Breakthrough (1979 film)

Breakthrough , also released as Steiner - Das Eiserne Kreuz, 2 or Sergeant Steiner [1] is a 1980 war film set on the Western Front, specifically the Normandy coastline [2] The picture is an unofficial sequel to Sam Peckinpah's Cross of Iron, and includes several characters from that film.

Directed byAndrew V. McLaglen
Written byPeter Berneis / Tony Williamson
StarringRichard Burton
Robert Mitchum
Rod Steiger
Michael Parks
Curd Jurgens
Helmut Griem
Klaus Löwitsch
Music byPeter Thomas
Distributed byMaverick Pictures International
Release date
Running time
111 min. (German version)
115. min. (English version)
CountryWest Germany
LanguageGerman / 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.


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 by coming up against a Russian tank. Steiner 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 enemy territory and confer with American Colonel Rogers (Robert Mitchum) and General Webster (Rod Steiger) 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.


Unofficial sequel reception and criticism

The film Breakthrough which was mostly financed by West German producers when it was released in 1979, after several changes were made to the sequel for instance the action was moved from Russia to the Western Front and Richard Burton replaced Coburn as Sgt Steiner. Breakthrough was panned by critics, who criticised it for a confusing plot, poor dialogue, aged cast and undistinguished acting.[3] Critics state that this movie is not 100% percent canon to Cross of Iron because it does not follow the correct timelines nor makes any sense since Stransky was already wounded and left for dead and Steiner goes missing in action in the previous film,


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