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True star power
bowmanblue14 September 2017
There are some films that need little introduction. 'Kelly's Heroes' is one of them. However, in today's Hollywood, movies about the Second World War are few and far between, so some may question the relevance of an ensemble piece set in the dying days of Nazi-occupied Europe. First of all, I'll probably stick my neck out and say that it's probably not that 'historically accurate' (or at least not to my knowledge!). By that, I don't mean that Allied forces are fighting zombies or abducted by vampires. From the little I know of the period, all the uniforms, military language and techniques look genuine enough to fool a layman like me. When I say it's not 'historically accurate' I mean that, whereas most films of this era concentrate (naturally) on the struggle between German and Allied forces, 'Kelly's Heroes' offers more of a 'crime caper' set during the conflict. If I could compare it to anything, I'd almost say it felt like an 'Ocean's Eleven' in the middle of World War II.

Clint Eastwood plays the titular 'Kelly' – a war-weary soldier who's had enough of potentially dying any day without anything to show for it personally. So, when he learns of a bank full of gold behind enemy lines, he puts together a group of equally ambitious troops all willing to risk their lives for a slice of the bullion. As I mentioned, it's a bit of an ensemble cast, the two most notable additions are Telly Savalas and Donald Sutherland, both who vie for position of the cast member who's trying to steal every scene they're in. However, just because the film is largely about the quest to blow open a bank vault, doesn't mean that it's not a war film. The setting alone means that our 'heroes' come up against all the perils associated with the period and there are some pretty impressive set-pieces when it comes to the action.

I think the best thing about 'Kelly's Heroes' is that it has a pretty broad appeal. Obviously fans of war films will enjoy it, but you have the added bonus of having Clint Eastwood in the lead (and in his prime, no less) supported by some amazing acting talent. Then throw in the action element and the engaging crime plot and you're really going to invest your time into caring whether these (not so heroic) heroes get the gold or not. Don't be put off by its age. It's as good – and more importantly fun – today as it ever was. I will never grow tired from watching a tank freak out the opposing forces by playing music loudly as it comes into battle!
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Absolute joyride
ratnakar-techie24 July 2017
Ignore the critics, this is one hell of a joy ride. 4 different characters in search of Nazi treasure in World War II.

While this is a standard guys on a mission war flick, the motivations here are different. Their motive is not heroism, but greed pure and simple.

Kelly( Clint Eastwood) learns of a stash of Nazi gold hidden somewhere, and he recruits a bunch of odd balls to get that. He had earlier been made a scapegoat for a failed infantry assault, and he is more interested in the gold, than any kind of glory.

And the Heroes, an opportunistic Sgt Crapgame( Don Rickles) who holds the key to the supplies and tanks needed. A hipster, half spaced out tank commander Oddball( Donald Sutherland), a cynical, often nasty Sgt Big Joe( Telly Savalas).

As we can see not particularly a bunch of "'Heroes", they are just a bunch of greedy, opportunist profiteers out to make a fortune, using war as their cover. In a sense a satire too on war, showing behind all that heroism , it's just plain survival and greed.

Think Good, Bad and Ugly against a World War II setting, albeit more fun, more faster paced.

Typical guys movie with some solid performances, Clint Eastwood as laconic as ever, Don Rickles superb, Telly Savalas generating the right amount of nastiness and above all Donald Sutherland stealing the show as a Hipster ,tank commander appropriately called Oddball.
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Perfect casting...
joekwiatkowski19 May 2017
I haven't read the other reviews, so I don't know if anybody else has touched on this point, BUT...have you ever seen a movie where it seemed that the parts were written specifically for the actors that played them? This movie seems that way to me. I get the idea, right or wrong, that the screenwriter had Telly Savalas in mind, for instance, for the role of 'Big Joe' before he inserted the first sheet of paper into his typewriter. Ditto for Don Rickles, Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, and all the rest. Personality-wise, they all fit into their roles perfectly.

