Paths of Glory (1957)

Details

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Rated: PG

Released: November 1957 (West Germany)

Runtime: 88 Min

Taglines:  BOMBSHELL! the roll of the drums… the click of the rifle-bolts… the last cigarette… and then… the shattering impact of this story… perhaps the most explosive motion picture in 25 years!

Genres: Drama | War

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Writers: Stanley Kubrick  (Screenplay), Calder Willingham  (Screenplay)

Actors: Kirk Douglas , Ralph Meeker , Adolphe Menjou

Country: USA

Language: English, German, Latin

After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them.

Plot

1916. The trench warfare between the French and Germans on the battlefields of France results in little advancement of troops on either side – each advancement in tens of meters rather than kilometers – but in many casualties. Thus, the request by French General George Broulard to his subordinate General Paul Mireau to lead an attack to capture the Anthill, a key German held position which is just visible from the current French trench position, is generally regarded as futile. The request is largely one out of want for personal glory for the French military’s upper echelon with little regard for the soldiers. Mireau hesitates in accepting the assignment until he learns that a prestigious promotion is on the line, one that is his regardless of success or failure. The regiment he assigns to carry out the attack is led by Colonel Dax, who has no other option but to obey orders despite both he and Mireau knowing the regiment’s casualties would number over half without any guarantee of success. While Mireau’s eyes are on his own personal gain, Dax is concerned both with carrying out the mission to the best of his ability while protecting his soldiers as a collective. What happens on the battlefield leads to a further rift in overall beliefs between Mireau and Dax in what is best for French society. What also results from the battle is a legal issue scapegoating three of Dax’s soldiers, he who will protect his men to the best of his abilities against the cards stacked against them by the military elite.

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