All Quiet on the Western Front is an anti-war message film, unusual because it is told from the viewpoint of German soldiers fighting in World War I. The film has a stark, unrelenting look to its battleground sequences, and as such it represented an increased level of realism in Hollywood films. The film tends to look dated now, and the performances are sometimes very showy and theatrical. And, as can occur with message films, there is occasional descent into maudlin peachiness. However, at its best, All Quiet on the Western Front contains numerous striking and memorable moments -- none more so than the final scene of a doomed soldier's reaching for a butterfly.