With regard to the idea of making a comedy movie set in the midst of war, I suspect that soldiers involved in combat develop their own bitter sense of humor in their attempts to cope with the tragedy all around them.

I would have been more offended with the early sub-plot involving 'Big Joe' (Sevalas) and his concern with securing willing French girls for his men to have sex with. What do feminists have to say about that? I'm no expert, but I suspect that soldiers are even more concerned with sex than the 'average man' since they don't know if they'll have the opportunity for one more intimate encounter before they get killed in action.

One minor aspect I was very pleased to see was the selection of which unit the characters came from. The script placed them in an outfit that was actually in that part of France in the late summer of 1944. I would have to suspect that the movie was set in September of 1944, since the Americans hadn't yet taken Nancy and there was one sequence where the men are siting around in their t-shorts, apparently quite comfortable.

All in all always a lot of fun to watch, whenever it's on TV.
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But for 1.6 million dollars we could become Heroes for three days!
thejcowboy2217 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A captured German officer with a shiny single bar of gold opens up a Pandora's box of adventure and war time comedy. I can't believe I had just written that line. Fact of the matter is Kelly's Heroes is the lighter side of war.Coming off two westerns Two Mules for Sister Sarah and Hang Em High, No nonsense squint eyed Clint Eastwood was thrown into this Anti-War comedy with a plethora of characters who seem to have you want to sign up and join the military. Eastwood plays an Ex-lieutenant who was scapegoated for a failed infantry attack captures a Nazi Colonel who in his possession has several Gold Bars. Eastwood gets the Wehrmacht Colonel drunk who becomes a klatschbase of information about a French town 30 miles behind enemy lines that houses almost two million dollars in gold. Kelly with nothing to lose wants the gold. Enter supply sergeant "Crapgame " Don Rickles who will supply the guns and ammunition needed for their journey east. Over hearing their plans is our scene stealer Donald Sutherland "Oddball" as the Gypsy type Hippie Tank commander with his band of renegades. Gavin McCloud as the skeptical Moriarty and always with the negative waves against the aloof and carefree Oddball is timing delight. The bridge scene is classic. To round out the search for gold invasion is the critical, cynical Telly Savalas as Big Joe who takes his troupe along. Rickles and Savalas argue more than a married couple throughout this film and it's a wonder those two didn't make more movies together. The most enjoyable part for me personally is riding along with the crazy Oddball with his tanks shooting paint and playing country music as they head into battle destroying a railroad depot. Sutherland's character as Oddball is an anachronism. Oddball is more of a Vietnam soldier than a World War II tank commander. In his Verbal expressions i.e. calling Big Joe an anti-social type. Three days of traveling and the advance of Kelly, Big Joe and Oddball caught the eye of the flamboyant General Colt (Carroll O'Connor) overhearing their walkie talkie broadcasts. Colt couldn't wait to ride in his jeep and decorate each and everyone of this renegade soldiers thinking they have good intentions of advancing to Berlin in final victory when in truth it's all about the Gold. Sutherland's performance is comical genius and in my opinion his best work. Weird to have Clint Eastwood in the middle of all this labyrinth of comedy but it works despite the negative waves. I grade this movie 6 mortar shells of laughter.
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No As Good As The George Clooney Flick Three Kings
slightlymad229 March 2017
Kelly's Heores (1970)

Plot In A Paragraph: A group of U.S. soldiers sneaks across enemy lines to get their hands on a secret stash of Nazi treasure.

The best way to describe this movie is Kelly's Heroes is the 1970s version of the George Clooney flick Three Kings, except that movie updates it to a quartet of American Gulf War soldiers attempting to steal some of Saddam Hussein's gold reserves. It isn't a bad movie, but it's far from memorable. Despite a hist of well-known stars headlined by Clint, the film stumbled almost as much as it succeeds,

It has an agonizingly long runtime and long periods where very little actually happens. The pacing is very slow in some parts, while in others it's ridiculously fast, The movie could stand a nice trimming of 30 or so minutes, because what works works very well and what doesn't hinders the movie so much that it affects its rewatchability

Fortunately, the action is well staged and the cast is the film's real strength. Eastwood turns in a fine performance but not one that stands out within his greater body of work. He's his usual tough but quiet type here. Telly Savalis and Don Rickles are fine, but it's Donald Sutherland absolutely steals this movie, the movie is a lot more fun when he is around.

