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A World War II tale told from the German perspective, Cross Of Iron follows a platoon of German soldiers in Russia when the German Wehrmacht forces had been decimated and the Germans were retreating along the Russian front. Rolf Steiner (James Coburn) is a German corporal and recipient of the Iron Cross who has grown disenchanted with Hitler’s war machine. When Captain Stransky (Maximillian Schell) assumes charge, the pair are thrown into immediate conflict, the autocratic but ultimately cowardly Stransky coveting the loyalty and honour Steiner commands.
Evocatively shot by John Coquillon (Billy the Kid) in sombre tones to emphasise the horrors of combat, the superlative lead performances are matched by David Warner and James Mason as war-weary senior officers. Viewed as one of Peckinpah’s most powerful works, it’s an unflinching vision of the Second World War.
Sound: Dolby Digital
Running Time: 127 minutes
Production Year: 1977
Main Language: English