The Final Scene to ‘Paths of Glory’

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I once watched Kubrick’s Paths of Glory as part of a project, and so I wasn’t expecting much. This final scene took me completely by surprise, and is one of the best scenes of any war movie I’ve ever seen.

In just a few minutes, a young woman and a song undoes, for a few minutes at least, what years of government propaganda had done. For a few minutes, these men were united by beauty instead of murder and by common decency instead of nationalism. For a few minutes, they don’t see a German standing before them, but their sweethearts, their wives, and their daughters. The faces of the old men are particularly haunting.

11:16 pm on October 22, 2009