Safe in their picturesque chateau behind the front lines, the French general staff passes down a direct order to Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas): take the Ant Hill at any cost. A blatant suicide mission, the attack is doomed to failure. Covering up their fatal blunder, the generals order the arrest of three innocent soldiers, charging them with cowardice and mutiny. Dax, a lawyer in civilian life, rises to the men's defense but soon realizes that, unless he can prove that the generals were to blame,nothing less than a miracle will save his clients from the firing squad. A compelling masterpiece from world-class director/writer Stanley Kubrick and screenwriters Calder Willingham and JimThompson, Paths of Glory is a blistering indictment of military politics and "an unforgettable movie experience" (Newsweek).
Cast & Crew
This masterpiece still packs a wallop, though nothing in it is as simple as it may first appear; audiences are still arguing about the final sequence, which has been characterized as everything from a sentimental cop-out to the ultimate cynical twist.
Songs at the ends of dramas usually make us feel better. They are part of closure. This song at the end of this movie makes us feel more forlorn.
Paths of Glory is all about that greatest of all movie subjects: power.
There's a near mathematical logic to the scenario and the cruelty is compounded by class.
Both a terrifying, grim look at battle and an excruciatingly tense courtroom thriller. Together, it's a devastating indictment of war as conducted by opportunists and liars.