All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Any veterans of World War I still alive are closing in on, or are past, the century mark, so very soon the "war to end war" will literally pass into history. And anyone who doesn't know what what a brutal, stupid, and ultimately pointless conflict this was are commanded to spend Nov. 11, the anniversary of the war's end in 1918, watching All Quiet on the Western Front,adapted from the semi-autobiographical novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a wounded veteran of the trenches. Shot in 1930 on a then-gigantic budget of $1.2 million, All Quiet stars Lew Ayres (best remembered today for the Dr. Kildare movies) as a young German who joins the kaiser's army with enthusiasm only to become a cynical and battle-weary veteran as his friends die around him. The film won Oscars for Best Picture and for director Lewis Milestone, but its relentless anti-war message made it ultra-controversial in the United States and, especially, Germany. Remarque had to flee the country in the early '30s as Hitler came to power, as his viewpoint didn't exactly jibe with that of the Nazis--whose belief that Germany had been stabbed in the back by traitors at home during the First World War would do much to bring on the second and, so far, final world war.