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Paths of Glory (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1957)

Kirk Douglas , Richard Anderson , Stanley Kubrick  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kirk Douglas, Richard Anderson, Timothy Carey, George Macready, Ralph Meeker
  • Directors: Stanley Kubrick
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003WKL6YO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,917 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Paths of Glory (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • New audio commentary by critic Gary Giddins
  • Television interview from 1979 with star Kirk Douglas
  • New video interviews with Jan Harlan, James B. Harris and Christiane Kubrick
  • Excerpt from a French television program about real-life World War I executions
  • Theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by Kubrick scholar James Naremore

  • Editorial Reviews

    A pivotal work by Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange), PATHS OF GLORY is among the most powerful antiwar films ever made. A fiery Kirk Douglas (Ace in the Hole, Spartacus) stars as a French colonel serving in World War I who goes head-to-head with the army’s ruthless top brass when his men are accused of cowardice after being unable to carry out an impossible mission. This haunting, exquisitely photographed dissection of the military machine in all its absurdity and capacity for dehumanization (a theme Kubrick would continue to explore throughout his career) is assembled with its legendary director’s customary precision, from its tense trench warfare sequences to its gripping courtroom climax to its ravaging final scene.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    121 of 135 people found the following review helpful
    Format:DVD
    In 1916 France Commander Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) wants General Mireau (George Macready) to have his battered division take the "Ant Hill", an impregnable German fortress, promising Mireau a promotion and another story if he succeeds. Mireau orders Dax (Kirk Douglas) to lead the charge, which is a complete failure. When soldiers are pinned down by German artillery and machine gun fire Mireau orders his own artillery to fire on their own trenches, screaming, "If those sweethearts won't face German bullets, they'll take French ones!"

    "Paths of Glory" has a deserved reputation as a great anti-war film but I think that director Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Humphrey Cobb's 1935 semi-fictional novel is a rather specific indictment of both a particular military and a particular war. The suicidal attack in the first act of the film was loosely based upon the battle for Fort Douamont during the Battle of Verdun, where over 300,000 French soldiers lost their lives. The assault, doomed to fail before it began, is ordered by French generals more concerned with prestige and promotions than the lives of their troops or the actual prospects for success. In the wake of the disaster three men are selected to be tried and then executed for cowardice. They are defended in court by their commander, Colonel Dax, the lone voice of reason speaking out against the insanity of what has happened.

    This film was banned for almost twenty years in France and it is an indictment of the French military on a par with those films that have touched on the infamous Dreyfus case.
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    91 of 102 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Anti-injustice, anti-authoritarian May 25, 2005
    Format:DVD
    When you are the one who gets to decide who lives and who dies, what are the criteria that the rest of us should buy into before giving our consent? If a general, or a CEO for that matter, asks the impossible, how far must men go in following their orders before disobedience is permissible? When is it ok for a cog in the machine to stop being a machine and start being a human being? This film suggests that the Ant Hill could only have been taken by live soldiers, and if all the soldiers were being slaughtered in the attempt to cross no mans land, the few survivors should naturally turn back, and live to fight another day. Under these circumstances, taking the Hill would have been impossible.

    Ah, but that was an embarrasment for the general who ordered the attack. His judgement could not have been wrong, so, therefore, the men must be cowards. The role of Reason, the nature of absurdity, courage, and cowardice are all examined in this simple story, and the implication is clear that it is better to die bravely in front of a firing squad than to grow comfortable with mendacity and cower before the truth. The real cowards in the story were those who ordered these men to their deaths on the battlefield, because they were afraid to say no and risk their reputations for daring, and also those who ordered their deaths in front of a firing squad, and also those who concealed the truth out of fear of the consequences. Again, it is better to die bravely than live in cowardice. And the bravest of them all was the colonel played by Kirk Douglas, who fought for reason, justice, truth, and against the enemy on every side, even when the enemy was his superior officer. Yes, the enemy can be found in your own ranks, even among your commanding officers.
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    38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Indictment of War...Affirmation of Humanity July 1, 2003
    Format:DVD
    It has been almost 50 years since this anti-war film appeared, one which was banned in France until 1970. It is based on Humphrey Cobb's novel. Directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Kirk Douglas who also produced it, the film examines a fictional (but nonetheless wholly believable) situation during World War One when French troops are ordered to achieve an impossible military objective: Climb and secure the "Ant Hill," a heavily-fortified German position. Of course the troops are decimated. Whom to blame? General Broulard (Adolph Menjou) who gave the order? The troops' general, General Mireau (George MacReady), whose career ambitions overcame his doubts about the order? The officer (Colonel Dax) who led the attack? General Broulard gives a second order: Select three of the survivors, charge them with cowardice, give them a perfunctory military trial, and then execute them. Their commanding officer is Colonel Dax (Douglas) who had been an attorney in civilian life. He is ordered to be the defense counsel. After the inevitable verdict, the three representatives are executed by a firing squad.

    Kubrick presents all this on film as if it were a documentary of actual events. Appropriately, he filmed it in black-and-white, in part to dramatize the obvious juxtapositions of right and wrong, good and evil, justice and injustice, etc. The battlefield carnage is extensive but not gratuitous. For me, the insensitivity, indeed inhumanity of the two generals -- far removed from combat in luxurious comfort -- is far more upsetting than the assault on the "Ant Hill." The men who followed orders and lost their lives or their limbs may have died in vain but at least died with honor, if not glory. Kubrick leaves absolutely no doubt about the generals who sent them into battle.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars I believe we all have a right to defend ourselves but when battles are...
    An obvious statement on the folly of war and the elitists who prosecute it. What the Big Brass want the Big Brass gets no matter how many die. Read more
    Published 21 hours ago by Tom Wilde
    5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding film. Gripping. Douglas gives a masterful peformance ...
    Outstanding film. Gripping. Douglas gives a masterful peformance. Illistrates the folly of war
    Published 9 days ago by Jerome P. Gaca
    2.0 out of 5 stars Did not age super well. You do see the early signs of ...
    Did not age super well. You do see the early signs of what made Kubrick great but the staging of scenes look a little too contrived and our current sensibilities about what... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by A Coustomer
    3.0 out of 5 stars oops
    disc had come out and was rattling in the case. obviously treated poorly. thank god it works
    Published 1 month ago by Zachery W. Long
    5.0 out of 5 stars An American All Quiet on the Western Front
    Classic antiwar movie. Saw it for the first time this year. Another great role for Douglas.
    Published 1 month ago by Donald R. Stark
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Awesome classic!
    Published 1 month ago by patrick bruders
    5.0 out of 5 stars Kubrick's Greatest.
    Kubrick's greatest film. Not just an indictment of the military and of war, but imho, a commentary on the disease of stupidity and lack of compassion that infests all human... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by MiserableOldFart
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    One of my all time favorite movies. A classic.
    Published 1 month ago by Michael Woodworth
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Quite possibly one of the most famous of all anti-war films ever made.
    Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Better than okay
    Published 2 months ago by Nely Satner
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    Forums

    Topic From this Discussion
    Terrible Cover
    What do you mean? This shot of Kirk Douglas coming back into the trench after trying to get his men to advance after the first wave is classic! It shows the deflated look on his face which surmises the entire futility and idiotic aspects of war and of the mission he was tasked to complete. ... Read More
    Nov 18, 2010 by Amazon Customer |  See all 4 posts
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