Paths of Glory (1957)
When soldiers in World War I refuse to continue with an impossible attack, their superior officers decide to make an example of them.
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Critic Reviews for Paths of Glory
More than 20 years after Mr. Cobb's novel was first published, Mr. Kubrick reminded us that human folly is rarely checked for long. A half-century on, he is still right.
Kirk Douglas gives one of his finest performances as the intelligent and courageous Col. Dax.
The sardonic rhetoric may be laid on a little heavily at times, but the movie is blunt and scornfully brilliant.
While the subject is well handled and enacted in a series of outstanding characterizations, it seems dated and makes for grim screen fare.
This masterpiece still packs a wallop, though nothing in it is as simple as it may first appear; audiences are still arguing about the final sequence, which has been characterized as everything from a sentimental cop-out to the ultimate cynical twist.
The final scene, in which Kubrick presents close-ups of soldiers watching a captured German girl being forced to sing for their pleasure is nothing short of masterful.
A reminder both of [Kubrick's] extraordinary formal virtuosity and his powers as a satirist.
Kirk Douglas and Timothy Carey are outstanding among the troops on the front line, while Kubrick's relentlessly probing camera offers constant evidence of a film-maker at the height of his powers.
It is arguably the best film about the first world war, and still has a reasonable claim to being Stanley Kubrick's best film.
The scenes of trench warfare are frighteningly vivid, and Kirk Douglas gives a searing performance as the officer assigned to the hopeless task of defending the three men.
You can sense Kubrick stretching his cinematic wings in this prime slice of Hollywood liberalism.
Stanley Kubrick often spoke out against war in his film, using violence as a weapon against the audience's sensibilities. Never was he more convincing as here.
watching it is to watch the birth of the one of the greatest filmmakers of the second half of the 20th century
For all its chilly symmetry and beauty, the sheer injustice shown will have your pulse racing.
Stanley Kubrick's best meditation on war (yes, Full Metal Jacket fans, you heard me).
Truly a Kubrick classic with strong Kirk Douglas performance.
Audience Reviews for Paths of Glory
This is the true story of how those in power took advantage of it and put three innocent soldiers on the stand for cowardice, during World War I. One of Kubrick's earlier classics, this film deals with the savagery of violence, and how the common people are made to fight others' wars. The visuals are so empowering, and the film hits you right in the gut with its emotional prowess. The lives of these men are decided by the higher powers and their decision making, over what is just. Col. Dax (Kirk Douglas) tries to save the lives of the three men in question but he has to fight against bureaucracy time and time again. Even when he has a chance to right the injustice he is thwarted by his government and unfair officials, who fight them in purely evil and sadistic ways. We don't know until the final moment whether or not the three men will be saved, and it's a long and painfully aware scene. The very ending, with the German girl in the bar, singing a familiar tune, sparked such a human empathy within myself that it made me cry. A very emotional and quintessentially moving film, it's obvious that Kubrick has made the seminal war film.More
Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory is a classic film dealing with a different side of war, this is an anti war picture, and the way Kubrick tackles the subject is very well done, and he crafts a solid war drama that is thoroughly engaging from start to finish. The film boasts impressive performance, especially from Kirk Douglas. This is a classic antiwar picture, one that showcases Kubrick's directorial style perfectly, and he directs a simple, yet very effective story, which in turn just adds more depth to the tone of the film. Stanley Kubrick was a great filmmaker, and with Paths of Glory he delivers a classic that works very well because the story is simple, but it discusses an important issue, and that's usually what makes for a truly memorable and engrossing film to watch. Paths of Glory is a must watch for Kubrick fans, especially genre fans, and this is well paced affair, that is never dull, tedious or too long. The Length of the film is just right, and like I said, the film evokes important issues, and is a powerful film going experience, one that only Stanley Kubrick could have delivered, and this is a fine film that would show hints of what was to follow in his later work. Kubrick always made films that stood out cause of their subjects, and his work pushed boundaries and with Paths of Glory, this is a film that is significant in its message, and it's a film that you soon won't forget because not only is the story very good, but the acting is exceptional as well. Paths of Glory is a near perfect affair that ranks among the directors finest works.More
Paths of Glory is rightfully thought of as one of the greatest anti-war films ever made. Stanley Kubrick's simplistic but beautiful direction is perfectly suited to getting the heart of the story across. It is a niggle that everyone is American in this 'French film' but it is a shame to miss the point because one can't see beyond it. It's as important today as it has ever been and it is as powerful.More
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