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Cross Of Iron (Digitally Restored) [DVD] [1977]

4.5 out of 5 stars 157 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: James Coburn, James Mason
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 12 Sept. 2011
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005GJTKU6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,527 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Based on the novel by Will Heinrich, Sam Pekinpah’s (The Wild Bunch) only war film is an intense and uncompromising affair that brilliantly reflects both the futility of conflict and the director’s fascination with individuals confronted by events beyond their control.

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.

Special Features:

  • Cast and Crew Interviews
  • Sam Peckinpah's War: documentary by Mike Siegel, featuring James Coburn, Senta Berger, David Warner, Vadim Glowna, Roger Fritz, Katy Haber & Sam Peckinpah

From Amazon.co.uk

In Cross of Iron Sam Peckinpah weighs in on World War II from the German point of view. The result is as bleak, if not quite as bloody, as one expects from the director of The Wild Bunch, in part because this 1977 film was cut to ribbons by nervous studio executives. The assorted excerpts that remain don't constitute an exhilarating or even an especially thrilling battle epic. The war is grinding to a close, and veterans like James Coburn's Steiner are grimly aware that it's a lost cause. The battlefield is a death trap of sucking mud and barbed wire, and the German generals (viz., the martinet played by James Mason) seem to pose a bigger threat to the life and limbs of Steiner's men than the inexorable enemy. Not even Peckinpah's famous sensuous exuberance when shooting violence is much in evidence; the picture is a depressive, claustrophobically overcast experience. The bloody high (or low) point isn't a shooting; it's a wince-inducing de-penis-tration during oral sex. For a fun time with the men in (Nazi) uniform, try Das Boot instead. --David Chute, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Right from the start, this film grabs you by the lapels and forces you to watch - the titles appear over stills of Hitler Youth errecting a Swastika flag, German soldiers suffering in the Russian winter, partisans being executed... all to the tune of a children's rhyme, interspersed with a military marching tune. An unrelenting artillary bombardment ensues, amidst the mud of Russia, where the Wehrmacht are being forced back. Steiner (Coburn) is the battle-weary veteran corporal, trying to keep himself and his squad of men alive, and at odds with his superior officers, particularly the newly-arrived Prussian aristocrat, Captain Stransky (Schell). The attention to detail will delight afficianados of the war - real T34 tanks, Germans preferring captured Russian weapons rather than their own - and the impending sense of doom as the story approaches it's bloody climax - well, this IS a Peckinpah film, after all!
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Sam Peckinpah's only war movie, and his interpretation of war itself. The body count in his movies were so high he hardly needed the excuse to commence death in a WWII epic. But we're all glad he did, praised by Orson Welles as "Greatest war film I ever saw". Coburn (who plays the part of Corporal Steiner) is a seasoned combat veteran, and is sick of war in the eastern front and of the arrogance of his commanding officer (played by Maximilian Schell) who can't see past his own need to win the coveted Iron Cross. A bittersweet drama portraying the true gritty realism of war along the eastern front (not unlike Das Boot). This is a typical Peckinpah movie: slow motion death sequences of enemies/allies being shot or blown to hell and scenes of sexual violence. Although I thought the ending was a little abrupt - Coburn and Schell taking on the might of the advancing Russian troops just as the movie comes to a close. All-in-all a fantastic war movie not just for Peckinpah fans but all movie lovers alike.
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By S J Buck TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 7 April 2007
Format: DVD
Cross of Iron is still, nearly 30 years later one of the great (anti) war movies. Its 1943 and the Germans are being overrun on the Russian front. Peckingpah's trademark slow motion is used to good effect in the battle scenes. Yes this being Peckinpah the battle scenes are very well done.

The cast give marvellous performances:

Maximilian Schell as Captain Stranszky perhaps steals the acting honours as a cowardly Prussian seeking the Iron Cross.

Coburn pushes him close as the officer hating Steiner.

In a supporting role an ageing James Mason gives a seemingly effortless demonstration of how doing very little can amount to a superb performance.

There are occasional lighter moments, but mostly this film is relentlessly grim. Even if you don't see their deaths, you know that all the characters will die.

Strangly though this is a film I want to watch again (and look forward to watching). This is because the main characters are so well drawn (and acted) and as I said above you don't see them all die.

In a typically perverse move Peckinpah ends the film on a moment of black comedy relating to Stranszky's incompetence; Steiner can't stop laughing. A great film.
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Firstly ignore the Amazon.co.uk reviewer who appears to have been watching something else (Max Schell not James Mason played the Iron Cross seeking officer) and ends by telling us to go and watch something else,this film as already stated by others is one of the best. A classic right up there with the finest.
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Given the scale and actual chain of events in World War 2 on the Eastern Front, it was fresh to finally see a movie shot from the German army's point of view. Peckinpah's bleak vision of a doomed army awaiting defeat and retribution at the hands of a wronged and now furiously powerful enemy come late 1943 has to be one of the finest (anti) war movies I have ever seen. It is interesting to see how cleverly Peckinpah uses in the opening sequence the rousing, patriotic but chilling montage of german nursery rhyme, Nazi propaganda, ( capturing the prevalent mood of the german nation at the time, that their army was invincible ) followed by combat newsreel showing the disaster for the sixth army at Stalingrad and then the hint of the onset of likely defeat for the Thousand Year Reich that at this stage is only ten years old. Peckinpah has clearly researched his subject well, and gives us a bitter taste of the horror, widespread brutality, and downright insanity that thoroughly characterized the nature of Germany's final blitzkrieg in Europe in the greatest racial conflict in all military history.
Central to the plot are the two main characters, the well-bred but combat inexperienced Prussian military aristocrat Stransky ( played well by Max Schell ) a fellow with an invincibilty complex still believing in the unassailable superioty of the german soldier. He represents what would have been a high percentage of the officer corp in the Wehrmacht throughout World War 2. He feels he cannot return to Germany without the Iron Cross, which he intends to get by fair means or foul.
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