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When Heroes Die (1970)

Consigna: matar al comandante en jefe (original title)
The story of a group of American commandos assigned to kidnap General Rommel. But the soldiers are caught by the Germans who decide to use their plan against them. Replacing the American ... See full summary »



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An American major trains a group of elite soldiers for a dangerous covert mission behind enemy lines during WW2.

Director: José Luis Merino
Stars: Guy Madison, Raffaella Carrà, Stelvio Rosi


Cast overview:
Capitán Richard Harvey
Manuel Zarzo ...
Charlotte (as Anabella Incontrera)
Carlos Quiney
Piero Lulli ...
Enrique Ávila
Vicente Roca ...
Charly Bravo ...
(as Carlos Bravo)
Rafael Corés ...
Admiral Wilhelm Canaris (as Rafael Cores)
Ricardo Valle
Rafael Vaquero
Remo De Angelis
Alan Parker
María Silva ...


The story of a group of American commandos assigned to kidnap General Rommel. But the soldiers are caught by the Germans who decide to use their plan against them. Replacing the American soldiers with German soldiers, and with the help of a fake "kidnapped" Rommel, they plan to kill General Eisenhower. Written by Ørnås

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Plot Keywords:

soldier | plan | rommel | commando | nazi | See All (12) »




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Release Date:

13 November 1970 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

When Heroes Die  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



(Eastmancolor) (uncredited)
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User Reviews

Some potential, but it's quickly wasted as this becomes routine
13 February 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A unique Spanish/Italian war thriller, directed by Jose Luis Merino, the guy behind DUEL IN THE ECLIPSE and KILLERS OF THE CASTLE OF BLOOD. I have the feeling that the director was more at home in the spaghetti western and horror genres, because despite the originality of the storyline this is very much par for the course, a Euro-war film that's very typical by genre standards.

The story has a faint whiff of THE DIRTY DOZEN about it as a group of Allied soldiers are sent behind enemy lines on an important mission. They're captured at the outset, and then things become complex, with their identities taken over by German soldiers who plan their own mission behind enemy lines. What it all boils down to is not a lot, but at least the slim storyline is punctuated by some well-handled action sequences with a lot of shooting and shouting.

Sadly, the various problems with the production gradually stack up and take their roll. The majority of the cast are definitely going through the motions, from the dull lead Craig Hill to the pretty-but-uninteresting actresses. The editing is pretty choppy, with characters suddenly jumping from one location to the next, and the viewer must also digest the shoehorned-in stock footage which doesn't even some close to matching with the newly-filmed material. WHEN HEROES DIE isn't actually the worst I've seen, but it had so much potential I can't be anything but disappointed in it.

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