5 films like All Quiet on the Western Front you must watch

By Miguel Fernández
Published: November 4, 2022 (Last updated: January 20, 2024)

We discuss 5 films like All Quiet on the Western Front you must watch. Did you enjoy the WW1 film? Add these to your watchlist.

Netflix has been getting into a lot of non-English language filmmaking over the past few years to accentuate its global position as the largest streaming platform. What began with movies like Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma and continued with their unexpected huge hit Squid Game in 2021 has now been picked up by the German film All Quiet on the Western Front, which has been accumulating rave reviews for at least a few weeks and is also likely to be nominated or even win the Best Foreign-Langauge Film Oscar.

The movie, which is an adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s novel of the same name, has a profound anti-war message. If you’ve enjoyed the film, here are a handful of other anti-war films you might enjoy.

5 films like All Quiet on the Western Front you must watch

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

It sounds redundant, but it’s definitely a must to bring up the original film. There are some differences between the first film and the new Netflix adaptation, including the fact that it was shot by an American studio and an American crew, and in English. The Netflix film that was just released is not technically a remake of the 1930 movie, but rather a second (or third, if you count the 1979 TV movie for CBS) adaptation of the 1929 novel.

That being said, there’s a reason why the original film has been cited over and over again over the decades as one of the most important war movies of the 20th Century. Unfortunately, its anti-war message was unable to prevent the start of War World II nine years later. Hopefully, we’ve not been doomed for the same mistakes now.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Continuing in the themes of anti-war movies, you really can’t get better than Saving Private Ryan. Those who are more critical of the iconic Steven Spielberg movie admit that it starts to lose some momentum after the 30-minute mark. However, I have yet to come across a single person that wasn’t physically ill after watching the Omaha Beach scene at the very beginning of the movie. Even if we took out everything else that Spielberg has ever directed, those first 30 minutes alone are enough to put him as one of the greatest directors of all time. It’s as anti-war as it gets.

Platoon (1986)

Perhaps Oliver Stone’s best-regarded film, Platoon follows a young Charlie Sheen as a college student who enlists in the army to go to Vietnam. Once he gets there, he starts to realize he may be in the wrong fight, and the war starts to get in his head. Instead of depicting the violent side of war, like Saving Private Ryan or All Quiet on the Western Front to an extent, Platoon plays with the psychological terror that comes with it, something that the latter also explored through some of its character choices.

1917 (2019)

If we are talking about depicting the horrors of war in a realistic way, we cannot skip Sam Mendes’ horrifyingly realistic 1917, which came very close to winning Best Picture almost three years ago. Shot by Roger Deakins as if it was entirely on one take, it also takes us to the trenches of War World I, like All Quiet on the Western Front, and helps us realize that we don’t ever want to get close to an armed conflict. It follows George McKay and Dean-Charles Chapman as two British soldiers on a mission to deliver an urgent message to call off an offensive attack that is doomed for failure. It is loosely based on stories that Mendes’ grandfather used to tell him as a kid. The film is also just breathtakingly beautiful, so I highly recommend it just for that.

Paths of Glory (1957)

One of Stanley Kubrick’s lesser-appreciated movies, Paths of Glory follows Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax during War World I, who was commissioned with a near-suicide mission against the Germans that was so absurd it prompted dozens of men refusing to act and being court-martialed as a result. Dax, who was a lawyer before enrolling in the army, volunteers to defend them. This is yet another horrifying look at what war and ambition can bring out of the human race.

Do you have any other recommendations for films like All Quiet on the Western Front? Let us know!

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