Seven schoolboys are drafted into the German army in the final weeks of World War II. An officer who recognizes that they are ill equipped for battle assigns them to a safe but pointless mission—the defense of a bridge that the Germans are already planning to blow up—but then the adult soldier assigned to lead them is killed. Although this 1959 film was based on a real incident, some of the characters are too schematic and plotting is contrived in places. Even so, director Bernhard Wicki's precise and gripping staging of the final battle brings the tragedy of war sickeningly alive. In German with subtitles. 103 min.