All Quiet on the Western Front

War is hell. Nowhere is that notion so vividly illustrated than in Erich Maria Remarque’s 1920 novel All Quiet on the Western Front. While Remarque’s story was brought to life in previous adaptations (1930 followed by 1979), we are reminded yet again of the novel’s significance in Edward Berger’s recent retelling which is now playing on Netflix.

With the current global financial situation, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and fervent nationalism raging around the world, the film’s anti-war message has rarely been as relevant as it is right now. The timing couldn’t be any better and this newest big budget version of a classic war tale is not only a grim reminder of the dirty deeds of man, but also a brilliant piece of filmmaking.

"is not only a grim reminder of the dirty deeds of man, but also a brilliant piece of filmmaking"

Remarque’s basic story remains the same, but those familiar with the earlier film versions will appreciate Berger’s visual update with modern filmmaking techniques. Also, in a break from the earlier versions, he adapts the film in the German author’s native language. The result is an excruciatingly intense look at the horrors of war that leaves us scratching our heads at the audacity of it all.

The film takes place in Spring of 1917 in the Western front of Germany during World War I. We watch in horror as a young soldier named Heinrich Gerber is gunned down in no-man’s land after emptying his gun and marching through mud and barbed wire with only a shovel as a weapon.

We then meet Paul (newcomer Felix Kammerer), a seventeen-year-old high school student desperate to sign up to serve his country where he hopes to beat the French and march to Paris in victory. That’s how he and friends Albert, and Tjaden imagine it, anyway.

The audience views it differently though, as we see Heinrich Gerber’s uniform being sewn and washed – the bullet hole getting a patch – before being reissued to Paul. The gravity of the scene is amplified as we see scores of removed name patches on the floor beneath them.All Quiet on the Western Front

It is the little scenes such as this one that Berger uses to such great effect to create the biggest impact throughout the film. Yes, bullets rip, bombs explode, heads are blown off, and bodies disappear in clouds of blood and viscera. But there’s always those unexpectedly personal moments in the script (Berger co-writes with Lesley Paterson, and Ian Stokell) to remind us of the humanity that is lost to war.

And that’s Remarque’s original intent with his anti-war novel. Kudos to Berger for making it a point to ensure he isn’t telling a heroic story. Unlike most war films, in All Quiet on the Western Front, there is no rooting and cheering at the death of the enemy. Who is the enemy, anyway? A death is just a death, whether it be a comrade, a friend, or a superior. Berger brilliantly ensures the horror of death is interchangeable amongst all parties involved. It is all very dehumanizing. The result is a devastating experience that will undoubtedly leave a mark.

It would be a total surrender to not mention the updated and unconventional score from Volker Bertelsmann which sets an ominous tone throughout. Coupled with James Fields’ stunning cinematography, and the technical accuracy Berger and company deploy to get all the little details just right, All Quiet on the Western Front joins 1917, Joyeux Noel, and Gallipoli in the curiously short list of great WWI films.

5/5 stars

All Quiet on the Western Front

4k details divider

4K UHD + Blu-ray DigiBook

Home Video Distributor: MPI Media Group
Available on 4K/Blu-ray
- March 28, 2023
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
: English, English SDH, French, German, German SDH, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Spanish SDH, Catalan, Czech, Czech SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian
German: Dolby Atmos; German: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1; Turkish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Polish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Ukrainian: Dolby Digital 5.1; Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1; Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: 4K region-free; blu-ray locked to Region A

MPI Media Group's handling of the film's debut on 4K UHD is a spectacular one, as we get a beautiful hardbound two-disc DigiBook with 24 pages of written commentary and Q&A from director Edward Berger himself. Collectors are going to eat this one up, and so should you.

In addition to the 4K UHD disc, there's a blu-ray copy of the film, an audio commentary, a making-of featurette, and handful of trailers.


If you've checked out Netflix's Dolby Vision presentation of All Quiet on the Western Front, then you already know how impressive this film looks. Well, it's even better on 4K UHD. The leap is not quite as incremental as, say, from SD to 1080p blu-ray, but the Dolby Atmos transfer is unquestionably one for the ages.

Blood, viscera, smoke, and dirt splatter the screen as hell breaks loose as the battle sequences fire up, and we are right in the middle of the action, thanks to the 2.39:1 Native 4K Dolby Vision HDR10 transfer that will push your system to its limits. Can yours handle it?


A film as spectacular as this deserves an equally impressive audio track, and MPI's Dolby Atmos track is up to the challenge. Bullets whiz across the room, and explosions shake the walls as you become immersed in the hell of war. Trying to recall an audio presentation as perfectly handled as this one is, but coming up short.

It's also worth mentioning that this is the first of the film's three adaptations to present the film in Remarque's native German language. Certainly a thoughtful touch.



  • From director Edward Berger

Special Features:

For some unfathomable reason, DigiBooks tend to be a somewhat polarizing concept amongst physical media collectors, however MPI's media book is a perfect little bow tied to this release that will make it stand out in your collection.

A much-appreciated audio commentary from director Edward Berger is included, as is a near-20-minute making-of featurette. Other than that, we only get handful of trailers.

4k rating divider

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4.5/5 stars

Film Details

All Quiet on the Western Front

MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody war violence and grisly images.
94 mins
: Edward Berger
Edward Berger; Lesley Paterson; Ian Stokell.
Felix Kammerer; Albrecht Schuch; Aaron Hilmer
: War | Drama
A Netflix Film.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 28, 2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 28, 2023
Synopsis: A young German soldier's terrifying experiences and distress on the western front during World War I.


All Quiet on the Western Front