Film Reviews, Short Review

Cross of Iron (1977)


Anarchistic, nihilistic, and misanthropic, a macho, chest-beating war film Cross of Iron is not. That’s unsurprising considering it’s one of the few WWII films to focus on the German side, and whilst you could arguably make a case that the film does ignore important aspects of the war on the Eastern Front, such as its sheer brutality and of course the decimation of Jewish and minority populations, I sense that such matters were not Sam Peckinpah’s concern in directing this film. Rather, his aim is focused squarely on the sheer pointlessness of military rank, order, and authority, and dear me, is his aim accurate and true. Behind the sheer bloodiness within the film (unsurprising for a Peckinpah picture) lies one of the great director’s most psychologically deep works, but it is a work that could not be complete without the strength given to it by its superb cast; James Coburn in particular gives his role far more depth than just your average “tough guy”.


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