Title: Paths of Glory

Year: 1957

Genre: Drama | War |

Runtime: 88 min

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Starring: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou


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



Kubrick’s anti-war picture Paths of Glory depicts the aftermath of how the war might play out, especially in the World War One conflict 1916 in the war against Germany. A defining war that changed the war in a major way.  This film doesn’t just contain drama and war imagery, it also has a sensibility with the political mind-game between the leading officers.

It follows Kirk Douglas through an unhumbled path where the soldier, in the end, didn’t follow orders and resulting them to be sentenced to death by rifle. To this part, a lot of dialogue scene and a trial occurs. Douglas’ character Colonel Dax, His job in all of this is to defend them against George Macready’s General Paul Mireau who is the main antagonist in this picture.

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The direction by Kubrick makes it a solid experience. Not the best one but it’s not really about the war. It has a centre part of the story but it ain’t the main focus. The main part of the narrative is the trial and the conflict between the military which gives this film a different meaning. It’s not the typical war-film you would expect however it’s just as important as other films in this genre.

The visual aspect has always been Kubrick’s strength and that the main part of why this film is successful. If it wasn’t because of the mesmerizing photography, it would have the impact it has. It’s easy to relate to the characters because of this. Details from Stanley Kubrick’s direction make it worthwhile. Meanwhile, the acting has a sense in this as well.

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Kirk Douglas makes a worthy take on his character but he’s not the best in this picture, as he overdramatizes his scenes. Adolphe Menjou’s George  Broulard makes the whole film watchable.  The film has a simple message where soldiers refuse to kill, get shot for it but in the end, some redemption for them is clarified. However, the ending is somehow abrupt and doesn’t feel natural.  In the end, this is a classic. An undying classic war-picture that made Kubrick prove what talent of a director he later would become.




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