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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

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

 
The war movie no one wants to release ......
9 October 2006 | by rotweilerSee all my reviews

Svel Hassle has written a lot of books about his war experiences as a Dane in the German Army in WWII. Most of these fictional accounts but based on real-life events), the books have been widely released in Europe, but from time to time are available in North America as well (Corgi Press).

This is the one and only movie made from one of his books, a shame really, since Swen Hassle portrays way in a most realistic manner; neither making light of what is happening, not glorifying war, but emphasizing the "Kameradschaft" - the effects of the war's events on Swen and his friends.

The movie unfortunately has some flaws that keep it from being really great. Foremost of these is the casting of David Carradine as a German officer. Too bad, since his performance in this film is sub-par at best.

The casting of Bruce Davison as Porta is a great choice, and he really shines in this movie, and along with David Patrick Kelly (as "The Legionnaire") gives realistic performances.

One of the major reasons this movie didn't receive wider distribution was protests from a number of groups who thought the movie - although they probably had not seen it - glorified the Nazi regime. It doesn't - it portrays war as brutal (on all sides), with no leaders to rely on, rather only one's fellow soldiers to depend on for your life.

A side-note - Swen Hassle is still alive (at this writing) and until relatively recently, has still been writing (although not writing fiction any more). Two of the three major characters in his books (Tiny, Porta and the Legionnaire) survived the war as well.


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