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Cross of Iron (1977)

R | | Drama, War | 10 February 1977 (UK)
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A German commander places a squad in extreme danger after its Sergeant refuses to lie for him.

Director:

Sam Peckinpah

Writers:

Julius J. Epstein (screenplay) (as Julius Epstein), Walter Kelley (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Coburn ... Unteroffizier Feldwebel (S / Sgt.) Rolf Steiner
Maximilian Schell ... Hauptmann (Capt.) Stransky
James Mason ... Oberst (Col.) Brandt
David Warner ... Hauptmann (Capt.) Kiesel
Klaus Löwitsch ... Unteroffizier (Cpl.) Krüger
Vadim Glowna Vadim Glowna ... Gefreiter (Pvt.) Kern
Roger Fritz Roger Fritz ... Leutnant (Lt.) Triebig
Dieter Schidor Dieter Schidor ... Anselm
Burkhard Driest Burkhard Driest ... Schütze Maag
Fred Stillkrauth Fred Stillkrauth ... Unteroffizier (Cpl.) Schnurrbart ('Private Mustache') (as Fred Stillkraut)
Michael Nowka ... Dietz
Véronique Vendell ... Marga (as Veronique Vendell)
Arthur Brauss ... Zoll
Senta Berger ... Eva
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The Power of Peckinpah Has Never Been So Real...Or So Brilliant! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | West Germany

Language:

English | Russian | French | German

Release Date:

10 February 1977 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Sargeant Steiner See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color (archive footage)| Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Aldrich was attached to a "Cross of Iron" project in the 60's which was written by Lukas Heller, but it was set in a prison camp. See more »

Goofs

Although dozens of rifles, submachine guns, and machine guns are fired during the movie, in only one instance are spent cartridge cases shown to be ejecting during firing (this occurs near the end of the film, as Sgt Steiner is firing a captured Russian submachine gun at Lieutenant Treibig). See more »

Quotes

Sargeant Steiner: [Steiner releasing the Russian prisoner boy] It's all an accident... an accident of hands mine, others... all without mind... one extreme to another... and neither works... nor will ever! and we stand in the middle... in no mans land you and I... go home.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

A long out-of-print version released on VHS in 1982 on the Nostalgia Merchant label claims to be a 143 minutes version (the back cover says so). Unfortunately it is the common 132 minutes version. A 143 minutes version does not exist. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Scarlet Worm (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Im Feldquartier
(uncredited)
(German Military March)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Underrated Anti-War classic from Sam Peckinpah.
16 October 2004 | by Captain_CouthSee all my reviews

Cross of Iron (1977) was a low budget masterpiece from ace director Sam Peckinpah. After having a falling out from Hollywood, Peckinpah went to Europe to direct this W.W.II. anti-war film. The film centers around Sergent Steiner, a battle weary veteran who leads his company into battle everyday for the past three years. Unlike others his only concern is the survival of his men and the fact that he's a live to live another day. One day an officer of Prussian descent (Maximillian Schnell) decides to make his and everyone beneath him lives miserable. James Mason plays the battle hardened Colonel whilst David Warner co-stars as his cynical aide de camp.

Using the limited time and budget to it's fullest extent, Peckinpah created a very stylish and action packed film. The bullets fly, shells pound the earth and the blood flows. The editing is brilliant and the cinematography perfectly captures the action. The battles are very well staged and the acting is executed very well. James Coburn earned his stripes with this film. He's the man! Senta Berger a Peckinpah veteran from Major Dundee) has a small role as a German nurse who briefly becomes involved with Sergent Steiner. What I liked about this movie was the fact that Coburn, Warner and Mason didn't bother to use fake Teutonic accents.

If you're a viewer of war films or a Peckinpah fan, this has to be on top of your list. This is one hell of an action film. War will never look the same again after watching this film. Sadly the domestic D.V.D. release is not only expensive but of poor quality. Try and find and alternate way of watching this neglected masterpiece. I have to give this film a very high rating.

Highest recommendation possible.


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