Cross of Iron (1977) - Plot Summary Poster


Plot Summary

  • 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 enemy and have to fight to survive.

    - Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 1943. Stalingrad has fallen and The German Army is being pushed back on the Eastern Front. Nowhere is the situation more dire for the Germans than at the Kuban Bridgehead / Taman Peninsula. Here we see the war through the eyes of a platoon of German reconnaissance troops. Their senior NCO is a grizzled, resourceful veteran, Corporal Steiner (played by James Coburn). He is unconventional, insubordinate and irreverent, but the regiment's commander, Colonel Brandt (James Mason), tolerates this as he gets results. However, his company has a new commanding officer, the inexperienced Captain Stransky (Maximilian Schell). Stransky is a by-the-book, authoritarian aristocrat and him and Steiner are bound to clash. Moreover, Stransky is obsessed with winning the Iron Cross.

    - Written by grantss
  • A squad of German soldiers fighting on the Eastern Front during WWII led by a battle-hardened sergeant fight to survive Soviet attacks and dogmatic commanders in a chaotic and lethal environment in this sympathetic portrayal of another side of the war not commonly portrayed in Hollywood film.

    - Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>
  • The film opens with a squad of seasoned German soldiers, led by a disillusioned but skilled sergeant, on a patrol on the Russian front in WWII. They return to base to find a new commander, a traditional Prussian officer who wants only one thing from his command - An Iron Cross to maintain his family honor. The scene is set for a graphic portrayal of the horrors of war and of the conflict between two men of differing backgrounds.

    - Written by Michael Lawn <mlawn@attmail.com>
  • A German commander places a squad in extreme danger after its Sergeant refuses to lie for him.

    - Written by softsofa


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