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Questions for all quiet on the western front movie

questions for all quiet on the western front movie

1. What is the significance of the title All Quiet on the Western Front?

2. From whose perspective is the story of All Quiet on the Western Front told?

3. What specific event ignited World War I in Europe? What other factors contributed to the outbreak of the war?

4. Where was the Western Front?

5. Why does Paul Baumer feel betrayed by the adults in his life?

6. Which advancements in science and technology during World War I were depicted in the battle scenes in All Quiet on the Western Front?

7. Why is Paul Baumer alienated from his family and the people in his town when he goes home to visit?

8. Who were the members of the “Lost Generation”?

1. All Quiet on the Western Front paints a picture of war that is full of terrifying, grotesque details in an attempt to persuade readers of the horrors of battle. Portrayals of war in other books, however, as well as in films and on television, often ignore the more painful side of battle to glorify fighting. Debate the ethics of how war should be depicted—not only in literature, but also in other art forms.

2. Through Paul Baumer’s eyes, we see war as a horribly dehumanizing experience. Debate what experiences in war—if any—might make young soldiers more human.

3. Analyze whether there are any heroes presented in All Quiet on the Western Front. What is the nature of their heroism? Are there any villains in the novel? What makes them villainous?

4. Hitler banned All Quiet on the Western Front at the beginning of World War II and had copies of the novel burned. Although it is easy to condemn his acts of censorship, this may not always be the case. Is there ever justification for censorship of antiwar material? Debate the right of a government to censor certain types of antiwar media when the country is involved in a full-scale war.

5. Discuss the possible statements that Remarque might have been making by the ironic way he kills off the characters of Kat and Paul—veteran soldiers who survive many terrible fights but end up dying anyway when they aren’t in battle.

6. World War I was known as a “total war” because it involved the efforts of many civilians in addition to the military. Today, however, warfare can be drastically different. How would All Quiet on the Western Front be different if it were told from the perspective of a modern-day American soldier during, say, the war in the Persian Gulf? What events would be different? What ideas and issues might change?

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Paul Baumer is a young German who, along with his graduating high school classmates, enlist in the German Imperial Army during the First World War.

According to the text, how does war empower petty, power-hungry men? Think especially about Himmelstoss. How do the other characters cope with their forced subordination?

2. In what ways does the novel critique the romantic rhetoric of war, honor, and patriotism? How might this critique extend to nineteenth-century ideas of nationalism? Think especially about the soldiers’ reaction to Kantorek’s letter.

3. What is Paul like as a character? Has the brutality of war completely stripped away his humanity, or does he retain vestiges of his old self?

4. Discuss how the goals of the novel, as stated by the epigraph or suggested by the text, affect the work’s form and style. Does Remarque compromise his realistic style in order to deliver a message? Is Kantorek too one-dimensional a character?

Throughout Paul’s narrative there are attacks on the romantic ideals of warfare. The novel dramatizes the disjunction between high-minded rhetoric about patriotism and honor and the actual horror of trench warfare. Remarque continually stresses that the soldiers are not fighting with the abstract ideals of patriotic spirit in mind; they are fighting for their survival. The matters of acquiring food, shelter, and clothing, in addition to avoiding gunfire and bombs, constitute their foremost concerns. Nothing in this novel makes the actual experience of war look attractive. Even the intense friendships between Paul and his fellow soldiers are tempered with the sobering reality that their bonds come at the high price of relentless suffering and terror.

Remarque also explores the gulfs in age and power that are widened by war; he portrays the war as the older generation’s profound betrayal of the younger. Men of Paul’s age entered the war under the heavy pressure of people they regarded as trusted authority figures. The very people who are supposed to guide them to their adulthood instead send them to their deaths with empty slogans of patriotic duty.


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They left for war as Boys, never to return as men.




Release Date:

14 November 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Van het westelijk front geen nieuws See more »

Company Credits

Technical Specs


131 min (DVD) | 129 min (1980 cut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

4:3 See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Richard Thomas was 28 when he made the film, making him 10 years older than the character he was portraying. See more »


After the scene when Leer dies it shows the Germans in their trench and they all have mud on their helmets. It then shows Westhaus and his helmet is clean, but it is muddy again in the next scene when he is shot exiting the trench and falls back into two of his fellow soldiers.
In almost every case, military innovations make the soldiers’ lives more dangerous, while medical innovations lag increasingly far behind. Kemmerich, for instance, dies from complications from a relatively light wound. Glory and patriotism cease to be rational ideals in the conflict because advanced technology limits the effect that an individual soldier can have on the conflict and alienates him from the consequences of his actions. Life and death thus become meaningless. Whether or not a soldier dies in a bombardment is determined by chance or animal instinct and has nothing to do with the soldier’s attitude toward the conflict.

3. Think about the concept of enemies in war. Whom do Paul and his friends regard as their enemies?

When Paul and his friends talk about enemies, they do not speak of the soldiers on the other side. Instead, they concentrate their hostility on Kantorek and Himmelstoss, their superiors and fellow countrymen. Paul and his classmates view Kantorek and other formerly trusted authority figures like him as the origin of their pointless suffering. These authority figures have sent them to war with the tragically false illusion that they were embarking on an exciting journey to fight for honor and glory.


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