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Why ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ Offers No Heroics And Doubles Down on Horrors of War

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Tim Gray Senior Vice President Oscar voters rewarded “All Quiet on the Western Front” with nine nominations, including best picture and international film.

But aside from the great work seen onscreen, the film is notable for what it doesn’t do. There are no heroic acts, no sense of adventure, no cheering when the enemy dies.

It’s a true anti-war film. Producer Malte Grunert says: “There are a lot of things that do not follow the normal dramatic structure that you would expect in a war movie.”  He and director Edward Berger discussed the depiction of violence, since Erich Maria Remarque’s 1927 novel about World War I vividly describes atrocities. “We wanted to keep it violent because a war film has to be.

It’s about young boys, just out of school, going to the Western Front and being thrown into violence and pain,” says Grunert. “But we never wanted it to be exploitative.

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