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Breakthrough (1979)

Steiner - Das Eiserne Kreuz, 2. Teil (original title)
PG | | Drama, War | February 1979 (Austria)
In 1944 a German sergeant gets involved in an anti-Hitler conspiracy, and saves the life of an American colonel.


Andrew V. McLaglen


Peter Berneis (screenplay), Tony Williamson (screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Burton ... Sgt. Rolf Steiner
Rod Steiger ... Gen. Webster
Helmut Griem ... Maj. von Stransky
Klaus Löwitsch ... Uffz. Krüger
Michael Parks ... Sgt. Anderson
Werner Pochath ... Schütze Keppel
Véronique Vendell ... Yvette (as Veronique Vendell)
Horst Janson ... Capt. Berger
Joachim Hansen ... Capt. Kistner
Walter Ullrich Walter Ullrich ... Schütze Hauser
Dieter Schidor Dieter Schidor ... Cpl. Paul Anselm
Bruno Dietrich ... Schütze Nissen
Sonja Jeannine Sonja Jeannine ... Jeanette
Günter Clemens Günter Clemens ... Cpl. Dorfmann
Michael Büttner Michael Büttner ... Schütze Junghans (as Wolfgang Büttner)


In 1944 German sergeant Rolf Steiner is on the Russian Front where out of frustration he hits an officer. Steiner is sent on leave to Paris to avoid further incidents. In Paris news of the Allied Invasion of Normandy arrive and Steiner meets up with his unit there being recently transferred from Russia. Steiner finds out that his old company commander from the Russian Front, Major Von Stransky, is his new commander. Steiner and Von Stransky hate one another. The German general in charge of the area is General Hofmann who's a member of the conspiracy to kill Hitler. Hofmann hopes to surrender his troops to the Americans. He reveals his plans to Sergeant Steiner and asks Steiner to meet the Americans to negotiate a possible surrender if Hitler is eliminated. When the plot to kill Hitler fails, the surrender plan is in jeopardy. Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Burton...Mitchum...Steiger...Enemies...Yet Allies In Combat With Destiny!


Drama | War


PG | See all certifications »



West Germany


German | English | French

Release Date:

February 1979 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Breakthrough See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Robert Mitchum recalled that Richard Burton was drinking very heavily during filming and sometimes had to be carried onto the set. See more »


Some German soldiers are seen carrying American M1 rifles, even at the Russian front scenes. See more »


Sgt. Rolf Steiner: NCOs cannot resign.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A longer German language version runs at 126 minutes, extra scenes includes:
  • An opening scene that starts at the railway station, Rolf Steiner and Paul Anselm meet again and discuss their current predicament. Captain Stransky appears out of the station building and sends Steiner and Anselm to check out a railway tunnel down the line. Steiner and Anselm meet up with Corporal Kruger before returning to the station. (8mins approx)
  • When Steiner returns to German lines, the scene where he meets his new platoon is longer and includes introductions to new comrades Rothe, Dorfmann and Keppel.
  • An extended scene between Yvette and Steiner at her apartment.
  • Steiner is mocked by an old woman as he leaves Yvette's apartment.
  • The two orphaned children Steiner looks at, at the end turn up earlier and throw rocks at Steiner.
  • The final battle is extended, there is more footage of the American GIs attacking the town, the American tanks cause greater damage to the town. Steiner shoots GIs whilst trying to defend the townspeople.
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Follows Cross of Iron (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

Rotten tat
3 August 2011 | by kdulaiSee all my reviews

Shoddy, shoestring budgeted alleged sequel to Peckinpah's "Cross of Iron" notable solely for the troika of superb actors who don't seem to care.

Burton as the war loathing Sgt.Steiner is simply too old. Dead-eyed and sunken cheeked, he growls a German accent that slips more readily than a stricken panzer retreating in the Russian winter. Steiger has barely three scenes but exhibits his customary late period bipolarism, roaring from rage to serenity in seconds with little in between. Mitchum is made of teak, reacting to the death of his only pal, the jeep driver, as if he had dropped a grocery receipt.

Every aspect of this accidental comedy is anaemic and threadbare; the implausible plot, emaciated script, jagged cutting and even the celluloid seems to have been dipped in coffee. Perhaps the creme de la cack is the score which seems to feature an orchestra of two.

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