A record was made of Clint Eastwood singing 'Burning Bridges', It was released single with the B-side of "When I Loved Her" also sung by Clint, and written by Kris Kristofferson.

Kelly's Heroes grossed 5.2 million at the domestic box office to become the 24th highest grossing movie of 1970.
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"...kinda makes you homesick, don't it...?"
Brucey D4 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Late on in WWII most soldiers just want to get to Berlin without dying; the last thing they want to be is 'heroes'. However when an opportunity is presented, in the form of gold bars worth 16 million USD stashed in a bank just behind enemy lines, some of them change their minds about taking risks. Soon a rag-tag group of U.S. soldiers is mounting a 'private war' through German lines to get their hands on the loot.

This is a very well made film with a good script, an excellent cast, and fine photography. Made at the height of the Vietnam war, it is basically an anti-war satire. However, considering its comedic intentions, many of the battle scenes are as realistic and as bloody as those in many 'proper war movies'.

The film was made in Yugoslavia (the part which is now Croatia). The Yugoslavian countryside passes very well for rural eastern France and (to a non-expert such as myself) all the military equipment looks very realistic. At the time the film was made the Yugoslavian army were still using military equipment with WWII origins, and from both sides. This must have eased the film's equipment logistics considerably.

They blow/smash a lot of stuff up in this film and they blow/smash it up for real. Even at Yugoslavian prices it must have cost a fortune! The three Tiger Mk1 tanks in this film look very realistic. I wondered about this (I later discovered that there aren't three working Tiger Mk1 tanks anywhere) until I found out that they were modified T34 tanks. The Yugoslavians had already converted them (to a very high standard, although the gun turret is unavoidably further forward than it should be) for a domestic film production and they were made available for this film.

The version of this film (which is also available on DVD and Blu-Ray) which has been most recently broadcast on UK TV runs to over 2-1/4 hours. Unlike earlier broadcasts which were doctored for 4:3 screens, you are likely now to see the film as it was intended, in 2.35:1 aspect ratio, even on TV. It looks so much better now I barely recognise it as the same thing I saw for the first time back in the 1970s, when it was 'a big film on TV' one Christmas.

If, when watching the film, you wonder if there isn't a back story missing from some of the characters, you'd be right to; there was another 20 minutes or so to this film which was cut before release. Whilst they probably did the right thing in some respects (it would have been too long for cinema release). I like this film enough that I'd sit through a longer version quite happily.

Some folk might now only watch this film because it is 'a period piece'; and it is one. But it is also a good film in its own right and (violence asides perhaps) I would heartily recommend it to anyone.
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Amusing all-star WWII dramedy/action flick with Eastwood and Savalas
Wuchak2 January 2017
Released in 1970 and directed by Brian G. Hutton, "Kelly's Heroes" is a war dramedy starring Clint Eastwood as the title character who convinces Sgt. Big Joe (Telly Savalas) & his platoon and a free-spirited Sherman tank commander (Donald Sutherland) to spend their three-day leave on a gold heist at a French village. The events take place 12 weeks after the Normandy invasion.

"Kelly's Heroes" was obviously inspired by "What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?" from four years earlier. Carroll O'Connor even plays the same basic role, a general who mistakes the misdeeds of Allied soldiers as brave, selfless combat; and arrives on the scene to commend them. The picture miraculously combines zany comedy with serious war action and is highlighted by the fun, eccentric theme song "Burning Bridges" by The Mike Curb Congregation. Of course the all-star cast is great with Sutherland standing out as Oddball. People complain that Oddball was anachronistic since he was a late-60's hippie type, but his crew resembled Gypsies and, besides, there are laid-back free-spirited types in every generation.

