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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.

Director:

Gordon Hessler

Writers:

Sven Hassel (novel), Nelson Gidding (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce Davison ... Cpl. Joseph Porta
David Patrick Kelly ... The Legionnaire
D.W. Moffett ... Capt. Erich von Barring
Jay O. Sanders ... Tiny
Keith Szarabajka ... Old Man
Oliver Reed ... The General
David Carradine ... Col. Von Weisshagen
Branko Vidakovic Branko Vidakovic ... Cpl. Hugo Stege (as Branko Vidak)
Slavko Stimac ... Sven Hassel
Boris Komnenic Boris Komnenic ... Bauer
Andreja Maricic Andreja Maricic ... Müller
Klaus Pagh Klaus Pagh ... Reinhardt
Anton Sosic Anton Sosic ... Freckles
Svetislav 'Bule' Goncic Svetislav 'Bule' Goncic ... Sgt. Siegfried (as Svetislav Goncic)
Gordana Bjelica 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:

UK | Denmark

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 February 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Wheels of Terror See more »

Filming Locations:

Yugoslavia

Company Credits

Production Co:

Panorama Film A/S See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

The German tank destroyer often used by the main characters in this movie actually is a Soviet-made SU-122 self-propelled assault gun. [It is actually a Russian made SU-100 tank destroyer; the SU-122 had a short barrel 122mm that fired a High-Explosive (HE) round). 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

 
A trip down nostalgia lane
18 September 1999 | by CPolSee all my reviews

To tell the truth, I liked this movie. It's not great, it's not even good, but it's a very entertaining piece of budget movie history, and considering that I am surprised at how good it actually became.

Basically it is a classical Dirty Dozen/Guns of Navarone mixture. Group of misfits in German penal battalion goes on impossible mission, shot lots of ruskies, loose some good men and have some strange/amusing/other encounters. The acting isn't bad, in fact it's downright good in a few spots such as Tiny and The Legionaire but generally it's pretty mediocre. What makes this movie something more than B trash is the fact that it has some pretty likable characters and some pretty funny scenes.

For example; throughout the movie we are given propaganda bulletins on the German radio talking about the heroes of Bektovka, who are holding out against all odds far behind enemy lines. One is compelled to laugh at the absurdity when our heroes accidentally end up at Bektovka and discovered that the 'heroes' are living a quiet farm life together with the Russian defenders of the village.

Another fun thing, at least for me, was how equipment and uniforms change continuously throughout the movie. At one point even the German tanks (which look suspiciously like Russian JS3s) are transformed, into Russian T-55s.

Wheels of Terror gave me a feeling of watching an episode of the 60s WW2 series 'Combat' or the old Polish series 'Four Tankers and a Dog'. If you're looking for a good war movie see Peckinpah's 'The Iron Cross' or Stone's 'Platoon', but if you're looking for a trip down nostalgia lane Wheels of Terror is the movie for you.


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