Colonel Jack Knowles (Roy Scheider) is a tough soldier awarded for his bravery in Vietnam.
Colonel Valachev (Jürgen Prochnow) is the same way, but on the other side of the West German-Czechoslovakia border.
These two men are an asset at war but a liability in peacetime.
They may just drag everyone into World War 3.
Based on the Einstein quote, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones,” this movie finds Knowles butting heads with his superiors Lieutenant Colonel Clark (Tim Reid) and General Hackworth (Harry Dean Stanton) when he isn’t getting blind drunk — on J&B no less and no, this is not a giallo — when he isn’t crossing the border and sabotaging Russian bases.
By the end, the two men battle in hand-to-hand combat on a frozen lake with their countries’ armies on both sides ready to unleash mutually assured destruction. The fight was so realistic that Scheider cracked one of his ribs and Prochnow popped out his knee.
The Fourth War was directed by John Frankenheimer from a script by Kenneth Ross, both of whom were anti-war, and hated the name, as well as other titles like Game of Honor and Face Off.
You can watch this on Tubi.