Director Sam Peckinpah's unflinching look at war stars James Coburn as Cpl. Steiner, the leader of a German platoon circa 1943. A contest of wills develops between the courageous Steiner and his new commander, Capt. Stransky (Maximilian Schell) -- a pompous aristocrat. Stransky has his sights set on earning the Iron Cross, Germany's highest honor for valor, but he's a poltroon at heart -- which soon leads him to take desperate measures.