Skip to Content
Poster for Paths of Glory
Watch trailer for Paths of Glory Watch trailer

Paths of Glory

Director: Stanley Kubrick Run Time: 88 min. Format: 35mm Rating: R Release Year: 1957 Language: English/German

Starring: Adolphe Menjou, Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker

Part of the VICE Presents: The Film Foundation Screening Series at Nitehawk Cinema. Includes a recorded introduction by Patti PodestaProduction Designer who designed the KUBRICK exhibition at LACMA.

As Stanley Kubrick’s first large-scale feature made at the tender age of 28 and based on the novel by Humphrey Cobb, Paths of Glory depicts the horrors of Europe in its harsh portrayal of the French Army in WWI (a depiction that would see the film banned in France until 1975).

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
-Thomas Gray – “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

Paths of Glory reveals power and class struggles through the representation of the hierarchical nature of the military and its sanctioning of soldiers (i.e. the lower class) as disposable figures. When tasked with a suicide mission to capture a well-defended German fortification, General Mireau (George Macready) deals with the inevitable failure of this mission and the subsequent retreating of his men by court-marshaling three of the soldiers. Régiment Colonel Dax (in a career performance by Kirk Douglas), who knew the mission was destined to disaster, defends these three men but to no avail. In an ending that expresses the futility of war and the simultaneous experience of life and death, beauty and horror, Paths of Glory is the truest of anti-war films.

Paths of Glory stands about from the scope and technical focus inherent in Kubrick’s future works by being very tight, precise, and exceptional emotional. It may not be his most well known work but it’s certainly one of the most power and one that foretells incredible vision by an extraordinarily talented director.

*A portion of each ticket sale goes towards The Film Foundation. Tickets also include complimentary Larceny Bourbon drinks at an after-party in Nitehawk’s downstairs bar! 

PATHS OF GLORY (1958, director Stanley Kubrick)
Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive in cooperation with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. with funding provided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation.

35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Also courtesy of Park Circus Limited.