Cross of Iron (1977)
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as Unteroffizier Feldwebel (S / Sgt.) Rolf Steiner
as Hauptmann (Capt.) Stransky
as Oberst (Col.) Brandt
as Hauptmann (Capt.) Kiesel
as Unteroffizier (Cpl.) Krüger
as Leutnant (Lt.) Triebig
as Sister Eva
Critic Reviews for Cross of Iron
Mr. Peckinpah's least interesting, least personal film in years, a hysterically elaborate, made-in-Yugoslavia war spectacle, the work of international financiers and a multinational cast.
War is hell, but for Peckinpah it's also the sadist's Olympian joke
Its complex and vivid portrayal of the absurdity of war, however, prompted none other than Orson Welles to write Peckinpah and proclaim it the finest antiwar film he had ever seen.
Audience Reviews for Cross of Iron
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
With this film, the legendary master of violent action Sam Peckinpah made his only (strict) war film. The story takes place along the Eastern Front of World War II in 1943, and follows a hardened, weary corporal (later sargeant) named Steiner who, besides battling Russian forces, gets into a battle of wills with Capt. Stransky- a member of the Prussian aristocracy who vows to win the coveted Iron Cross (the highest medal one in the Germany army can win)at all costs. So yeah, besides being a big war film, this deals with class conflict, cultural issues, and has typical Peckinpah themes such as masculinity, honor, and the corrupting influence of violence. It's some good stuff. The film had a pretty low budget, and the shoot was troubled, but all in all, this is a pretty decent and satisfying film. It is pretty obvious that the film's creating was plagued by torubles and limitations, especially in the end where it just seems really rushed, sloppy, and tacked on. I do dig the ending, but I can't help but imagine what the real end result could have been like had the film had a bigger budget. The casting is quite nice, with James Coburn (doing his best Lee Marvin) in the lead as Steiner, and Maximilian Schnell as the well to do Stransky. James Mason and David Warner also show up and do some stuff, although their story doesn't really go anywhere. Still though, everyone does a pretty decent job. The real highlight are the fantastic battle sequences. This should be a given since Peckinpah helmed it, but, even though he's topped what's in here by a great amount in his otehr works, the action is gritty, raw, and has everything you'd expect fromhim. I especially loved the neat silent scenes that show up once in a while . All in all, this is a pretty fine war film. It's somewhat messy and maybe slightly draggy, but it's entertaining, and gives you exactly the sort of gritty, bitter, and angry depiction of vioence and combat that Peckinpah is famous for.
Have you ever noticed how often war films (including anti-war films) center around incompetent officers? Paths of Glory, 'Breaker' Morant, Gallipoli, etc., etc., etc... Even films that don't revolve around impotent leadership generally feature it in one or more supporting characters. After viewing at least 200 genre pictures and serving eight years in the military myself I have subscribed to the hypothesis that most commissioned officers, and some enlisted men, are continuously promoted until they reach the point where the responsibilities exceed their capabilities. Cross of Iron is Peckinpah's interesting version of said circumstance, enhanced by James Coburn's inspired performance. Four stars.
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