1970s Kelly's Heroes (1970)

Published on September 14th, 2007 | by Chris

4

Kelly’s Heroes (1970)


Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On September 14, 2007
Last modified:October 8, 2012

Summary:

Really this is a good film. It follows a band of misfit soldiers as they head out on their own in search of a stash of Nazi gold behind enemy lines. Of course with any film like this, getting there is 90% of the fun, and Kelly's Heroes doesn't disappoint.

Kelly's Heroes (1970)Some movies simply defy a proper explanation.  Kelly's Heroes is just one of those movies.

Really this is a good film.  It follows a band of misfit soldiers as they head out on their own in search of a stash of Nazi gold behind enemy lines.  Of course with any film like this, getting there is 90% of the fun, and Kelly's Heroes doesn't disappoint.

The adventures (if you want to call them that) they get into range from the normal wartime far (getting stuck in a minefield) to the bizarre (taking out a rail station with the tanks) and even the intense (eliminating the enemy resistance around the bank.)

What's the problem then?  Well, if you take a decent World War II action movie, and add a dash of vintage 1960's "flower power" soundtrack from Hell in the Pacific and THX 1138 soundtrack wiz Lalo Schifrin, with a healthy (?) heaping helping of 60's hippie "positive waves, man"... and you get this.  The end result is an enigma, albeit a humorous one, there's no denying that.

If you can put aside the cultural transplants, you'll really get a kick out of this one.  Clint Eastwood plays Private Kelly in usual gruff, hardcore, textbook Eastwood style, which I suppose makes him the straight man in all this comedy.  Telly Savales is there as "Big Joe," in an equally gruff, but still likable role.  Then you've got Don Rickles as "Crapgame" the dealing quartermaster, Carroll O'Connor as the damn-funny general Colt, and the equally enigmatic Harry Stanton as Willard.

Of course the real star of the picture is Sgt. Oddball (Donald Sutherland) and his gang of tank driving hippies, including "Moriarity" (Gavin McLeod.)  These guys steal the show whole heartedly, even though their presence and actions present the biggest puzzler of the show.

And who can not mention the ever type-cast Karl-Otto Alberty as the German tank commander they coerce into helping them get the gold. (Whoops! Spoiled it!)

If there's a flaw to Kelly's Heroes its the ending.  It'd have been nice to see them try to get the gold *out* of the town and out of Europe, but then you're looking at probably another good hour of movie.  (What?! No sequel?)

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Description

Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland. A top-flight cast highlights this big-scale story of a WWII American platoon that abducts a German general and accidentally discovers a fortune in gold...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Brand: EASTWOOD,CLINT
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Telly Savalas
  • Don Rickles
  • Carroll O'Connor
  • Donald Sutherland

Features

  • Clint Eastwood Collection

Reviews

Customer Reviews
Average Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Family Movie, May 15, 2016
By 
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This review is from: Kelly's Heroes (Amazon Video)
This is a classic old movie in the same mold as Von Ryan's Express and The Great Escape. Several of the cast became major-league actors in later years (Telly Savalas, Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland) and every cast member turns in a great performance. This isn't the disturbing acerbic humor of Catch 22 or the "wacky wildness" of MASH; rather it is a sideways view at individual human aspiration in the midst of death and unfairness. And although the idea of a bunch of GIs deciding to become "independent contractors" in order to loot a stash of Nazi gold may not seem the most sound foundation for a moral tale, that's actually what this is. Life isn't fair, some people die when they should have lived, and you only get what you can take for yourself.

It's funny, touching, occasionally suspenseful, and basically a great movie for everyone over the age of 8. One for all the family.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I really love the character of Oddball - the script was poor in other ways, though (but Oddball made the film worthwhile for me), October 3, 2013
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This review is from: Kelly's Heroes (DVD)
First the negative, then the positive:

I know some people love this movie, probably because it has the same kind of loudmouth humor of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Coming only a few years later, but fully imbued with anti-government, anti-Vietnam War sentiment, it reverses It's a Mad World's satire on greed in a sardonic way, with all of the main characters being openly greedy and proud of it, their attitude being justified in the film by portraying the American commanders (the superiors of Clint Eastwood and his buddies) as out of touch with reality and unconcerned about their troops' welfare. Though that was a minus for me, the bigger reason I didn't enjoy the script at all was because the screenwriter filled a huge chunk of the lines with cussing, and this cussing didn't even seem to fit the emotional tension. It became downright annoying that the characters' masculinity seemed to be completely defined by their cussing. That is, the script made the characters... Read more
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kelly's Heroes - Best Roles for Eastwood & Sutherland, October 25, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kelly's Heroes (Amazon Video)
Although alot of Hollywood stars in this at the time of production I still think this is Eastwood's & Donald Sutherland's best roles to date. An early role for Eastwood, he shines with his straight-forward leadership, even acting as a muse for Sutherland at times. Sutherland, playing a hippies-inspired tank captain is wonderful in his lines. Don't forget Telly Savalas and Gavin MacLeod, the Love Boat captain! A great scene is where Don Rickles introduces Sutherland to Eastwood by his character name "Oddball" where he rolls his eyes at the same time - hilarious! The best scenes in the movie originate from the tank's eye view and often thru binoculars, like a first-person shooter video game; it gives the movie a voyeristic feel at times. When Archie Bunker's Carroll O'Connor hits the screen you know the movie is going places as a general. He hears the action of the team breaking thru enemy lines via short-wave radio and wants to get there, as in yesterday. The best action is the... Read more
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Kelly’s Heroes (1970) Chris

Summary: Really this is a good film. It follows a band of misfit soldiers as they head out on their own in search of a stash of Nazi gold behind enemy lines. Of course with any film like this, getting there is 90% of the fun, and Kelly's Heroes doesn't disappoint.

4.0


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About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



4 Responses to Kelly’s Heroes (1970)

  1. As is usually the case for a Memorial Day Weekend, several cable/satellite networks will be chock full of classic war movies this coming weekend. Namely Turner Classic Movies, Fox Movie Channel, and AMC. I’m sure there are many more but these are “The B

  2. Pingback: Memorial Day 2012 Movies on TV | War Movie Reviews and News | War Movie Blog

  3. “Do you realise what’s inside that bank, baby? There’s about sixteen million dollars in gold bars in there.”

    “That’s sixty-five million marks.”

    “And sergeant, all you have to do to have an equal share is to crank that turret around and blow a hole in that door.”

    The SS tank driver hardly needed coercion after hearing that offer.

  4. kevin says:

    My fav

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