All Quiet on the Western Front
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All Quiet on the Western Front
One of the most powerful anti-war statements ever put on film, this gut-wrenching story concerns a group of friends who join the Army during World War I and are assigned to the Western Front, where their fiery patriotism is quickly turned to horror and misery by the harsh realities of combat. Director Lewis Milestone pioneered the use of the sweeping crane shot to capture a ghastly battlefield panorama of death and mud, and the cast, led by Lew Ayres, is terrific. It's hard to pick a favorite scene, but the finale, as Ayres stretches from his trench to catch a butterfly, is one of the most… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The despair-and the artistry-is breathtaking."
‑ Stephen Garrett, Time Out New York
"Deserves its reputation as a classic."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"The performances are also exemplary, but it is primarily a film of great moments -- the climactic sequence of the young conscript reaching out for a butterfly in the sun -- that, once seen, are never forgotten."
‑ Tony Sloman, Radio Times
"The rawness of the audio eradicates any lingering notion that war is romantic or exciting, and at times suggests the very battered eardrums of those engaged in combat."
‑ Rob Humanick, Slant Magazine
"Despite a little dating around the edges this is a truly superb example of its genre and a cinema classic."
‑ Ian Nathan, Empire Magazine
"From such grisly materials the popular cinema is rarely drawn. The film is monumental in the courage that risked its manufacture."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"The film's strength now derives less from its admittedly powerful but highly simplistic utterances about war as waste, than from a generally excellent set of performances (Ayres especially) and an almost total reluctance to follow normal plot structure."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"The production values are incredibly high and not just for the time. And as the movie has aged and the film has gone grainier and the flickers increased, it almost adds to the effect."
‑ Scott Nash, Three Movie Buffs
"Took an opportunity to question warfare and its civility long before the war protest film became popular in the 70s. It's dated, obviously, but still powerful."
‑ Kevin Carr, 7M Pictures
"A film that remains one of the most powerful screen comments on the horrors of war."
‑ , Film4
"A harrowing, gruesome, morbid tale of war."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Messrs. Milestone, Abbott and Anderson in this film have contributed a memorable piece of work to the screen."
‑ Mordaunt Hall, New York Times
"[A] fascinating, innovative early talkie."
‑ , Total Film
"A movie of timeless relevance and effects. Lew Ayres would never again equal his performance in this film version of the well-known anti-war novel."
‑ Donald J. Levit, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
"The film made Ayres a star."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
More reviews for All Quiet on the Western Front on Rotten Tomatoes