While the film is overall superior to "What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?" it's inferior in that it lacks a female cast member in the form of the jaw-dropping Giovanna Ralli. Actually, the film was slated to have a female role, but it was cut from the script prior to filming. The stunning Ingrid Pitt was cast, as she worked with Eastwood two years earlier in "Where Eagles Dare." Ingrid was virtually climbing on board the plane bound for the set in Yugoslavia when word came that her part was cut. The fools.

The film is a little overlong at 144 minutes and should've been cut by about 15-20 minutes, but the compelling last hour makes up for the flabbiness. The movie was shot in the Istrian village of Vižinaa in Croatia (former Yugoslavia), substituting for France.

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A character name in credits is intentionally misspelled.
Charlie Wilson28 December 2016
Perry Lopez' character name in the movie is not Petuko. it is 'Pachuco'! An inferred slant as to Lopez' ethnicity in associating him with the Mexican subculture, 'Pachucos': one can clearly hear 'Big Joe'call Lopez 'Pachuco'. I know, I'm a South Texan, born in El Paso and raised in Corpus Christi; I had to fight-off such during my Jr High years. I am sure that the LA based mega studio did not want to inadvertently incite racial tensions in denigrating such ethnic groups thereby the intentional misspelling in the credits. A subliminal twist on pronunciation I guess; as to what is printed vs what is heard. It is quite obvious that screen writing decided to base character names on trait: Big Joe/Little Joe (obvious), Crapgame (grifter or con artist), Oddball (obvious), Cowboy (Texan), Mulligan (bad shot), Babra (Barbara) and Petuko (Mexican: audibly, Pachuco).

Wikipedia: Pachuco

Pachuco refers to a particular old school subculture of Chicanos and Mexican-Americans associated with Zoot suits, street gangs, nightlife, and flamboyant public behavior. The idea of the Pachuco – a Zoot-suited, well-dressed, street-connected flamboyant playboy of Hispanic/Latino heritage – originated in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, had moved north, following the line of migration of Mexican railroad workers ("traqueros") into Los Angeles, where it developed further.

The origin of the term "Pachuco" is uncertain, but one theory connects it to the city of El Paso, Texas, which was sometimes referred to as "Chuco Town" or "El Chuco". People migrating to El Paso would say, in Spanish, that they were going "pa' El Chuco". These migrants became known as Pachucos. The name "Pachuco" is quite possibly derived from the name of the city of Pachuca, the capital of Mexico's Hidalgo state. There have long been migrants from Hidalgo state living in Texas.
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Dragged a bit at times, but it was definitely worth the watch.
aml-9223819 December 2016
When Kelly (Clint Eastwood) captures a German Colonel in WWII, he takes him back to base, gets him drunk, and he reveals that the Germans have $16 million hidden away behind enemy lines. Kelly soon devises a plan and gathers a few other soldiers and supplies to try and take the gold for themselves.

The main reason why I watched this movie was that my Dad suggested it a few years ago, and he was eager enough to buy it on DVD so I didn't want to disappoint him. While I know this isn't one of my favorite movies, I still enjoyed it enough, which is strange since I don't really like military movies. Even though my Dad laughed at some scenes I just kind of snickered at, there were some genuinely funny parts from time to time, which surprised me because I thought it would be some serious, bland action movie.

My favorite character had to be Oddball, played by Donald Sutherland. By not saying anything specific, I thought he had the most laughs and stole the show for me as not only my favorite character, but the one I related to the most. He was laid back and liked to crack a joke, my favorite kind of people. I also found no real problems with anyone's acting, which is good for this all-star cast of people in this movie.

My only real complaint dialogue wise was that (at least the version I had) whenever German was spoken, there were no subtitles. Yes, some of it was pretty easy to comprehend without knowing what was being said, but I feel like some scenes would have benefited from the use of them. My only other real complaint was some of the pacing of the movie. At times, it felt like there were too many shots of people just standing around doing nothing or giving an exposition dump. And I know that every scene doesn't have to be an action scene, but I felt that some of them just dragged for a little bit longer than I wanted to.

