Behind the Scenes of the Movie All Quiet On the Western Front Part 1

About the film All Quiet On the Western Front, plot summary and behind the scenes of one of the greatest movies ever made.



The Story: As W.W.I begins, seven young Germans, inspired with feelings of gallantry and heroism by their schoolteacher, enlist in the army. The film follows them through training camp and into the trenches, where they are sent to fight the French. The story becomes episodic, and each episode shows the further eroding of the men's romantic notions about war. For example, when one of them kills a French soldier, he rummages through the dead man's pockets, finds a photograph of the Frenchman's family, and is overcome with remorse. In another scene, one of them finally rejects the schoolmaster's propaganda and says that if soldiers on both sides threw down their guns, they could all be brothers. Eventually there is no longer time for philosophizing, and the men's only concern is how to survive. None of them does; one by one they are killed. The seventh is hit by a sniper's bullet as he reaches out of the squalor of the trench to touch a butterfly. As he is dying, army headquarters receives a telegram. It reads, "All quiet on the western front."

The Story behind the Story: Film critics agree that this 1930 picture is one of the most important ever made. Not because it is a work of art, but because it depicts more powerfully than any other film war's senseless human waste. It has a profound effect on everyone who sees it. Few people remain unmoved by its obvious message: No more war! The New York Times said it was "a notable achievement, sincere and earnest." Photoplay magazine, calling it "one of the greatest sermons of peace ever preached," gave it a gold medal as the year's best film. At the 1930 Academy Awards, it won the Oscar for best picture, and Lewis Milestone, the film's director, won an Oscar for best director.

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