Mountain View

Paths of Glory (1957)

87 Min.
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In a nutshell... When soldiers in World War I refuse to continue with an impossible attack, their superior officers decide to make an example of them.

Watch The Trailer:

Why It Makes My List

Contrary to what some reviewers have written, Paths of Glory was never banned in France, merely ‘withdrawn from circulation’ until 1975, but that was enough to prompt me to watch it. I’m very pleased I did because with this film Stanley Kubrick achieves that rare feat of making a genuinely anti-war war movie. Paths of Glory is the best film I’ve ever seen about the First World War.

Other Reasons To Watch

Paths of Glory is pitch-perfect, with no extraneous scene or off-key moment, remarkable in its simplicity and told with a brutal economy of expression. You can sense the anger in the telling.

Paths of Glory
Kirk Douglas gives as much as he can in Paths of Glory, exuding tremendous passion as the colonel. He makes every twitch count.
*Spoiler* 99/100 directors would end with a reprieve for the condemned, but not Kubrick. Instead there is a heart-breaking coda that comes out of nowhere, but which has its own redemptive beauty.
Paths of Glory

Reason To Pass
Reason To Pass

GoodOnNetflix - Paths of Glory
Paths of Glory is also undeniably dated. It was made in 1957 and for all its virtues I did feel like I was watching an old movie when I saw it.
It's played in colloquial English, with American accents and attitudes. While it tries to look like a document of the French Army in World War I, that effort is undermined whenever anyone speaks.
The film's relevance to the wider ethics of war is questionable. While it portrays a grotesque injustice based on fact, you might be left with the feeling that it was little more than a horribly freakish incident.

Don't Watch If...

French soldiers speaking in colloquial English with American accents is going to ruin it for you.

  • I_am_not_a_duck

    I first saw this movie in the 1960s when I was a kid. I later became a criminal defense attorney, motivated partly because of the heroic resolve of Col. Dax, “the finest trial lawyer in all of France”. Many times, when faced with outrageous conduct in a case, I used the restraint maintained by Dax as inspiration. In my top 10 of greatest movies.

    • Wow, that adds to my appreciation of the movie. Thanks for commenting!

  • Kendra

    To translate the song at the end of the film read this:

    • It fits so well, doesn’t it? The use of unsubtitled German is such a contrast to the Americanization of the rest of the script.

  • ScottCDanielson

    Aside from being a great anti-war movie, I think this is a Kubrick movie that gets lost in the midst of the rest of the director’s filmography including 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and Dr. Strangelove. But you still get Kubrick’s appreciation for long takes, especially during the suicidal charge up the hill.

  • Pingback: Beasts of No Nation ~ Good On Netflix()

Paths of Glory

Available in: Sadly, this movie is currently no longer available on Netflix

Last Checked: 13/03/2017
No longer accurate? Let me know

Director Stanley Kubrick

Starring Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou, Wayne Morris, George Macready, Ralph Meeker, Richard Anderson

Genres Classics, Classic Dramas, Classic War Stories, Military & War Dramas