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Breakthrough (1979)

Steiner - Das Eiserne Kreuz, 2. Teil (original title)
PG | | Drama, War | February 1979 (Austria)
In 1944 a German sergeant gets involved in an anti-Hitler conspiracy, and saves the life of an American colonel.


Andrew V. McLaglen


Peter Berneis (screenplay), Tony Williamson (screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Burton ... Sgt. Rolf Steiner
Rod Steiger ... Gen. Webster
Helmut Griem ... Maj. von Stransky
Klaus Löwitsch ... Uffz. Krüger
Michael Parks ... Sgt. Anderson
Werner Pochath ... Schütze Keppel
Véronique Vendell ... Yvette (as Veronique Vendell)
Horst Janson ... Capt. Berger
Joachim Hansen ... Capt. Kistner
Walter Ullrich Walter Ullrich ... Schütze Hauser
Dieter Schidor Dieter Schidor ... Cpl. Paul Anselm
Bruno Dietrich ... Schütze Nissen
Sonja Jeannine Sonja Jeannine ... Jeanette
Günter Clemens Günter Clemens ... Cpl. Dorfmann
Michael Büttner Michael Büttner ... Schütze Junghans (as Wolfgang Büttner)


In 1944 German sergeant Rolf Steiner is on the Russian Front where out of frustration he hits an officer. Steiner is sent on leave to Paris to avoid further incidents. In Paris news of the Allied Invasion of Normandy arrive and Steiner meets up with his unit there being recently transferred from Russia. Steiner finds out that his old company commander from the Russian Front, Major Von Stransky, is his new commander. Steiner and Von Stransky hate one another. The German general in charge of the area is General Hofmann who's a member of the conspiracy to kill Hitler. Hofmann hopes to surrender his troops to the Americans. He reveals his plans to Sergeant Steiner and asks Steiner to meet the Americans to negotiate a possible surrender if Hitler is eliminated. When the plot to kill Hitler fails, the surrender plan is in jeopardy. Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Burton...Mitchum...Steiger...Enemies...Yet Allies In Combat With Destiny!


Drama | War


PG | See all certifications »



West Germany


German | English | French

Release Date:

February 1979 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Breakthrough See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Military plots against Adolf Hitler frequently failed because most German officers only wanted to end the war in the West against the democracies, not the war in the East against the Soviet Union. See more »


American tanks shown are not WW II-era tanks. See more »


Sgt. Rolf Steiner: NCOs cannot resign.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A longer German language version runs at 126 minutes, extra scenes includes:
  • An opening scene that starts at the railway station, Rolf Steiner and Paul Anselm meet again and discuss their current predicament. Captain Stransky appears out of the station building and sends Steiner and Anselm to check out a railway tunnel down the line. Steiner and Anselm meet up with Corporal Kruger before returning to the station. (8mins approx)
  • When Steiner returns to German lines, the scene where he meets his new platoon is longer and includes introductions to new comrades Rothe, Dorfmann and Keppel.
  • An extended scene between Yvette and Steiner at her apartment.
  • Steiner is mocked by an old woman as he leaves Yvette's apartment.
  • The two orphaned children Steiner looks at, at the end turn up earlier and throw rocks at Steiner.
  • The final battle is extended, there is more footage of the American GIs attacking the town, the American tanks cause greater damage to the town. Steiner shoots GIs whilst trying to defend the townspeople.
See more »


Follows Cross of Iron (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

boring war action over acting
23 May 2003 | by floridawarSee all my reviews

This movie is very disappointing. Following on the heels of the fascinating Cross of Iron, this flick is a true dud. Richard Burtons' Sgt. Steiner (as opposed to James Coburns'portrayal in CofI) might have been intriguing but for the bland, and badly made film that surrounds him. Wheras Cross of Iron had at least a feasable script, the main theme of of war disillusionment and the plot to kill Hitler just gets in the way. I suspect this whole red herring was added to make the movie more palatable for its German co-producers etc.(or vice versa) the score by the Berlin Orchestra is ridiculous, and sounds like something from a fast paced breaking news cast; Also very distracting. Regardless, Burtons' enigmatic portrayal of a stereotypically stoic German soldier stands out. It is just too bad this movie's makers failed to capitalize on their best assets: their actors!

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