All Quiet on the Western Front
You will never see a more powerful historical film where mankind will rip your heart out.
Based on the fascinating novel by Erich Maria Remarque (1929), this film describes the tragic horror story inflicted on five German students who enter the military during World War I. In German with subtitles, it is a remake of Director Lewis Milestone’s classic film released in 1930.
Paul Bäumer plays Felix Kammerer, a young German leaving school and family to represent the fatherland. In the process, he quickly joins the carnage on the western front where 3 million Europeans were killed between 1914 to 1918.
The film deals with the soldiers’ daily lives. They live largely in trenches where they occasionally charge the enemy only to watch comrades ripped to pieces.
Slowly, he watches his friends die. In the process, you will never forget the gut-wrenching performances of Albrecht Schuch as Stanislaus, Aaron Hilmer as Albert and Edin Hasanović as Tjaden.
In particular, watch the end of this 2-hour, 30-minute film where an armistice is reached on November 11, 1918. However, given that combat won’t end until 11:00 a.m. that day, the German High Command orders a last-minute meaningless assault that will crush whatever belief remains in your hope for the human condition.
17,000,000 soldiers died in this war, and they all were from the Christian nations Germany, France and the United States. They praised Jesus as they annihilated fellow human beings. Though I threw away my Catholic faith as a teenager when the church declared eating meat on Friday a mortal sin, this film reminded me of the phrase, “Do it in the name Heaven, you can justify it in the end”.