A suicide mission fueled by greed is the impetus behind the roundup of three soldiers for execution in one of Stanley Kubrick's earliest films, Paths of Glory. The young Kubrick set the bar incredibly high in his brutal, stark, black and white portrayal of World War I using Humphrey Cobb's 1935 antiwar novel of the same name as his guide. Kubrick exposes the cowardice and deceit rampant within military ranks during a time when the anxiety of war had men throwing their own into the fire -- and a time where there were no second chances. These misguided men with their loathsome military politics are at the helm of a mission which spotlights the unbearable injustice and corruption that all comes to a head in one defining moment.
A French army unit led by the avaricious General Mireau (George Macready) is ordered to do the impossible and things turn fatal after an unwilling Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) leads the attack, but a cowardly Lieutenant Roget holds his men back -- leaving the first line of soldiers floundering. A displeased General Mireau sentences three men to execution by firing squad: Corporal Paris (Ralph Meeker) -- whose commanding officer Lt. Roget has it out for him, the "social undesirable" Private Ferol (Timothy Carey) and Private Arnaud (Joe Turkel) who is chosen by lot and is actually one of the best soldiers the General has.