Cross of Iron

Director: Sam Peckinpah
Year Released: 1977
Rating: 3.0

The war film you'd expect from Peckinpah - heavy on the grunting, the staring, the glaring, the machismo-posturing, lines delivered through clenched teeth ("Yes, captain" - with a malevolent twist on the second word), gore-heavy (blood flies out of dying bodies like a sprinkler hose), slow-motion shots of destruction, buildings blown to pieces. James Coburn - slowly becoming one of my favorite actors - argues with coward Maximilian Schell over Schell's plan to take credit for an assault and win the Iron Cross; Coburn, himself an Iron Cross recipient, is disgusted by this and fights against his commander (the conversations are the movie's weak point, never managing to be as convincing as the action). As flawed as another vet's war film (Sam Fuller's The Big Red One), but picking them apart does both a supreme injustice - both pictures are sadly underrated.