Now lets go back to the positives, I loved the scenery in this movie! All of it looks beautiful and the sets look so realistic. I also liked the fact that there was only one song that would only play periodically. I think that was one of the movie's strengths, it didn't need music to tell you to be happy, or sad, or excited, you could get that based off of what was going on or the actor's expressions. But the song that they used was very catchy and I found myself singing it in my head the last time it was played. Overall, I would recommend this movie, but with the warning that it might not become your favorite movie, and that it's not a "for everybody" kind of movie.
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Light-hearted war movie fun
Leofwine_draca10 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
One of those old-fashioned all-star movies, this is a film which is very easy viewing, amiable throughout, and one which provides good-natured laughs at regular intervals. In the days of modern blockbusters which contain snappy one-liners, frenetic pacing, and more, it's refreshing to see an older movie like this which is content to take things more slowly and build up the plot before getting to the action.

The story of a plan to make a daring raid on a bank in occupied France is a fresh and interesting one, while the budget of the production is high enough to give the war and battle scenes a realistic look; you never for one second aren't convinced of the authenticity of the situation. As the scale of the journey grows, so do the laughs, one particularly good moment arising when the US General mistakenly believes that the men are advancing the lines instead of going out on a limb to get themselves some rewards instead. The ending of this film is highly suspenseful, consisting of a minutely-planned raid on the bank which is unfortunately guarded by Germans complete with three tiger tanks.

The cast is one to die for, containing heavyweight turns from the reliable Clint Eastwood and Telly Savalas, a comic performance from Don Rickles as a bumbling and greedy companion, plus one memorably kooky performance from Donald Sutherland as a whacked-out hippy who is definitely before his time; his warped character is disturbingly strange while being frequently funny at the same time. Savalas is the gruff sergeant who chews the scenery, Eastwood the somewhat bland and heroic leader who doesn't have many memorable characteristics about him.

The best thing about this film is the fine mix between war movie and comedy. One minute we're laughing along at the jokes, the next feeling down about a man who gets blown up in a minefield. The skillful mix is what makes this film watchable, as on the one hand you get to enjoy the thrills and spills of a war film, and on the other you get to laugh at some fine comedy and have a good time while you're watching as well. Good music and photography complement the film on either side, and although the running time is long, the time goes by pretty quickly and never outstays its welcome. Recommended, light-hearted fun with just the right balance of action and laughs.
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Burning Bridges
wes-connors4 June 2016
Credits roll as The Mike Curb Congregation perform their catchy "Burning Bridges" during a thunderstorm punctuated by fiery explosions. Believe it or not, it's 1944 and the Germans are bombing Americans stationed in France. While future "Kojak" TV detective Telly Savalas (as Big Joe) barks orders, rugged box-office star Clint Eastwood (as Kelly) saunters on screen. After inquiries about liquor and loose women, Mr. Eastwood discovers gold in a German prisoner's possession. Even better, a $16 million fortune in gold is stored in a bank vault, just behind enemy lines. "Beach Party" series adult and insult comedian Don Rickles shows interest. Future lovable bigot "Archie Bunker" Carroll O'Connor joins the fun. Eastwood organizes "Kelly's Heroes" and a cast of dirty dozens in an attempt to infiltrate German territory and steal the gold...

Writer Troy Kennedy Martin and director Brian G. Hutton may have been trying for satirical comedy with this one, but "Kelly's Heroes" fails to thrive in its World War II setting. They should have set the story in (then) present-day Vietnam; the situation, that of a heist, hints at imperialism and flirts with anti-war sentiments. The most obviously inappropriate character is pseudo-hippie Donald Sutherland (as Oddball), but Don Rickles and others area also misplaced. The action consists of character actors shouting their lines amid explosions, to which Eastwood plays straight man. A sequence involving land mines, including a gun battle, is very skillfully done; momentarily, the film is lifted. It does get back to basics, those being loud character actors and fiery explosions. In a film like this, loud character actors and fiery explosions are gold.

