Published on September 14th, 2007 | by Chris4
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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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.