Cross of Iron more than anything else affirms director Sam Peckinpah's prowess as an action filmmaker of graphic mayhem.

Cross of Iron more than anything else affirms director Sam Peckinpah’s prowess as an action filmmaker of graphic mayhem.

Told from the German viewpoint as the Wehrmacht’s cream were being clobbered on the Russian front circa 1943, the production [from the book by Willi Heinrich] is well but conventionally cast, technically impressive, but ultimately violence-fixated.

The film efficiently employs James Coburn, Maximilian Schell, James Mason and David Warner as frontline Germans. Coburn plays a platoon sergeant of style, ability and soul, contemptuous of the military and sick of the war.

Cross of Iron’s overwhelming image is not disillusion, even less war’s absurdity, but the war itself.

Cross of Iron

UK - W. Germany

Production

EMI/Rapid/Terra. Director Sam Peckinpah; Producer Wolf C. Hartwig; Screenplay Julius J. Epstein, Herbert Asmodi; Camera John Coquillon; Editor Tony Lawson, Mike Ellis, Herbert Taschner; Music Ernest Gold;; Art Director Ted Haworth, Brian Ackland Snow

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1977. Running time: 130 MIN.

With

James Coburn Maximilian Schell James Mason David Warner Klaus Lowitsch Roger Fritz
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more