****** Kelly's Heroes (6/23/70) Brian G. Hutton ~ Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland, Don Rickles
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Crazy! I mean like so many positive waves maybe we can't lose! You're on!
Spikeopath1 February 2016
Brian G. Hutton followed the considerable success he had had with 1968's Where Eagles Dare, with this, another men on a mission movie - only this one is very much a different animal. Hutton directs and Troy Kennedy-Martin writes the screenplay, it stars Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland and Don Rickles. Music is by Lalo Schifrin and cinematography is by Gabriel Figueroa.

When it comes to light that there is a considerable stash of Nazi gold waiting to be plundered behind enemy lines in occupied France, a group of maverick U.S. soldiers set off on a deadly mission to locate and gain...

Utterly wonderful. Kelly's Heroes mixes together war movie action staples with black comedy gold, the greed and insanity of war having its cheek poked by a sharp and bloody tongue. The script is clever, often very funny, often poignant and poised, and it's this that lets a great cast have a ball. You have the straight laced delivery of Eastwood playing against Savalas' macho rage, and Rickles' jumping- bean turn jostling with Sutherland's pre-hippy malarkey. Character names range from the likes of Oddball, Crapgame, Big Joe, Little Joe and Cowboy, a rogue group of soldiers deciding they want to grab something for themselves.

The journey to find the gold is of course far from straight forward, with Hutton constructing some white hot action scenes. And it's here where it often gets forgotten that Kelly's Heroes does not forget the blood shed during war. People do die, it's not all fun and frolics, and Hutton knows his way around great suspense passages. Witness the brilliant minefield sequence and the ticking clock finale where we are never sure if any of the men will achieve their goal. So laugh while you ponder, then? Absolutely. Kelly's Heroes is caper and chaos, beef and brawn, but always cunning and crafty as well. 9/10
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Ridiculous Writing!!
ronsbhs23 January 2016
What STONED 60's writer wrote "Oddball's" dialog? absolutely nobody talked like that in WWII. Were they only trying to appeal to the 60's "peace-nik"crowd when this was written (After all, it had to be written in the 60's since it was released in 1970)

Terrible writing, story shot full of too many holes, without the many stars carrying this it would never have made any money.

Clint Eastwood surely must have needed the money to make this one as it surely wasn't up to the story lines of his most successful films.

I'm wondering if what we're seeing today is the original or the many re-writes that were rampant during the selling-off of all of MGM's assets.
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Most realistic platoon level combat war movie
fltelepath-113 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
It's hard to believe that Troy Martin wrote this. As far as I know he was never in combat. He was born in 1932. Possibly Korea. But not listed in his bio. Martin must have know someone who lived it because it is far too accurate. The motivations are spot on. It's funny and serious and for me this movie works. Most war movies are hard to watch because the characters are written by people who haven't lived it. It's either strained or silly. Not this movie. This film really gets the hierarchy of the combat arms service-Army and Marines, correct. The There are those taking the brunt of the terror in the front, "We're point section for the whole damn army." That line just about sums it up.
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grantss4 October 2015
Great war-comedy. Hilarious in its take on the silliness of the military, with a decent amount of drama thrown in. Reminiscent of MASH, the movie and the series, and Catch 22, the book (the movie adaptation was less good).

Great performances from an all-star cast. Casting is spot-on: Clint Eastwood as the hard-bitten, decisive, take-command Kelly; Telly Savalas as the tough sergeant; Donald Sutherland as the hilariously insane Oddball; Don Rickles as the deal-a-minute stores sergeant; Carroll O'Connor as the clueless general. Also includes Harry Dean Stanton in a relatively minor role.

