme that rejects the notion of idealism having any use either in warfare or life in general: making the theme perhaps even bleaker than this one.
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