WWII, 1943, the Russian front. An arrogant aristocratic Prussian Officer named Stransky (Maximilian Schell) is assigned as the new commander of a German platoon, his only ambition is to win the Iron Cross, in order to maintain his family honour. When Stransky falsely claims credit for bravely leading the squad into a bloody battle against the Russians, he names gutsy Sergeant Rolf Steiner (James Coburn) as his witness. When Steiner refuses to be complicit, a battle of wills between the two men from very different backgrounds ensures. Then Stransky purposefully fails to relay an order to the squad to fall back from their position, leaving them surrounded by Russian troops and suffering heavy bombardment. Knowing that defeat is inevitable their only goal is survival….
Heralded as the most anti-war war film ever made, Cross of Iron is a bloody and thought-provoking depiction of the horrors of war. As writer and director of this and other such provocative classics as The Wild Bunch and Straw Dogs, Sam Peckinpah has served as an inspiration for everyone from Tarantino to Kathryn Bigelow.
Based On The Novel By Willi Heinrich
A brand new restoration from a 2k digital scan