War is hell. All Quiet on the Western Front is one of the first talkies to take on this theme. Following a group of German schoolboys who are riled up by a professor into enlisting for WWI. It shows the devolution of the group from idealistic boys, to cannon fodder, to bitter cannon fodder. Interesting that the filmmakers feature German youths. This movie could not have been made a few years before because of the lack of sound technology and could not have been made a few years later because of the rising threat of a re-emergent Germany. It was made at a perfect moment when German youths could still be shown as fully sympathetic characters and the movie could focus on the detrimental effects of war, the blind war-mongering of men too old to be endangering their own lives, and the loss of innocence that affects an entire generation.
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)