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Cross of Iron (Widescreen Special Edition)

4.2 out of 5 stars 284 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Set in 1943, this explosive epic centers on Corporal Steiner, an accomplished but war-weary combat veteran leading a group of German soldiers on the Russian front. Steiner's authority comes under attack when Captain Stransky takes over command of his troops. A Prussian aristocrat, Stransky has one goal in mind: to win the coveted Iron Cross, germany's highest medal, at any cost. The two military aces soon face off in an intense and deadly battle of wills.

Special Features

  • Commentary by film scholar Stephen Prince, author of "Savage Cinema: Sam Peckinpah and the Rise of Ultraviolent Movies"
  • Photo Gallery of German Lobby Cards
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • New Widescreen 16:9 Anamorphic Transfer

Product Details

  • Actors: James Coburn, Maximilian Schell, James Mason, David Warner, Klaus Löwitsch
  • Directors: Sam Peckinpah
  • Writers: James Hamilton, Julius J. Epstein, Walter Kelley, Willi Heinrich
  • Producers: Alex Winitsky, Arlene Sellers, Lothar H. Krischer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Unknown), French (Unknown)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Henstooth Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 18, 2006
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (284 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E5N63Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,698 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cross of Iron (Widescreen Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Cannon on October 31, 2003
Format: DVD
Cross Of Iron is one war film that will take repeat viewings to truly absorb all the material. With that said, I won't elaborate on the film's strong points since they've already been mentioned by many before. And this DVD release from Hen's Tooth is not the one to view this film from. It is a shortened edited version and the transfer is Full-Frame, it doesn't even appear to be Pan & Scan...simply a dead shot down the middle of the film. The quality of this Hen's Tooth release is absolutely atrocious for the DVD format. It appears as though it's almost a VHS transfer, or a heavily worn film transfer at best. There are numerous scratches and dust artifacts, and the color saturation is very faded in many scenes. The sound on the DVD is equally terrible during the entire movie, it's very hard to understand much of the dialogue at times.
I've purchased bargain DVD's for $3 before that are 100% better in quality than this! Just by the sheer fact that the film is edited would have Peckinpah rolling in his grave. Hen's Tooth knows and have admitted that the transfer is horrible, yet they still charge $30 retail nearly 4 years after their DVD release?!?? There is no way that this disc is worth that much money. I would gladly pay the price if it was a Criterion edition, but not this poor edition.
If you have the technical capability I recommend ordering either the UK DVD or Japanese DVD of Cross Of Iron. It won't cost you much more (perhaps less) than this unworthy Region 1 DVD release. The imports both present the film in it's original anamorphic widescreen format, with vastly superior picture and sound. If you don't have the technical capability, then buy a VHS edition of Cross Of Iron.
5 stars for the film itself, 0 stars for the Hen's Tooth DVD...hence my 4 star rating.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Cross Of Iron is a masterpiece, one of the greatest anti-war, anti-authoritarian movies. It is one of director Sam Peckinpah's two finest works -- the other being The Wild Bunch. It deserves to be ranked in the same great war movie company as Apocalypse Now, Das Boot, Full Metal Jacket, Paths Of Glory, Saving Private Ryan, Seven Samurai, and Zulu. Its setting on the World War Two Eastern Front, its gruesomeness, and its risk-taking viewpoint on ugly combat from the German side, have tended to count against fair assessment of its considerable artistic achievements. Viewers wary of the morality of its German viewpoint and its explicitness might find that it is fundamentally about humanity in general as a victim of war. The film reflects on the humanity which may be found on all sides of conflict--including Russian humanity portrayed variously as relentless, innocent, brave, and feminine.

Cross Of Iron opens with an intense, chilling montage of children's song, propaganda vision, combat newsreel and atrocity. By the end of the main title this montage subtly introduces the central characters, a German reconnaissance unit patrolling on the 1943 Russian front.

This 1977 film set rarely matched standards of cinematic mayhem. Cross Of Iron explosions don't look merely like pretty fireballs -- they blast fragments, rocks and debris, leaving no doubt as to why blood gouts from stumps of limbs and shrapnel-shredded entrails... Amid the screams of wounded and dying, as dust subsides from a mortar barrage, an artillery piece shorn of its crew by a near hit swings across a pocked battlefield, its traversing wheel spinning under its own momentum. The carnage occurs in the choreographed slow motion which Peckinpah made his signature.
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Format: VHS Tape
Take it from someone who was an Army "grunt" for 12 years -- this movie was filmed as realistic as one could get without being on the battlefield, and during my time in service, Cross of Iron was one of the favorites of infantrymen and WWII buffs everywhere. Many wellknown (at least in Europe) German actors were featured in this film. It is one of the few movies I've seen that accurately depicts the spite and tension that exists between officers (seeking career advancement at the expense of their men) and enlisted men (just trying to survive). Having lived in Germany and conversed on many occasions with Wehrmacht veterans who were on the Russian front, I found Cross of Iron to be very close in detail to the conditions and experiences they described. A previous writer describes the movie's mood as depressing (not as much as Das Boot or Stanlingrad, IMHO!); yet it reflects exactly the realization of fighting for a lost cause that many German soldiers experienced. And hell, war IS depressing! Aside from the farmhouse scenes involving a female Soviet unit, this movie is as real as any German depiction of fighting on the Russian front that I have ever read, and there are many books in this genre. If you want to know what it was really like to fight in the elements in East Europe in WWII, in the mud, sweat, and shrapnel, and to understand what comaraderie is about (without all the surrealism and eccentricities of "Stalingrad") then this under-appreciated classic is the one to see! The artillery and trench warfare scenes are incredible, some of the best I've ever seen... Sam Peckinpah was able to effectively show all the sharp contradictions of war: courage and cowardice, sensitivity and crudeness, mercy and cruelty, and in the end, irony and justice.
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