Paul Baumer (Richard Thomas) is a young German who, along with his graduating high school classmates, enlist in the German Imperial Army during World War I. Originally thinking war would be a great adventure, Paul and his friends discover exactly the opposite as the war drags on and one by one the members of the class are killed in action until only Paul remains.
Anthony Hughes <[email protected]>
User Reviews: The 1979 TV movie is true to the novel, whereas the 1930 movie is not, although they are both very powerful films.
I read All Quiet On The Western Front while serving in the U.S. Marines in Vietnam, 1966-1967. It is without question the greatest war novel ever written. It is the universal story of the "grunt", all those who have ever fought on the front lines and experienced battle and death. Remarque served in the German army and lived through the hells he describes. Do not mistake his plain style of writing for a lack of literary ability – his simple telling of the events is one of the things that make this book so great. For example, after the company has been called back to the rear for reinforcements, the captain calls the roll several times. Half of the names are not there – they are dead, wounded or missing. Paul (the story teller) says "A line, a short line, trudges off…". Remarkable, this terse imagery of the depth of violence that happened at the front. Another line comes from one of soldiers while discussing how to stop the war (referring to the generals and politicians): "Give ’em all the same grub and all the same pay, and the war would be over and done in a day." Still true today. When describing what happens to common men fighting for their lives in battle, Paul says: "…this wave..that..turns us into thugs, into murderers, into God only knows what devils…". As Colonel Kurtz would say: "The Horror, the horror". This novel will forever speak across the years for all soldiers in combat everywhere.