Breakthrough (1979)


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.

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 civilian inhabitants.