President Harry Truman had the perfect response to being called "Give 'Em Hell Harry" - "I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell." In Paths of Glory, Stanley Kubrick takes that same approach, and a superb anti-war drama is the end result.
The film opens in France in 1916, and we're introduced us to generals Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) and Mireau (George Macready). Broulard wants "The Anthill," a strongly defended section of the German lines, to be taken. Mireau doesn't believe it can be done and will only waste the lives of French soldiers. However, Broulard tempts Mireau with the offer of promotion and bragging rights, and that's all it takes to make Mireau change his tune. When Mireau arrives at the trenches to give the orders, Regimental Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) objects to the mission (ironically using the same argument Mireau made), but Mireau brusquely ignores him.