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The Misfit Brigade (1987)

War story of the 27th Panzers, Hitler's heavy-duty combat regiment composed of prisoners. In 1943, this motley tank crew is sent on a suicide mission behind enemy lines to destroy a Soviet train that's carrying fuel for the Red Army.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Capt. Erich von Barring
...
Tiny
...
Old Man
...
The General
...
Branko Vidakovic ...
Cpl. Hugo Stege (as Branko Vidak)
...
Sven Hassel
Boris Komnenic ...
Bauer
Andreja Maricic ...
Müller
Klaus Pagh ...
Reinhardt
Anton Sosic ...
Freckles
Svetislav 'Bule' Goncic ...
Sgt. Siegfried (as Svetislav Goncic)
Gordana Bjelica ...
Russian officer
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Storyline

In 1943, the Nazi Germany is suffering heavy losses at the Eastern Front and an order for all-out retreat is eventually issued. The 27th Penal Panzer Regiment, consisting solely of people convicted of various real or political crimes ranging from incest to dissidence, has just returned from Stalingrad where German forces were decimated by the Soviets after a year-long bloody fight. They are a motley tank crew that consists of Sergeant Willie Beier (aka Old Man), a family man who fears for the safety of his wife and child if he disobeys the Nazis, Corporal Joseph Porta, the team's fixer and a self-proclaimed communist who always tries to keep his spirits up whether through gambling, drinking or simple tomfoolery, Corporal Hugo Stege, Porta's "partner in crime", young Sven Hassel, a character based on real Sven Hassel, the writer of the novel that the movie was based on, Wolfgang Creutzfeldt (aka Tiny), a dimwitted and often violent giant of a man and Bauer, a silent but friendly ...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tank | army | train | red army | german | See All (56) »

Taglines:

This group of last round draft picks ... wouldn't take orders ... didn't dress in uniform ... couldn't win a battle ! But they were the biggest bunch of lunatics ever to roll into war !

Genres:

Action | Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

22 February 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Wheels of Terror  »

Filming Locations:


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Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is based on Danish writer Sven Hassel's 1979 war novel Wheels of Terror. Hassel was actually part of the German Panzerkorp during the war and most of his novels are based on his experiences or stories he heard during the war, although some dispute the veracity of his work. He always puts himself in the novels, sometimes as a major participant and sometimes as a minor observer. The character of Sven Hassel also appears in this novel and is played in the movie adaptation by Slavko Stimac. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of the film, the German general (Oliver Reed) orders "Get some flak up." No German would say this. Although to the western allies "Flak" meant aerial shrapnel, to the Germans it meant the gun that fired the shrapnel. It is an acronym of FLiegeAbwehrKanone, which simply means anti-aircraft gun. See more »

Quotes

[walking along the bombed out street with her cat that the soldiers just saved out of the ruins of a house]
Catwoman: Damned soldiers! When are you going to stop your senseless war?
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Guilty Pleasure
1 September 2002 | by (Arizona) – See all my reviews

For almost two years I successfully resisted renting this movie. That resistance was certainly aided by the cheap looking case of the video, and the fact that director Gordon Hessler is known (if at all) in the US only for a trio of cheap, British, AIP horror flicks, "Scream and Scream Again" being marginally the most watchable of the lot. But the desire to see what Hessler and his mostly American TV actor cast would do with such material, and the need for relief from a recent diet of "serious" indie film viewing, pushed me over the edge to spend the whole one dollar rental fee. Obviously "the Misfit Brigade" is no masterpiece, but it was far better than I expected, and, as others have pointed out, occasionally rises to the level of pretty damn good. I loved, for instance, the sequence in which the misfits watch a Soviet propaganda film projected on a large screen across the front line. I don't know if this ever happened, and if it did, I doubt he films would have had the big studio production values of the one presented. The bordello sequence was also funny, and reminded me of the humor in some of the better Italian westerns. There was also the occasional visually striking shot. I particularly liked the long tracking shot that begins on a Russian peasant coming to a road, then follows a Russian military vehicle through the gates of a compound, then swoops up on a crane to the roof, where a German soldier is observing the vehicle. Then, in subtitled Russian, someone yells, "There's a Kraut on the roof," and we cut to a shot of the rest of the misfits (some distance away) as we here automatic weapons' fire on the soundtrack. This is damn good sequence. I've read in his mini biography here on Imdb, that Hessler worked for Hitchcock's TV unit at Universal before directing features. This long tracking shot is certainly similar to one of Hitch's, and even shares a bit of the master's dark humor. But, OK, this film is not art. It is somewhat choppy (at least in the U.S. video version), and the low budget shows in some of the action sequences. Still, it's a fun little movie if one can accept its limitations. Even David Carradine seems to be enjoying his minor role as an uptight German officer. Oliver Reed is not on screen very long as a pompous German general who arrives at the end of the film to decorate the misfit heros. I cannot agree that his attitude during the air raid which follows detracts from the film's "realism." This is all slapstick anyway, which accounts for the film's final cut, before some graphic violence would have betrayed it's lighthearted mood.


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