All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Pssst, want to check out All Quiet on the Western Front in our new look?
See all comments
And what was Shakespeare thinking, giving all his Italian and Danish (and so on) characters poetic English dialogue? Man, very few productions of "Hamlet" even have the actors speaking with a Danish accent.
But seriously - that's not a flaw. In fact, considering that the movie was made for an American audience, it was actually a very smart move to have them talk in English and without accents. Like it or not, foreign languages are a barrier to understanding and empathy for many people, and a decision to shoot this in German would have made the film less powerful than it is. By speaking English, audiences who might reject subtitled films were forced to empathize with a group that had been their enemy less than fifteen years earlier - by giving the characters everyday English dialogue it gave the impression that these people were, indeed, quite human, and that, in most cases, they weren't all that different than the average American in the audience. They had the same concerns, the same fears, the same hopes...
It does get more tricky when different characters would, in reality, be speaking different languages (that is to say, if we had an English soldier and a German soldier among the main characters) - but since that's not the case here, it's entirely reasonable that the characters speak English, as we the audience are given insight, are made witness of a world and experience that we may otherwise never have known.
In other words, having foreign characters speaking something other than their native language is an entirely acceptable stylistic device, one that had been established for a long, long time before film even came around. That device is used to brilliant effect here.
So a dogmatic "Oh no, they're speaking something other than their native language and that ruins the film" approach is entirely wrongheaded, and will lead you to reject some of the greatest films of all time (as well as some of the greatest works of theater, opera, and literature.) Those looking for that sort of verisimilitude are going to want to turn to something other than film, or literature, or theater, or pretty much any art form that contains the spoken word.
The mother of all anti-war movies and probably one of the best. Very intensive.
spielberg made saving private ryan but i take your point abmannetje, the battle scenes are unbelievable considering the year it was made it 1930, 68 years before saving private ryan and 27 before paths of glory.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!
In 16 official lists
View all lists this movie is in
This movie ranks #4 in Academy Award - Best Picture
This movie ranks #5 in Tim Dirks's 100+ Most Controversial Films of All-Time
This movie ranks #7 in 101 War Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #9 in IMDb's 1930s Top 50
This movie ranks #12 in Academy Award - Best Picture Nominees
This movie ranks #13 in Leonard Maltin's 100 Must-See Films of the 20th Century
This movie ranks #20 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #28 in Library of Congress's National Film Registry
This movie ranks #41 in IMDb's War Top 50
This movie ranks #49 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #71 in BFI's 360 Classic Feature Films Project
This movie ranks #87 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?
This movie ranks #101 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
This movie ranks #101 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #402 in Emma Beare's 501 Must-See Movies
This movie ranks #769 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films