The film “All Quiet on the Western Front” was released in 1930, in the United States and received Oscar for the outstanding production. The movie is devoted to the topic of the war influence on people’s lives and the consequences, which ordinary people have during and after the war. The World War I is the war considered in the film. The exact presentation of the main idea of the film is put into the words given at the beginning of the film: “The film will try simply to tell of a generation of men who even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war”.
So, the very first action takes place in one of the German schools, where the idealistic teacher expatiates about the war as about something obvious and magnificent. He orates about the duty that each citizen has before his motherland. The teacher, who has never seen the war by his own eyes, tells to young boys how encouraging and honorable is to die for their country. The young ambitious boys, who have not finished the school yet, become the volunteers and soon depart to defend their country with a weapon in their arms. The boys do not understand the real situation and what the war is. The reasons to become soldiers are different, some of them want to be honored by their relatives, and some want to gain commitment from the girls as they already imagine themselves as the heroes.
The first view of death embarrasses the guys and this embarrassment only strengthens when they are said to forget whom they were before and whom they wanted to be in the future. After some days of preparations and trainings, the boys are sent to the front. After the arrival, the boys’ happy expectations only decrease. They see the deaths of their former schoolmates and realize the real nature of the war. They understand that war is terrible and horrifying phenomenon hardly similar to the description of their teacher.
The friends and former schoolmates get into the same squadron and get acquainted with the soldiers who have already spent some time at the front. Katczinsky is one of veterans and becomes the mentor of the young fellows. Nightmares, shaking uncontrollably, and screaming about the unrelenting bomb are the things that accompany the first days of soldiers at the front, especially when they see the deaths of their friends. In one of the scenes, the spectators are able to notice the first signs of reflection of all the war horror in the boys’ eyes. The number of scenes, in which the soldiers discuss the sense of the war, are represented in the film. In such dialogues, they evaluate the real reasons for the war and think over their own fates after the end of the war.
The main hero of the film is Paul Baumer. The spectators percept everything through his perception. The very strong psychological situation is represented when Paul gets into the trench with his enemy, the Frenchman. It is the first time that Paul kills a man, consequently he has a shock and in parallel he begins to understand how unnecessary the war is. During one of the bombardments, Paul gets wounded and gets into the hospital. After some days, the doctor comes to the conclusion about the Paul’s poor state and decides to remove Baumer to the special room for those who have no hope to recover. Therefore, Paul has grand lust to live and recovers notwithstanding the forecasts.
In consequence of the wound Paul is given the vacation and visits his home. After spending some time in his own town Paul departs though having a few more days of vacation. Before the leaving Paul visits his school and comes to his teacher. The teacher orates about the duty before the motherland in the same way he did but Paul is not as ambitious as he was several years ago. He wants to prevent the young boys from the wrong view about the war and presents them that death is dirty and painful but not wonderful.
When Paul comes back to the front and visits the second squadron, he does not meet the men, with whom he served. Mostly all of them are already dead. The great relief for the main hero is to meet Katczinsky, but he dies in Paul’s arms. The final scene of the film is very symbolic and includes Paul’s death, when he wants to catch butterfly as he did in childhood.
At the very beginning of the film, the viewers can observe the optimistic warfare the young men have. The schoolmates are full of hopes and expectations of a happy future. The war appears before them as a kind of entertainment and the chance to show their devotion to the motherland. The views of these men change very fast after getting acquainted with the reality of the war. The war contains devastation and death and leads to the demolition of the human inner world. When the fellows understand these things, especially it is shown on the example of Paul Baumer, their views about the war change to the very roots. German soldiers use different weapon including guns, bayonets, machine guns and tanks, but considering the words of Katczinsky, one German tank was opposed by ten French tanks and German weapon were old in comparison with the weapon of the enemy. The film produced the poor situation with supplies for the German. Number of scenes represents that the soldiers were constantly hungry and had to search for food by themselves. The citizens who were in favor of the war are also shown in the film, but the attitude towards them is negative from the soldiers’ side. The citizens have not seen the war but discussed the possible ways of providing it all the time. They only criticized the way it was waged and made many propositions about how it was better lead without any imagination of the real situation.
Opinion of the Film
All Quiet on the Western Front is one of the films which represent the lives of the German soldiers during the war. Germany is considered as an instigator of the war, but it becomes evident that the soldiers, dying at the front, understood the counterfeit ideology of their politicians. The German youth was part of the world “lost generation” and faced even the greater problems because of the consequences of the war. Undoubtedly, this film is worth seeing and should be recommended for those learning the history and the World War I namely.