Released in 1930, I suppose in modern days it would be classed as an ‘epic’, with big scenes of warfare plus a human tale of sacrifice.
A few facts. It’s black and white, has sound, speech but minimal music, runs about two and a half hours, was also released in a silent version using a second camera at the time of shooting, and was re-made in 1979 in a more tv friendly, colour version.
The story is simple. The film follows a group of boys who are recruited to fight in a war for Germany. It shows the terrible conditions they suffer and the horrors of war and their ultimate deaths, while the families at home celebrate their heroism and say they should be proud to fight and die.
And, of course, it has that famous end.
There are many films that are described as “anti-war”. Some, like Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” are not so clearly anti-war at all, but this certainly is. It is a harrowing tale with a grim end. At the time of release, some countries, eg parts of Australia, banned it for ‘pacifism’.
It does get shown in cinema clubs are there are good versions available on home media, as it comes up to its 100th anniversary.