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The Big Parade is a 1925 silent film directed by King Vidor.
The story follows Jim Apperson, an idle rich boy who joins the US Army's Rainbow Division and is sent to France to fight in World War I, becomes friends with two working class men, experiences the horrors of trench warfare, and finds love with a French girl.
The movie was considered ground breaking for removing the propaganda and glorification of war present in other wars, especially those representing World War I being produced at the time. It won the Photoplay Medal of Honor Award (a precursor to the Oscars) in 1925, and is believed to be the highest-grossing film of the 1920s. In 1992 The Big Parade was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Tropes associated with this work:
- An Arm and a Leg
- Earn Your Happy Ending: They sure do.
- Everyone Looks Sexier If French: Though rather mild.
- Executive Meddling: MGM bosses forced Vidor to tone down what was an even more overtly anti-war film.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The intertitles contain a peculiar variant of lyrics for "You're in the Army Now":
You're in the army now,
You're not behind a plow;
You'll never get rich,
You're in the army now!
- Good Looking Privates: John Gilbert, 1920s heartthrob, stars as Jim.
- Insignia Rip Off Ritual: Jim's buddy loses his stripes.
- Mood Whiplash: Light romantic comedy and soldier hijinx turns to a grim, harrowing battle sequence.
- Outdoor Bath Peeping: Gender-reversed.
- Patriotic Fervor: A parade at the beginning inspires Jim to sign up. It's not The Big Parade, though...
- Plunder: Jim's buddies raid a wine cellar.
- Precision F-Strike: "They got him! They got him! GOD DAMN THEIR SOULS!" Quite daring for 1925.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: The guy screaming in delirium in the hospital.
- Stranger in a Familiar Land: Jim when he comes home.
- Title Drop
- Train Station Goodbye: Or rather, a troop transport goodbye, but the dynamic is the same.
- Upperclass Twit: Jim, pre-war.
- War Is Hell: Considered to be one of the depiction of this at the time; making it groundbreaking.
- World War One