CROSS OF IRON
DIRECTED BY SAM PECKINPAH
Photo with the courtesy of Gorch
DIRECTED BY SAM PECKINPAH
Photo with the courtesy of Gorch
Information From IMDb
In 1943, in the Russian front, the decorated leader Rolf Steiner is promoted to Sergeant after another successful mission. Meanwhile the upper-class and arrogant Prussian Captain Hauptmann Stransky is assigned as the new commander of his squad. After a bloody battle of Steiner's squad against the Russian troops led by the brave Lieutenant Meyer that dies in the combat, the coward Stransky claims that he led his squad against the Russian and requests to be awarded with the Iron of Cross to satisfy his personal ambition together with his aristocratic family. Stransky gives the names of Steiner and of the homosexual Lieutenant Triebig as witnesses of his accomplishment, but Steiner, who has problems with the chain of command in the army and with the arrogance of Stransky, refuses to participate in the fraud. When Colonel Brandt gives the order to leave the position in the front, Stransky does not retransmit the order to Steiner's squad, and they are left alone surrounded by the enemy and having to fight to survive.
Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
James Coburn ... Unteroffizier / Feldwebel Rolf Steiner
Maximilian Schell ... Hauptmann Stransky
James Mason ... Oberst Brandt
David Warner ... Hauptmann Kiesel
Klaus Löwitsch ... Unteroffizier Krüger
Vadim Glowna ... Gefreiter Kern
Roger Fritz ... Leutnant Triebig
Dieter Schidor ... Anselm
Burkhard Driest ... Schütze Maag
Fred Stillkrauth ... Gefreiter Schnurrbart ('Private Mustache') (as Fred Stillkraut)
Michael Nowka ... Dietz
Véronique Vendell ... Marga
Arthur Brauss ... Pg. Zoll
Senta Berger ... Eva
Sweeney MacArthur ... Boy soldier
Robert Rietty ... German Officer (voice)
Igor Galo ... Leutnant Meyer (uncredited)
Ivica Pajer ... (uncredited)
Nedim Prohic ... (uncredited)
Slavko Stimac ... Michail (uncredited)
Vladan Zivkovic ... (uncredited)
Wolf C. Hartwig .... producer
Arlene Sellers .... producer
Alex Winitsky .... producer
Lothar H. Krischer .... co-producer (uncredited)
(in alphabetical order)
Julius J. Epstein writer (as Julius Epstein)
James Hamilton writer
Willi Heinrich novel "The Willing Flesh"
Walter Kelley writer
The ending wasn't the original ending in the script. At the time the film had run out of money so Sam Peckinpah got James Coburn to improvise.
The lyrics to the famous 'Kinderlied' which is played over the montage at the beginning of the movie are, in German: Hänschen klein Geht allein In die weite Welt hinein. Stock und Hut Steht im gut, Ist gar wohlgemut. [first verse] Which, translated, means: Little John He has gone Out to see the world alone Staff and hat, Look at that, He's one happy cat. But his mommy cries a lot Now she has no Johnny got. "Fortune find, But you mind, Come back to your kind." Seven years, Joy and tears, John in many lands appears. Then he thought That he ought To go home and got - But now he's no Johnny small, No, he is now big John tall. Tall and tanned, Face and hand. Will they know this man? One, two, three Pass and see, Don't know who this man might be. Even Sis: "Who is this?" Knows not who he is. Then along comes mother dear, Barely sees his eyes so clear, Says: "My son, Welcome home, God bless you my son." [all verses]
Filmed in Yugoslavia with money put up by a West German porn producer.
Steiner carries a Russian PPSh-41 submachine gun originally chambered for 7.62x25 Tokarev, a round the Germans did not (officially) use. But the 41 was easily rebarrelled for 9 millimeter parabellum round, which the Germans did use, and the weapon was, in fact, adopted by the Germans as the MP717(r). While the drum magazine worked with 9mm ammo, the Russian curved stick magazine did not. If the Germans chose to use stick magazines with this gun, they had to modify the magazine housing to accept German issue MP38/40 magazines. However, doing this would prevent the use of the drum magazines. So Steiner's weapon, therefore, may be in the original caliber, or may have been rebarrelled for 9mm parabellum, but had not been modified for German stick magazines.
