Customer Reviews


71 Reviews
5 star:
 (22)
4 star:
 (22)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (10)
1 star:
 (9)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Henstooth redeems itself, but is not 'Criterion' quality.
After much anticipation, I received my DVD copy of Henstooth's
second DVD release of Sam Peckinpah-directed "Cross Of Iron."
This is well worth the wait.
The 'Widescreen Special Edition' is superior in video quality
and presentation.
Had Henstooth 'gone the extra-yard' and released an 'unrated'
version and remixed the sound-track in...
Published on April 29 2006 by Amazon Customer

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly a classic, but better than most WW2 films
I would rate it 3.5 stars, because it's better than average as compared to other ww2 films however there are a few small problems I have with this movie. First off, the opening minutes contain scenes of implied homosexulaity between the german soldiers. I'm not sure the accuracy of this, although no doubt it probably did happen, but seems to be a fairly important point...
Published on June 21 2004 by R


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Henstooth redeems itself, but is not 'Criterion' quality., April 29 2006
By 
Amazon Customer (Calgary, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
After much anticipation, I received my DVD copy of Henstooth's
second DVD release of Sam Peckinpah-directed "Cross Of Iron."
This is well worth the wait.
The 'Widescreen Special Edition' is superior in video quality
and presentation.
Had Henstooth 'gone the extra-yard' and released an 'unrated'
version and remixed the sound-track in '5.1 surround-sound',
then "Cross Of Iron (Widescreen Special Edition) would be
worth its weight in gold.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unconventional, anti-war epic will stay with you...., July 4 2003
By 
Chris K. Wilson "Chris Kent" (Dallas, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Cross of Iron (DVD)
Film director Sam Peckinpah's career was winding down in 1977 when he shocked international critics with his primitive, unconventional anti-war epic "Cross of Iron." To this day, critics and authors alike don't really no what to make of this ferocious film. At times inspired, at others pretentious, Peckinpah's "Cross of Iron" is kind of the black sheep of classic cinema war flicks - it is difficult to like, but equally deserving of respect.
I suppose the legend behind "Cross of Iron" has been told many times. Immediately after viewing this film, Orson Welles fired off a letter to Peckinpah calling it "the greatest anti-war film ever made." I agree with Welles' stance. One can never really relax while watching the muddy carnage of "Cross of Iron." Explosions constantly rattle the sets, dialogue is difficult to hear due to the cries of dying men in the background. Peckinpah's trademark rapid-fire editing, perhaps used a bit too much in this film (if not many of his post-"Wild Bunch" films), will leave viewers shellshocked. Battlefield distractions reign supreme. As a viewer, we are living with these filthy soldiers in the rat and lice infested bunkers.
In Peckinpah's "Cross of Iron" universe, told from the viewpoint of German soliders on the Russian front in 1943, there is no glory in war. Cynical men are trying to survive poor leadership, dying German philosophies and the constant thunder of Russain bombs and bullets.
James Coburn gives the finest performance of his career as veteran sergeant Steiner. He leads his weary platoon from one skirmish to the next, knowing all is for a lost cause. He rebels against the German leadership, shown in the form of two opposite commanders - one seeking glory (Maximilian Schell), the other survival (James Mason). Due to politics and resentment, Coburn's men find themselves forgotten behind enemy lines. Left for dead, they have to fight their way back to the German front before being completely wiped out by advancing Russian soldiers. What they encounter along the way is unexpected, harsh and eventually tragic.
"Cross of Iron" is a superior war film to such classics as "Platoon," "The Big Red One" and "Saving Private Ryan" simply because there is never a moment of true heroism during it's 130-minute running time. Flowery ideals for such bloodshed never become clear. Most importantly, there is never an instant when viewers can relax with the smug comfort that war has purpose. In "Cross of Iron," human life is worth a wooden nickel. There are no heroes. And most terrifying of all, the war which takes place in Peckinpah's unforgettable film is not a war anyone would ever want to be a part of.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Runs circles around Saving Private Ryan. Great antiwar film., May 7 2004
This review is from: Cross of Iron (DVD)
I would argue that this is the best war movie around, followed closely by Peter Weir's Gallipoli.
