All Quiet on the Western Front (1979) - Movie Review

Updated on March 4, 2018
Sam Shepards profile image

Hi, I'm Sam, I love movies. My main interest is science fiction, but I love classics and various cult pieces also.

World Wars and Film

War has always been (in my opinion) the ugliest stain on our society’s history. We major a large conflict or war almost every 20 years or so, and unsurprisingly, movies often depict various battles and wars from multiple points in history. The novel “All quiet on the western front” has been adapted a number of times: once in the 1930’s, again in 1979 and in 2018 yet another take on the story will come to cinematic life.

As I said, many films are based on famous wars; mostly World War 2 but this novel and the films based on it are one of the few forms of media that actually focus on what happens during World War 1. One would assume a story adapted so many times means it’s a story worth telling over and over…yes…one would assume.

Movie Synopsis

In the 1979 film version, “All quiet on the western front” follows the life of Paul Baumer (Richard Thomas), a young German who signs up for the military along with all of his other graduating high school classmates. They all think World War 1 will be a grand adventure for them, but quickly find out how torturously awful and brutal training for combat and experiencing it are far from enjoyable. Soon, Paul’s friends die one by one in battle until only Paul remains.

As I mentioned before, it is rather unusual to see a film (or any story for that matter) about World War 1. It’s also unique to see the film focus on the Germans point of view and make them feel more natural, authentic characters than the comic book super villains most films make them out to be.

The Narrative Jumps Around

Unfortunately, there is one other unique aspect to this film but it is actually one of the primary reasons this movie caused more irritation than interest: the narrative. The structure of the story is from Paul’s point of view mostly, as such, the film constantly jumps around from time point to time point with absolutely no indication of when the flashback or jump is beginning and when it is ending.

The movie hops around erratically and shows no sign of logic or framework being utilized when doing so. It’s too busy, too jumpy and with such a dark, depressive subject matter, it’s hard enough to deal with all the death and doom/gloom without having to figure out what memory the movie is trying to half assedly jump back to.

Too Predictable

Many people glorify this film and for some of its cast, yeah, I can see valid points on why people like this film including the aforementioned originality in story crafting and use of different point of views. However, I find the film painfully all too predictable as the set up and execution of the plot leaves it little room to go anywhere else but down, down and down. We all know how these young men’s lives are going to turn out.

Even if you’ve never seen a single war movie in your life, you can easily tell what the chances are of this kind of movie having a happy ending. I mean, even the description and taglines spell it out perfectly: “A soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I.” I don’t get why ANYONE would want to see that, who really enjoys soul destroying stories? Can’t say that I do.

What's Your Rating For All Quiet on the Western Fron

See results

Acting and Overall Remarks

Perhaps this is a bias of mine and maybe that’s not the best way to look at this film, but truth be told, it’s choppy narrative and sluggish pacing only make the inevitable grim chain of events feel all the more painful and difficult to digest. I never felt anything was done particularly well here other than the choices made in the story concept.

The acting is fine but not outstanding, the time jumping is annoyingly bothersome and the gloomy spiral that everything sinks into just makes me feel less inclined to ever want to watch it again. If that’s your cup of tea then by all means, pour yourself another cop and pop this movie back into your DVD player. But I cannot and will not say that I was pleased or impressed with anything done here and I don’t feel the novel version or a new 2018 will ever change or improve my feelings on the story.

Movie Details

Title: All Quiet on the Western Front

Release Year: 1979

Director(s): Delbert Mann

Actors: Richard Thomas, Ernest Borgnine, a.o.

2 stars for All Quiet on the Western Front

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)