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‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ and The Purpose of Anti-War Cinema

Here’s a video essay that takes a look at whether the 2022 remake of ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ is an effective anti-war movie or not.
All Quiet On The Western Front
By  · Published on April 17th, 2023

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that explores whether or not Netflix’s remake of ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ is a good anti-war movie.

With the 2023 Oscars firmly in the rear-view mirror, no one is going to blame you for forgetting the finer details of Hollywood’s biggest night. So cast your mind back, if you will, to the lesser of the Academy’s two sweeps. Sure, Everything Everywhere All At Once scampered off with eleven nominations and seven wins. So it’s easy to forget that All Quiet on the Western Front was nominated for nine little gold men, the second-highest tally for a non-English film since Roma and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

While the film’s final four wins might have caught some of us off guard (me, I’m some of us), the cynic amongst us might point out that the Academy has a soft spot for historical anti-war films. But how does the latest adaptation of on All Quiet on the Western Front square up with its peers (including the 1930 adaptation, the third-ever film to win Best Picture). And, more pressingly, how effectively does the film operate as an anti-war movie?

The following video essay attempts to answer this latter question: investigating to what degree the film actually challenges the idea that war is a stage for heroism. In 2023, the idea of an anti-war film that strives to naturalistically emphasize the realities of war doesn’t have the same argumentative power that it used to. We know that war is hell and that the promise of heroism is a scam. But how does the All Quiet on the Western Front remake make this point, if at all? The answer? It’s complicated.

Watch “Is All Quiet on the Western Front a Good Anti-War Movie?”

Who made this?

This video essay on whether or not Netflix’s 2022 remake of All Quiet on the Western Front functions as an anti-war movie was created by Like Stories of Old, a video essay channel run by Tom van der Linden. You can follow van der Linden on Twitter here. And you can subscribe to his YouTube account here.

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Meg has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.