In this movie we enter the lives of German schoolboys barely out of their teens. This movie is about young men who entered the war because they decide they should do their duty and defend there country. After all, they assumed, the war shouldn’t take so long and they’ll be coming back home fast. Paul Baumer is fascinated by the sabre being worked up by his professor and along with his congruous friends, Kantorek, Franz Kemmerich, Leer, Peter, Behm, Albert, Westus, Mueller and Deter.
They envisioned war to be something exciting, and the had positive attitudes toward the war which will soon disappear when they get into the boot camp The smiles and thoughts of glory will be erased from their faces at the first fatality they witness and, even then, they will deny it exists at all. Like cold, hard punches to the face, death will not be denied.
After the boot camp for the friends, they are sent to the front in the woods, they were thinking that they are on a fun ride but that changes when they get to the battle field. On the field Their largest complaint is that they are hungry and the food is never there on time but they soon learn that food comes when it is ready and not before that time.
They will make the connections of battle scarred and seasoned soldiers, Katczinsky and Tjaden, who look upon the new recruits as if they are garbage and soldiers who will do their best to get themselves killed because of their inexperience. Katczinsky eventually becomes a leader to his troops and it is under his wing that the recruits play out what is left of their lives.
Toward the end of the film Katczinsky had always said the war would not be over until they would kill him. Paul returns from leave, finds him looking for food in the forest for his men and returns back to camp carrying his friend who had been hit by a bomb dropped from a plane, but had initially suffered minor wounds. A second bomb explodes, but this time with deadly results. Katczinsky has been fatally injured.
Later, Paul is shown in the trenches with a rifle as his only companion while he watches other soldier’s drinking water and getting ready. Paul notices through his shot hole, a butterfly near a can a beautiful picture on a field of death. Against all reason, he attempts to touch the delicate peas of life and when he is unable to do this from a safe position behind the sandbags bordering the trench, he leans over the top and gets a bullet shot in to his head.