Peckinpah is such a brilliant director, and so much more subtle than is immediately obvious.
By chosing Germans and Russians as protagonists, classical bad guys, the viewer does not really root for any side. He also chooses Crimea 1943 as the setting. Therefore we enter the film with very few preconceptions.
To add gravity to his message he does not use typical war music in his score; he mixes it with children's rhymes!
The soldiers on both sides are just soldiers, not particularly bad, not particularly good. They are rather portrayed as beeing trapped in a game played by the people behind the front. Most just try to survive, the only exception is the German front line commander who still clings to the, more decent, values of a bygone era.
Even the "bad guy" is not really a typical film "bad guy". He is weak and egotistic, he does not want to be at the front, he does not want this war. In the end sergeant Steiner ackowledges that
and gives him a chance to redeem himself ('Take this submachine-gun and win your iron cross like a man.').
Where Peckinpah's other films are hyperrealistic this one has a more dreamlike (nightmarish!) character. The Russian tanks have a quality of angels of vengeance, and the devastation after the battles are more reminiscent of Brueghel's visions of hell than of the "great day out for the lads" type vision we have from the usual Hollywood fare.
This is great action, but it has a very strong anti-war message. I think that people who only want to see a war movie will feel oddly disturbed after watching it. I think that is the reason for some negative reviews.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly a classic, but better than most WW2 films, June 21 2004
By 
R (Somewhere in the USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cross of Iron (DVD)
I would rate it 3.5 stars, because it's better than average as compared to other ww2 films however there are a few small problems I have with this movie. First off, the opening minutes contain scenes of implied homosexulaity between the german soldiers. I'm not sure the accuracy of this, although no doubt it probably did happen, but seems to be a fairly important point thoughout parts of this movie. If this is supposed to further convince the audience of the depraved nature of the soldiers, it works in that regard but it is quite obvious that they are depraved anyway and that added nothing to the storyline nor to the plot.
The other problem I have is, although most of the battle scenes contain close to accurate german and russian weapons, the overhead bombing scenes contain shots of U.S. navy corsairs dropping bombs. These were probably stock footage taken from a navy film and look horribly out-of place here.
But despite those two issues, most of the rest of the movie is good and portrays an accurate, interesting and engaging portrait of battle in the russian theatre during ww2. I especially liked the use of light as most of the battle scenes were shot as daytime attacks and that indeed was the way it happened on the russian front. The sneak attack at the bridge by Steiner's platoon was filmed and sequenced to show all of the moves by the attackers, leaving nothing hidden or off camera. Certainly an interesting way to portray this kind of sequence and it came out quite effectively.
Sam Peckinpah uses the slow motion to good effect and has indeed changed the face of war films circa 1977. Every war movie that was released after this movie tends to show a more grimmer and graphic view of war and that is certainly how it should be done as there is nothing glorious or heroic about war. Those are the words used by the politicians that order people to fight each other to the death.
Great casting, excellent camera work and a good story combined with music that adds a sense of innocence lost and horror to the subject, all ad up to not quite a classic but a very good depiction of ww2 battle action in the Russian theatre.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic War Film, Oct. 2 2003
By 
This review is from: Cross of Iron (DVD)
Few films, I think, have the same feeling or flavor of "Cross of Iron." It deserves points not only for its style and grittiness, but as well for its unique take on the anti-war idea and its use of a different front not too well seen in films (with perhaps the exception of the recent films "Stalingrad" and "Enemy At the Gates").
In reality, I don't see it as so much being anti-war as it really mocks one of the most disastrous campaigns in military history: the German attack on Russia in World War II. The opening and ending sequences involving child choirs accompanied by footage of the Eastern front and Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime give a grand sense of irony and sarcasm, and through out the film questions are being asked such as "Why are we here?" and "Do you think the German people will forgive us?"
I suppose you could say that using the Russian front, they mock war altogether. The ending sequence of Lee Marvin laughing at the absurdity of the characters and situation around him most likely represents the absurdity of the times then and the times we will find ourselves forever in the future.
