Starting in late May 1944, during the German retreat on the Eastern Front, Captain Stransky (Helmut Griem) orders Sergeant Steiner (Richard Burton) to blow up a railway tunnel to prevent Russian forces from using it. Steiner’s platoon fails in its mission after coming up against a Russian tank. He then takes a furlough to Paris just as the Allies launch their invasion of Normandy.
Steiner’s unit is transferred to France, occupying the village of St Bologne. General Hoffman (Curd Jürgens) orders Steiner to cross into nearby enemy territory and confer with American Colonel Rogers (Robert Mitchum) and General Webster (Rod Steiger), informing him that the High Command of the German Army (Wehrmacht) is plotting to assassinate Hitler and would like to surrender. The plan fails and American forces launch an attack on German forces in St Bologne where Stransky has planned an explosion to destroy both the Americans and the civilian inhabitants.
Steiner clearly sympathises more with the Americans, even to the extent of killing his fellow soldiers.
Breakthrough, also released as Steiner – Das Eiserne Kreuz, 2 and Sergeant Steiner is a 1979 war film set on the Western Front, specifically the Normandy coastline. The picture is an unofficial sequel to Sam Peckinpah‘s Cross of Iron, and includes several characters from that film.
|Directed by||Andrew V. McLaglen|
|Written by||Peter Berneis / Tony Williamson|
|Produced by||Wolf C. Hartwig|
|Music by||Peter Thomas|
|Distributed by||Constantin Film|
Maverick Pictures International (US)
|Running time||111 minutes (German version)|
115 minutes (English version)
|Language||German / English|
The film starred several big names including Richard Burton, Robert Mitchum and Rod Steiger. Burton (Sergeant Steiner) and Helmut Griem (Major Stransky) assume the roles played by James Coburn and Maximilian Schell respectively in the original film. The supporting cast features Michael Parks and Curd Jürgens. Klaus Löwitsch is the only actor from Cross of Iron to reprise his role.