In 1943, in the Russian front, the decorated leader Rolf Steiner is promoted to Sergeant after another successful mission. Meanwhile the upper-class and arrogant Prussian Captain Hauptmann ... See full summary »
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In 1943, in the Russian front, the decorated leader Rolf Steiner is promoted to Sergeant after another successful mission. Meanwhile the upper-class and arrogant Prussian Captain Hauptmann Stransky is assigned as the new commander of his squad. After a bloody battle of Steiner's squad against the Russian troops led by the brave Lieutenant Meyer that dies in the combat, the coward Stransky claims that he led his squad against the Russian and requests to be awarded with the Iron of Cross to satisfy his personal ambition together with his aristocratic family. Stransky gives the names of Steiner and of the homosexual Lieutenant Triebig as witnesses of his accomplishment, but Steiner, who has problems with the chain of command in the army and with the arrogance of Stransky, refuses to participate in the fraud. When Colonel Brandt gives the order to leave the position in the front, Stransky does not retransmit the order to Steiner's squad, and they are left alone surrounded by the enemy and... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The lyrics to the famous 'Kinderlied' which is played over the montage at the beginning of the movie are, in German: Hänschen klein Geht allein In die weite Welt hinein. Stock und Hut Steht im gut, Ist gar wohlgemut. [first verse] Which, translated, means: Little John He has gone Out to see the world alone Staff and hat, Look at that, He's one happy cat. But his mommy cries a lot Now she has no Johnny got. "Fortune find, But you mind, Come back to your kind." Seven years, Joy and tears, John in many lands appears. Then he thought That he ought To go home and got - But now he's no Johnny small, No, he is now big John tall. Tall and tanned, Face and hand. Will they know this man? One, two, three Pass and see, Don't know who this man might be. Even Sis: "Who is this?" Knows not who he is. Then along comes mother dear, Barely sees his eyes so clear, Says: "My son, Welcome home, God bless you my son." [all verses] See more »
Many Russian infantrymen in the film are carrying Mosin-Nagant (M-N) M44 Carbines, some with extended bayonets. However, the M44 did not enter service until the year 1944, and the battle depicted in the movie took place in 1943. The standard Russian rifles during that year were the older M-N M1891/30 rifle and the M-N M38 carbine. See more »
They're rolling up both flanks, it's chaos.
That need no longer concern you. You are to report at once to general headquarters. You're being evacuated.
I can't leave the command, sir.
While I am still in a condition to issue orders those orders will be obeyed.
I'm prepared to disobey that order, sir.
You've been around Steiner too long. Come, listen to me for a moment... For many of us Germans the exterminator is long overdue, but I have decided that you are worth saving.
But I'm part of all ...
[...] See more »
Opening credits prologue: RUSSIA THE TAMAN PENINSULA-1943 THE RETREAT See more »
"Cross of Iron" was Sam Peckinpah's only war movie. It deals with a company of German soldiers retreating through Russia at the close of Hitler's ill-fated Russian campaign. Unusual for a war film, the story is told from the German point of view.
Being a Peckinpah film there are explosions and blood-spurting bodies a-plenty. The rough terrain and cramped quarters that the soldiers have to deal with lend well to the declining German fortunes in Russia. As in his other films, notably "The Wild Bunch", Peckinpah utilizes his now famous slow-motion technique to illustrate the violence and show the effects of the destruction.
James Coburn stars as the battle wise Sgt. Steiner who has survived the war thus far by his wits. Maximillian Schell plays his aristocratic Captain whose main goal is the pursuit of the Iron Cross, Germany's highest decoration and who will go to any lengths to get it. James Mason is the Company commander and David Warner is his adjutant.
Coburn is excellent in the lead who continues to do his duty in spite of the inevitability of impending defeat. Schell is suitably ambitious and cunning as the chief villain and Mason and Warner convey the hopelessness of the situation while maintaining stiff upper lips.
"Cross of Iron", in it's uncut version (132 minutes) ranks as one of the greatest of all WWII films in my opinion. One of Peckinpah's best.
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