Film Study: All Quiet on the Western Front

Movie Worksheet

American soldier lower right, wears knit bag and helmet that was thought to not have been issued to American Soldiers. Archive Holdings Inc./ The Image Bank/ Getty Images

Film remakes of "All Quiet on the Western Front" are adaptations of Erich Remarque's novel. There is the B&W 1930s version (Director  Lewis Milestone) and the more contemporary 1979 version (Director  Delbert Mann).

Both versions are English language films (made in America) and both take a  hard look at the tragedy of war using World War I as its backdrop. German schoolboys are encouraged to enlist at the beginning of World War 1 by their war-glorifying teacher.

Their story is told entirely through the experiences of one particular recruit, Paul Baumer. Their experience collectively highlights the tragedy of war, death and mutilation all around them. Preconceptions about "the enemy" and the "rights and wrongs" of the are challenged leaving them angry and bewildered. Film reviewer Written by Michele Wilkinson, University of Cambridge Language Centre noted:

"The film is not about heroism but about drudgery and futility and the gulf between the concept of war and the actuality."

All Quiet on the Western Front

As you watch the movie, please answer the following questions. (Questions follow sequence of action)

  1. What is the title of this film? When was it made? Who wrote the original novel?
  2. Why did the students join the Army?
  3. What role did the mailman (Himmelstoess) have? Was he particularly mean to these recruits? Give an example.
  4. How were conditions at the Western Front different from their expectations in training camp?
  1. What was the impact of the shelling on the new recruits?
  2. What happened after the bombardment?
  3. In the attack, what did the machine gun do to the glory of war and individual heroism?
  4. How many of the company died in this first battle? How do you know? Why were they able to eat so well finally?
  5. Who did they blame for this war? Who did they omit in their list of potential villains?
  1. What happened to Kemmerich's boots? How did the doctors' react to Kemmerich's plight?
  2. How was Sgt. Himmelstoess received when he arrived at the front?
  3. What was the pattern of a battle? What preceded the attack? What followed it?
  4. What happened to Paul Baumer when he found himself in a shellhole in No Man's Land with the French soldier?
  5. Why did the French girls - ostensibly the enemy - accept the German soldiers?
  6. After four years of war, how has the German homefront been affected? Were there still the parades, crowded streets, and joyous sounds of going off to war?
  7. What were the attitudes of the men in the beer hall? Were they willing to listen to what Paul had to say?
  8. How does Paul Baumer confront his former teacher? How do the young students react to his vision of the war?
  9. How has the company changed during Paul's absence?
  10. What is ironic about Kat's and Paul's deaths? [Note: WWI ended on November 11, 1918.]
  11. Describe the attitude of this movie towards World War I and all wars.
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Your Citation
Bennett, Colette Marie. "Film Study: All Quiet on the Western Front." ThoughtCo, Feb. 21, 2017, thoughtco.com/all-quiet-on-the-western-front-8105. Bennett, Colette Marie. (2017, February 21). Film Study: All Quiet on the Western Front. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/all-quiet-on-the-western-front-8105 Bennett, Colette Marie. "Film Study: All Quiet on the Western Front." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/all-quiet-on-the-western-front-8105 (accessed January 20, 2018).