Altogether, an great film that is undervalued in the genre of war films.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Tale of the German Army in WWII, Ever!, Aug. 21 2003
This review is from: Cross of Iron (DVD)
This movie was shot on location in Yugoslavia with the assistance of the Yugoslav Army. Those are their T-34's breaking through the factory wall. This was the most realistic I had never seen such a realistic movie about modern as this one until "Saving Private Ryan" came along and raised the bar. The rear area scenes were a bit overdone with their anti-war message. But they show the pathos wounded soldiers endured as they healed and prepared to return to hellish Eastern front. That Nazi party members and high ranking officers lived well while the troops did not is true. That the troops fought for each other and not "crosses of iron" was true then and is true today. This movie captured the dirt, fear and blood of war like no other until "Ryan". It celebrates honor, courage, leadership under incredible circumstances and love of comrades. I rate this as a "must see" for anyone interested in war movies.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars True..while not criterion quality it still shines, Sept. 22 2006
By 
Terence Tan Co "tetsuo79" (Vancouver) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
While the movie quality is not criterion quality, it is the uncut european version in english and while it could have been worthwhile if Peckinpaugh is still alive today to give commentary on his movies, the film historian gives an excellent commentary on the making and the backround to this excellent movie.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, atrocious Region 1 DVD release!, Oct. 31 2003
By 
K. Cannon "katatonia2" (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Cross of Iron (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Peckinpah's last triumph, July 18 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Cross of Iron (DVD)
Sam Peckinpah, in his 1977 effort "Cross of Iron", darred to look at the war throught German eyes. Thus becoming one of the handful of directors with the audacity to view the German soldiers as a humans, and not as faceless barbarians. Based upon a novel by Willi Heinrich, Cross of Iron is the tale of Steiner, and his troops fight for survival on the Taman peninsula in 1943. Thought it is not near the final stages of the war as many believe, the film depicts the turning of the tables in favor of the Soviets; after the losses at Stalingrad and Kursk. This gritty, unflinching and realistic portrail of combat on the eastern front, seems more stunning if you keep in mind the budget restraints. Authentic in almost every aspect, all the vehicles, weaponry and uniforms all flawless. The Wehrmacht soldiers are dirty and unreasted as they would be during uncessant battle, unlike many a war film which have the soldiers clean and proper. Also during filming, Soviet T-34 tanks acquired from the Czech Republic, were administered during a skirmish. At the time Peckinpah was addicted to coccain and was an alcoholic, yet through all the self-inflicted harm of his reckless life style, his directing capability remained unscathed. The Sam we know from the "Wild Bunch" and "Straw Dogs" is still here, with the slow-motion seens of carnage and his trademark "zooms". But aside from his usual hallmarks, he also give use a personal view of combat. Sam doesn't want to be a spectator, he wants to be a participant, and in doing so he lets us experience the noise, confusion and horror of the Russan front. The film though however great, is not without flaws. First off the casting is questionable, James Mason, David Warner and James Coburn seem somewhat out of place. Being either American of British they could have made a more conscious effort to sustain a fluent german accent. There also is some scenes, a lack of light, which can cause some confusion. Still Sam Peckinpah has left us with an enduring and powerful statement about war, honor, survival and friendship in a world gone mad.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewer Missed the Movie..., Sept. 28 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Cross of Iron (DVD)
Maybe David Chute should actually watch the movie before condemining it. The German "martinet" he refers to in NOT the James Mason character, but the Maximilian Schell character of the effete and aristocratic Captain Stransky, who, like so many US officers (Army in particular), only show up at the front long enough to get their glory tickets punched, then move on to greater things. On the other hand, the James Mason character, Colonel Brandt, is an excellent portrayal of a solid German combat officer who has seen the futility of the winter war on the eastern front for too long, is a good leader and has some concern for his men.
This is an excellent Peckinpah movie and a solid war movie with the violence of action for which Peckinpah was so famous. Few people could show the bloodiness of actual combat, whether in the Old West or the Russian Front, like him. However, I would like to see a better DVD version, preferably a director's cut with out-takes replaced, at a more reasonable price.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Cross of Iron
Cross of Iron by Sam Peckinpah (DVD - 2003)
CDN$ 78.91
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews