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.
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This is one of the best war films of all time, showing the true horrors of war. With a stellar performance from James Coburn this is Peckinpah's last great film that did to war films what The Wild Bunch did for westerns.
Somewhat dishevelled, but "Cross Of Iron" grows in my estimation every time I watch it. Peckinpah's final cry of resistance against the authoritarian rhetoric of any system, be it the Wild West of his masterful Westerns, or here the bluster of the Nazi system, where the wonderful James Coburn (fucking badass) pulls his own "Wild Bunch" finale against those that betrayed him and his platoon.
Who would've thought that bloody Sam could be so deeply humanistic? One of my favourite anti-war films. The editing alone makes it worth seeing - Peckinpah's sudden change of rhythm and unexpected cuts somehow make viewing both disorienting and dramatic.
Certainly not a perfect film, but recommended viewing for those who want to claim to be well-versed in Peckinpah. What could've been just a generic war film delves into moral dilemma, class/rank conflict and occasionally psychodrama via James Coburn's Steiner character (particularly his whole time at the hospital). Even sexual politics, particularly when Steiner and his men encounter the platoon of Russian women.
Deserves a good score for originality and success in depicting the madness and pointlessness of war, both directly and allegorically. Regrettably, and is spite of technically clean and well though photography, the film lacks a catching flow. Maybe it is another representation of war, but for someone convinced of its horror and pointlessness already this makes for an unsurprising and somehow long watch
Seems more real than any movie made in the last 20 years, and I couldn't figure out why. Then I discovered they used real weapons from the war, and of course, the conflicts in the film are quite visible in the world, so I guess it all added up to a masterpiece war movie with some anarchy and insanity, best things avaiable in the cinema.