In 1943, in the Russian front, the decorated leader Rolf Steiner is promoted to Sergeant after another successful mission. Meanwhile the upper-class and arrogant Prussian Captain Hauptmann ... See full summary »

Kern: Do you believe in God, Sergeant?
Sargeant Steiner: I believe God is a sadist, but probably doesn't even know it.
Colonel Brandt: What will we do when we have lost the war?
Captain Kiesel: Prepare for the next one.
Captain Stransky: A world without women. It's an old theory of mine. Men can get along without women easily. Easily. I tell you a man's true destiny is not just breeding children, all this childbirth and chocolate, but to be free. To rule and to fight. In other words: to lead a man's existence. Women are no more than a nuisance. Sometimes necessary.
Unteroffizier Krüger: I stay dirty for a reason. If you've been in the field as long as I've been, you'd know why.
Sargeant Steiner: Explain.
Unteroffizier Krüger: Natural body oils, combined with dirt, can keep you waterproof.
Sargeant Steiner: A man is generally what he feels himself to be.
Captain Kiesel: They're rolling up both flanks, it's chaos.
Colonel Brandt: That need no longer concern you. You are to report at once to general headquarters. You're being evacuated.
Captain Kiesel: I can't leave the command, sir.
Colonel Brandt: While I am still in a condition to issue orders those orders will be obeyed.
Captain Kiesel: I'm prepared to disobey that order, sir.
Colonel Brandt: You've been around Steiner too long. Come, listen to me for a moment... For many of us Germans the exterminator is long overdue, but I have decided that you are worth saving.
Captain Kiesel: But I'm part of all this. There are better people than me. Most of them are being killed out there.
Colonel Brandt: There's nothing wrong with you, except that you smoke too much. You're a brave man, braver than you think you are. One of these days there will be a need for brave civilians, had you thought of that? In the new Germany, if such a thing is allowed to exist, there will be need for builders, for thinkers, for poets. I begin to see now what your job is to be. I will make this my final order to you; you will search out and contact all of these, um... better people, you call them, and together you will take on the responsibility that goes with survival. Now you must leave. Please leave.
Unteroffizier Krüger: Stop your fuckin' silly game! This isn't a brothel, this is a war!
Captain Stransky: What of your platoon?
Sargeant Steiner: Two killed, one missing.
Captain Stransky: Two killed, how?
Sargeant Steiner: Bullets. Mortar fire, artillery, heavy salvos, bad luck, terminal syphilis, the usual things, Captain.
Captain Stransky: I will show you how a true Prussian officer fights.
Sargeant Steiner: Then I will show you, where the Iron Crosses grow.
Colonel Brandt: Why did you ask to be relieved of duty in France?
Captain Stransky: I want to get the Iron Cross.
Colonel Brandt: [reaching into his pockets] We can give you one of mine.
Captain Kiesel: Steiner... is a myth. Men like him are our last hope... and in that sense, he is a truly dangerous man.
Captain Stransky: Who is this?
Sargeant Steiner: Corporal Schnurrbart, sir.
Captain Stransky: And the other one?
Sargeant Steiner: That is a Russian prisoner, sir.
Sargeant Steiner: [Steiner releasing the Russian prisoner boy] It's all an accident... an accident of hands mine, others... all without mind... one extreme to another... and neither works... nor will ever! and we stand in the middle... in no mans land you and I... go home.
Leutnant Triebig: It was all Stransky's orders! I hadn't no part in it!
Sargeant Steiner: You shoot him... sir.
Captain Stransky: I will... on the spot.

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