Cross of Iron


Cross of Iron

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 15


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,535
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Cross of Iron Photos

Movie Info

A quote from Bertolt Brecht ends this bitter and angry war film by Sam Peckinpah: "Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again." Peckinpah's intense and belligerently non-commercial work, (based on the book by Willi Heinrich), is a World War II tale told from the German perspective, following a platoon of German soldiers in the Russia of 1943, when the German Wehrmacht forces had been decimated and the Germans were retreating along the Russian front. James Coburn is Steiner, a German corporal and recipient of the Iron Cross who feels that he owes his loyalty to his family and fellow soldiers and not to Hitler and the German war machine. But when a new commander, Captain Stransky (Maximillian Schell), takes over the platoon, Steiner and Stransky come into immediate conflict. Stransky is a career soldier, the complete opposite of Steiner, and a man who pledges himself heart and soul to Hitler and the war. But he envies Steiner for having been awarded an Iron Cross and deeply desires one himself. The problem is Stransky is a complete coward and recognizes that the only way he can be awarded an Iron Cross would be to get the bitter Steiner on his side.

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James Coburn
as Unteroffizier Feldwebel (S / Sgt.) Rolf Steiner
Maximilian Schell
as Hauptmann (Capt.) Stransky
James Mason
as Oberst (Col.) Brandt
David Warner
as Hauptmann (Capt.) Kiesel
Klaus Lowitsch
as Unteroffizier (Cpl.) Krüger
Roger Fritz
as Leutnant (Lt.) Triebig
Senta Berger
as Sister Eva
Fred Stillkrauth
as Schnurrbart
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Critic Reviews for Cross of Iron

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (1)

Audience Reviews for Cross of Iron

  • Sep 19, 2012
    A very good movie about a women seeking revenge for the death of her husband when she see's the man responsible for his death and her daughters death back on the streets. A thriller and drama with many twist and turns. 4 stars 7-3-12If your a World War 2 film lover don't miss this one. A very good film showing the German side of the war and to my surprise James Coburn plays lead as a German enlisted man who gets the job done. A Clint Eastwood role for sure, Some very good actual film footage in this one. 4 stars. 7-7-12
    Bruce B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 24, 2011
    Not one of Sam Peckinpah's best films - it's oddly structured, features some less than great performances and is very brash. Nevertheless, it has a very strong anti-war message.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • Apr 29, 2009
    Peckinpah is a nut. The thing about him is that he can orchestrate one hell of an action sequence. The war sequences in this film are fantastic and some of the most realistic I have seen in recent memory. The brutality of war and what it does not only to the body, but also to the mind are explored really well here. James Coburn gives a great performance, but there are moments that are a little over the top even for a war movie. I understand the controversy of it considering it is told from the point of view of the Nazi's and I am surprised this film hasn't been locked in a vault somewhere in this day and age, but it's a pretty straight forward war movie all the same. There are some strange moments that took me out of the film and I really didn't understand them (the ending is just plain weird). At the end of the day, the cast and the war scenes really save this movie because otherwise it's all over the place. Another Sam Peckinpah trademark.
    Tim S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 27, 2009
    It really isn't surprising that Peckinpah decided to direct a war film after films like Ride the High Country (1962), The Wild Bunch (1969) and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974). His kickass violent and aggressive style had already been established and it would perfectly work on a WWII film... or at least that is what we would think. I have mixed feelings about this film. First of all, the direction and image quality/cinematography are totally different from the ones we were used to with his previous violent gems. It looks more like a foreign film. Although I find that attractive, it is brutally contrasted with the opening sequence which consists basically in historical footage and photographs. I really loved the way the film was introduced and certainly it was very promising, but after two hours of film I was sort of dissapointed thanks specifically to the way the initial credits were presented. However, he uses the same techniques and style we know talking about the action it contains, such as frequent slow-motion explosion shots and bloody overkillings. The plot was very decent and interesting and so was the setting, but the leading actors could've been a bit better. So bottom line is, Sam Peckinpah tried fairly good enough with a different genre and he succeeded overall. Very cool WWII film not to be missed. 84/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer

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