Paths of Glory


Action / Drama / War

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 94%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 95%
IMDb Rating 8.4 10 137884


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September 16, 2011 at 10:47 AM


Kirk Douglas as Col. Dax
Ralph Meeker as Cpl. Philippe Paris
Richard Anderson as Maj. Saint-Auban
Joe Turkel as Pvt. Pierre Arnaud
551.57 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 28 min
P/S 3 / 61

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 10 / 10

They Couldn't Take An Ant Hill

Almost one hundred years later the concept of that static war of the trenches that was the Western front of World War I is almost unfathomable. After the French army stopped the German offensive at the Battle of the Marne, the French and British armies faced the Germans in a line of trenches that stretched from Belgium to Switzerland. About a quarter of France was occupied for four years in that time. The casualties ran into the millions in that stalemate that gains were only measured in meters.

It was always just one more offensive over the top charging into automatic weapon fire that would break the other guy. Just such an offensive was planned one day in 1916 against a German stronghold dubbed the ant hill.

General George MacReady, promised a promotion by his superior Adolphe Menjou, orders a beaten and tired battalion to charge the ant hill. The attack flops and MacReady looks for scapegoats. He decides after coming down from shooting 100 men to a selected three drawn by lot. The unlucky three are Joseph Turkel, Ralph Meeker, and Timothy Carey.

The commander of the three Kirk Douglas asks to serve as their counsel and he makes a good show of it at the kangaroo court martial they have. But the fix is definitely in.

Except for Spartacus, Kirk Douglas rarely plays straight up heroic types in film. Even his good guys have an edge to them, a dark side. But as Colonel Dax, Douglas is at his most heroic. He may be one dimensional here, but he's great. Especially in that last scene with Adolphe Menjou when he tells the man off in no uncertain terms, mainly because Menjou has misread Douglas's motives.

Menjou and Macready portray two different military types. The arrogant MacReady as versus the very sly Menjou. Not very admirable either of them. Menjou was not very popular at this time in Hollywood because of the blacklist. He favored it very much, his politics were of the extreme right wing. Nevertheless he was a brilliant actor and never better than in this film, one of his last.

The enlisted men are a good bunch also. They're kind of like the posse in The Oxbow Incident, just an ordinary group who become ennobled in martyrdom as they go to the firing squad for the sake of politics.

Paths of Glory is one of the best anti-war films ever made. It ranks right up there with All Quiet on the Western Front which showed the war from the German point of view. Both will be classics 200, 300, a thousand years from now.

Reviewed by bmaclach 10 / 10


I consider Paths of Glory as one of the most memorable of Kubrick's entire output. The most remarkable aspect of this pioneer anti-war film is the complete absence of any persons depicting the "real" enemy. Therefore, the significance of the film lay not so much in its anti-war message, but in its brilliant expose of the "monsters within" the general staff, superbly acted by Adolphe Menjou and George Macready. The message here is that the enemy lurks much closer to home. In most war films, whether they glorify or condemn the carnage, there is rarely any venturing at all into the darker side of the politics. This film is a tour de force in its unabashed depiction of just how misguided is the quest for glory as an end in itself; and in the portrayal of the leaders who would shamelessly sacrifice others for their own self aggrandizement. Truly, one of my all time favourite movies.

Reviewed by hptaylor 10 / 10

The most realistic, most emotionally draining, and most beautifully photographed movie ever made about trench warfare in WW I.

I think that Stanley Kubrick is the greatest of all film directors, and in my opinion "Paths of Glory" is Kubrick's best film because:

1. It is FAR AND AWAY the most realistic, most emotionally draining, and most beautifully photographed movie ever made about trench warfare in WW I, which has to be considered to be one of the significant episodes in all of human history. The story is fiction, but the events are patterned after some actual mutinies in the French army that took place in 1917.

2. I first saw this film 46 years ago, and it not only made me an avid Kubrick fan for the rest of my life, it made me want to watch it over and over again -- more than 250 times over the years, and every time I see it, I cry at the end (when Kubrick's future wife, and the only woman in the film, sings "The Faithful Hussar", causing the audience of French soldiers to change from a jeering crowd to a hushed, teary-eyed group of lonely men).

3. Everything about the movie is PERFECT!! There are no flaws in the acting, the pace of the movie, the photography, the dialogue, etc. Scene after scene is more powerful and ironic than the preceding one, building to a shattering climax. It is simply a gem.

4. Try as I might to think of actors that could have been substituted in their places, I think the casting for each and every part in the movie really could not have been any better. No one could have been better in their respective roles than George Macready, Adolphe Menjou, Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, and all of the others. Many of these actors appear in Kubrick's other films.

5. Has there ever been a better scene than the one in which one of the condemned soldiers (Ralph Meeker) stares at this cockroach and cries that tomorrow that bug will still be alive and he will be dead. Whereupon one of the other condemned men (the fatalistic Timothy Carey) squashes the cockroach and says "Now you got the edge on him".

6. You could probably change a few things in most of Kubrick's other masterpieces to slightly improve them, but I DEFY anyone to single out anything in "Paths of Glory" that could be improved upon. I could go on and on raving about the beauty and pathos of this film, but I think I will stop here.

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