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YMMV / Paths of Glory

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  • Adaptation Displacement: Humphrey Cobb's novel sold well in 1935 but now most people aren't even aware it was originally a book.
  • Award Snub: Failed to even get nominated for Best Picture. Ditto Stanley Kubrick for Best Director and Kirk Douglas for Best Actor.
  • Fridge Horror: All French enlisted men and junior officers are conscripts - they are forced to fight against their will.
  • It Was His Sled: You know what will happen to the soldiers on trial for cowardice, but that doesn't make the whole affair any less cathartic.
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  • Moral Event Horizon: Mireau crosses it when he orders his artillery to fire on B company in order to force them out of the trenches.
  • Signature Scene: Colonel Dax reviewing his men shortly before the doomed assault on the Anthill. It's the scene shown on most modern covers of the film.
  • Tear Jerker: The ending. A young German woman is forced to sing for the soldiers in a tavern. They are cat-calling, hooting, and laughing at her. Then she starts to sing a simple, well-known ballad about love in war, "The Faithful Soldier". The audience quiets down, and they start to hum the song along with her, as they recall their youth, their homes, and their loves in a world they may never see again.
    • Hell, much of the movie is this, especially in the second half. The biggest example would probably be the actual execution of the soldiers, in particular Private Ferol's reaction to his impending death. The poor guy can't stop crying and simply says he wishes he could see his wife again. Even the Smug Snake prosecutor looks deeply uncomfortable reading the sentence of the condemned men.
  • Values Resonance: Sociopathic officers and government officials who treat war like a business can still be seen in modern warfare. The film's view of patriotism and "raising morale" continues to ring true with a lot of people over half a century after its release.
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  • Vindicated by History: The film failed on its first release, yet it's now considered one of the most poignant stories of war ever told. It wasn't released in France until 1970 for its criticism of the French army.
  • The Woobie: The shell shocked soldier in the beginning who Mireau slaps for "cowardice", as well as the condemned soldiers.


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