The pistol Stransky draws to shoot the teenage Russian prisoner at the first meeting with Steiner is a Model 1934 Beretta.
The German general who visits the hospital is dubbed by Robert Reitty.
Sgt. Steiner, as an officer at the hospital notes, "has been highly decorated." His awards: the Iron Cross 2nd Class, Iron Cross 1st Class (rarely awarded to enlisted men), the Silver Wound Badge (3 separate times wounded), the Infantry Assault Badge (combat in 3 separate battles) and the rare Gold Close Combat Bar.
According to Vadim Glowna, Sam Peckinpah emptied four whole Bottles of Whiskey or Wodka during every entire day of shooting while only sleeping approximately only 3 or 4 hours per Night.
This is the only ever war film that was directed by Sam Peckinpah.
This film's final closing coda is a quote from Bertolt Brecht: It states: "Don't 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."
* Factual errors: When Steiner and his men are waiting to cross the road, the Russian soldiers on the tanks are singing "Oy Kozaro", a Yugoslav fighting song, which Russian soldiers would not know. The Yugoslav extras probably didn't know any Russian songs and figured nobody would know the difference.
* Anachronisms: When the Russian woman bathing in the washtub stands up, bikini tan lines are visible.
* Factual errors: In an already described scene, where Russian soldiers are singing Yugoslav song "Oy Kozaro", there are some more mistakes. The Russian soldiers are all wearing regular Yugoslav People's Army uniforms from the mid '70s, the trucks are model TAM (made in Slovenia for YU army between 1960-75), the registration plates on the trucks are regular registration plates of YU Army.
* Factual errors: The Soviet planes that bomb the German trench system are actually U.S. Navy Vought F4U Corsairs. You can even see the U.S. military markings on them.
* Anachronisms: The Russian tanks used in this movie are T34s with the 85 mm gun which were not in production at the time of the movie. T34s with the 76 mm gun would be the right choice, but there were not many left and quite a few countries still had T34/85s when the movie was made, so the wrong tank was used.
* Factual errors: One of the members of Steiner's squad is wearing a captured Russian knit cap, complete with a Soviet red star/hammer and sickle badge on the front. Since the Nazi party and the German armed forces hated communism, the wearing of such an insignia by a German soldier would have been forbidden.
* Factual errors: During Sgt Steiner's hospitalization for wounds, he yells from the hospital balcony to a driver below, "Corporal, hold that truck!" However, the rank insignia on the driver's shoulder straps clearly indicates that he is a Senior Sergeant.
* Revealing mistakes: Although dozens of rifles, submachine guns, and machine guns are fired during the movie, in only one instance are spent cartridge cases shown to be ejecting during firing (this occurs near the end of the film, as Sgt Steiner is firing a captured Russian submachine gun at Lieutenant Treibig).
* Anachronisms: Many Russian infantrymen in the film are carrying Mosin-Nagant (M-N) M44 Carbines, some with extended bayonets. However, the M44 did not enter service until the year 1944, and the battle depicted in the movie took place in 1943. The standard Russian rifles during that year were the older M-N M1891/30 rifle and the M-N M38 carbine.
* Factual errors: In the scene where a dance party is held for the patients at the hospital, the visiting general's adjutant gives order to "bring meats and wines" on the buffet table "to the private room," supposedly to be consumed by the general and his entourage in privacy. However, such thing could never have happened in the German army of the second world war. Hitler had tried very hard to eradicate officer/enlisted man and class difference within the army, and any general attempting such thing would have been court-martialled.
* Factual errors: When Steiner brings in a Russian boy as prisoner-of-war, Stransky yells "There are standing orders not to take prisoners!" In reality, there were no such standing orders in the German Army. Hitler's so-called "Commissar Order" prohibited taking of commissars as prisoners only, not ordinary Russian soldiers, even though the treatment of Russian prisoners thus taken was horrible.
* Factual errors: Oberst Brandt is wearing the Krim shield on his right arm. It is worn on the left arm only.
* Continuity: The way Kiesel holds his glass changes (early in movie).
Trieste, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
Trieste, Yugoslavia (near)
Zagreb, Croatia (near)
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