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Cross of Iron (1977)

R | | Drama, War | 20 May 1977 (USA)
Trailer
3:44 | Trailer
German commander Captain Hauptmann Stransky (Maximilian Schell) places a squad in extreme danger after Sergeant Rolf Steiner (James Coburn) 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 ... Gefreiter (Pvt.) Kern
Roger Fritz Roger Fritz ... Leutnant (Lt.) Triebig
Dieter Schidor Dieter Schidor ... Anselm
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, on the Russian front, decorated leader Rolf Steiner (James Coburn) is promoted to Sergeant after another successful mission. Meanwhile, upper-class and arrogant Prussian Captain Hauptmann Stransky (Maximilian Schell) 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 (Igor Galo), who dies in 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 (Roger Fritz) 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 (James Mason) gives the order to leave the position in the front, Stransky does not retransmit the order ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

On the Eastern Front in 1943 the German soldiers no longer had any ideals. They were not fighting for the stinking Party - but for their stinking lives! 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:

20 May 1977 (USA) 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

Sergeant Rolf Steiner (James Coburn), as an officer at the hospital notes, "has been highly decorated." His awards: the Iron Cross 2nd Class, Iron Cross 1st Class, the Silver Wound Badge (three separate times wounded), the Infantry Assault Badge (combat in three separate battles) and the rare Gold Close Combat Bar. See more »

Goofs

In an already described scene, where Russian soldiers are singing Yugoslav song "Oy Kozaro", there are some more mistakes. The Russian soldiers are all wearing regular Yugoslav People's Army uniforms from the mid '70s, the trucks are model TAM (made in Slovenia for YU army between 1960-75), the registration plates on the trucks are regular registration plates of YU Army. See more »

Quotes

Sargeant Steiner: Didn't your Fuhrer say that all class distinctions were to be abolished?
Captain Stransky: I'm an officer of the Wehrmacht .I've never been a party member.I'm a Prussian aristocrat and I don't want to be put into the same category.
Sargeant Steiner: So we agree for once ,good.
Captain Stransky: But he is till our Fuhrer
Sargeant Steiner: Unfortunately .
Captain Stransky: This is a different question sergeant.That's not up to us to judge.
Sargeant Steiner: Why do you want it so badly? It's just a worthless piece of metal.Look!
Captain Stransky: It's not worthless to me.
Sargeant Steiner: Why is it so important to you.Tell me captain,why...
Captain Stransky:
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the End Credits in the North American BETA/VHS & DVD versions of the movie "Cross of Iron"(1977), there is the following quote: "Don't rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world stood up and stopped the bastard, The bitch that bore him is in heat again." Bertolt Brecht 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 100 Greatest War Films (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh, Du wunderschöner Westerwald
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

Astounding!
2 December 2002 | by barnabyrudgeSee all my reviews

Cross of Iron is probably the second best film made by Sam Peckinpah, rivalled only by The Wild Bunch. It is a war film shich follows a unit of German soldiers as they escape from the front line as the Russians smash through their ranks. This was perhaps the most devastating line to be fighting on during World War Two, and as expected there is a lot of death and gore, not to mention filth, sweat and treachery.

James Coburn plays a German soldier with an almost God-like air of invincibility about him. He is not a comic book creation, but a hardened soldier who terrifies everybody, including his commanding officers. Max Schell plays a commanding officer who wants an Iron Cross, despite the fact that he a coward, and will go to the most treacherous lengths to get it.

This is an upsetting and unflinching film. It pre-dates Saving Private Ryan by two decades, yet is just as detailed and frightening, just as bloody, and maybe even better.

Anyone yet to see Cross of Iron must do so as soon as possible. It is one of the great war films, and an unforgettably chilling experience.


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