Cross of Iron (1977)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  8 March 1977 (UK)
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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 ... See full summary »



(screenplay) (as Julius Epstein) , (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Unteroffizier Feldwebel (S / Sgt.) Rolf Steiner
Hauptmann (Capt.) Stransky
Oberst (Col.) Brandt
Hauptmann (Capt.) Kiesel
Klaus Löwitsch ...
Vadim Glowna ...
Gefreiter (Pvt.) Kern
Roger Fritz ...
Leutnant (Lt.) Triebig
Dieter Schidor ...
Burkhard Driest ...
Schütze Maag
Fred Stillkrauth ...
Michael Nowka ...
Véronique Vendell ...
Marga (as Veronique Vendell)
Arthur Brauss ...


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, who dies in the combat, the coward Stransky claims that he led his squad against the Russian and requests to be awarded with the Iron Cross to satisfy his personal ambition together with that of 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 ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Men on the front lines of Hell. See more »


Drama | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

8 March 1977 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Croix de fer  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(archive footage)| (archive footage)| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A sequel called Breakthrough (1979) followed two years later. Only a couple of lesser known actors from the first movie chose to return for the sequel. The better known actors chose not to play their parts again here, so they were replaced by new actors. James Coburn originally intended to play Steiner in the sequel, but then changed his mind and was replaced by an even older Richard Burton. Every returning character save for Steiner himself had a much smaller role in the sequel. The budget was smaller as well and the movie was generally received poorly by fans and critics alike. See more »


Oberst Brandt is wearing the Krim shield on his right arm. It is worn on the left arm only. See more »


Captain Stransky: What of your platoon?
Sargeant Steiner: Two killed, one missing.
Captain Stransky: Two killed, how?
Sargeant Steiner: Bullets. Mortar fire, artillery, heavy salvos, bad luck, terminal syphilis, the usual things, Captain.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: RUSSIA THE TAMAN PENINSULA-1943 THE RETREAT See more »


Oh, Du wunderschöner Westerwald
See more »

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User Reviews

A Military Favourite
2 September 2004 | by (London) – See all my reviews

I can't add much to these reviews except to comment that I've found this film to be a great favourite among real soldiers. I once got to deliver the classic line to a Major and a Captain about hating all officers. Luckily(?) they knew I was quoting from the film!

I'm not bothered about the assortment of accents in the cast (that others have mentioned). It seems to me that if you believe in their situation and have immersed yourself in the film, as it was easy for me to do, then you don't even notice them after a while. I would argue that the cast (in terms of dialogue) in Private Ryan is far more of a problem, since these seem to be 1990s guys transported back to 1944 and are far too 'knowing'. Moreover, in Private Ryan I kept stepping back from the film feeling that I was simply being manipulated by the director. COI is far more chilling. I really liked (if that's the word) a scene where an artillery explosion killed both Germans and Soviets. Kind of emphasises the 'war is hell' message without preaching or being manipulative.

I think Steiner is one of the greatest military characters ever to appear on film (for what its worth, Gregory Peck as Savage in Twelve O'Clock High, and Jeff Daniels as Chamberlain in Gettysburg are also up there). I must say I didn't really like the ending, but I can't suggest a better one, but as an alternate "ending" I would certainly recommend that people *do not* see the awful sequel 'Sergeant Steiner' with Richard Burton(!) as Steiner.

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