Also has one of the best and most memorable theme songs of all time - "Burning Bridges" by the Mike Curb Congregation.
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Delightfully absurd and charming.
Erik Lundin15 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is something as odd as a feel good movie that takes place during the final stages of world war II. A merry gang of disillusioned and wary soldiers led by Clint Eastwood and Telly Savalas learns about a large deposit of gold hidden behind enemy lines. After joining up with a slightly unhinged tank commander played beautifully by Donald Sutherland they decide to go after the gold rather than serving as cannon fodder for the official cause.

The movie is quite absurd at times and takes many liberties with reality, but it's so charming and up beat that you swallow it all, grenades, hook, lion and sinker. The characters are both bad ass and human at the same time and much easier to identify with than the stereotypical action heroes.

Give this one a chance and you will not regret it!
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Meticulous planning and execution leads to a successful treasure.
braddugg8 September 2015
Meticulous planning and execution leads to a successful treasure.

In life too, if we plan and execute meticulously, we shall end up with a treasure that's worth more than our own anticipation That's a life lesson to be learned from this.

Now, the film is comical and I am surprised that an end to end war film that is devoid of any politics can be so hilarious. I am more so surprised about the dialogs and their delivery. Writing is exceptional but the acting is much more substantial than the writing. Those lines could have been bland, if not expressed well.

Clint Eastwood as Kelly stands out and the other one for me was Donald Sutherland as Sergeant Oddball. These are the most memorable performances of this film.

Technically, this is brilliant, the war seems real and the plot is inspiring in itself. Money drives the soldiers into greed and makes them heroes for their country too. There is an irony that's worth appreciating in the film.

This film is a proper commercial war film, that has songs, action, emotion, humor and above all war. It ticks off the word go and takes us through interesting turns to a happy destiny. I am all for such interesting bumpy rides and this film was that one.

Thanks to director, Brian G Hutton who made another wonderful film WHERE EAGLES DARE prior to this one.

A 4/5 for one of the most hilarious war films you may ever see.
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"Well we're all nuts or we wouldn't be here."
classicsoncall8 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
A typical World War II movie this is not. If you had any doubt it's all dispelled when Donald Sutherland appears on screen as Sherman tank commander Oddball. An anachronism if there ever was one, Oddball represents not one, but two distinct eras that followed the 1940's. His 'Hi Man' and 'don't you dig how beautiful it is' corresponds to the following decade's beatnik period, at the same time mingling with the Sixties' fascination with hippies and their 'freaks' and 'negative waves'. All pretense at a serious war film is done away with pretty quickly, and that's not even taking into account the impossible task set before Kelly's heroes.

Thinking about it now, Kelly (Clint Eastwood) took a lot on faith when he took the German officer's word for fourteen thousand bars of gold stashed away in a French bank. Personally, I would have been a lot more skeptical myself, but that's just me. Not only was Crapgame a pretty good name for Rickles' character, but pretty much described the mission and it's chances of success.

Just before my viewing of the film on Turner Classics, moderator Ben Mankiewicz explained how the production was filmed in (then) Yugoslavia because the country maintained so much of it's military hardware left over from WWII. So at least there's that element of authenticity to complement the story's action sequences. Not sure about the title though; I realize it was Eastwood's Kelly who came up with the scheme, but he was subordinate to Big Joe (Telly Savalas) rank wise. To my mind, Savalas might have had even more screen time than the top billed star, causing me to think that this might have been better served up as 'Telly's Heroes'.
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This shouldn't have been a comedy.
punishmentpark5 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
A lot of people like this one, apparently. I suppose it has much to do with the mostly terrific action scenes and the attention to detail, such as German soldiers who actually speak German for once. I suppose a lot of people also really love Donald Sutherland's part. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised when he finally showed up, but he later on takes his part way too far into overdrive - the same goes for Carroll O'Connor.

The premise is preposterous and morally reprehensible. How are we supposed to sympathize with this awful bunch that seems indifferent to the suffering of millions ("All we do is we fight and we die and for what?" they even ask) and choose to steal an enormous load of gold, which in turn was most likely stolen by the Nazi's. Then there's the final destruction of the little French town where there's only a few citizens in sight, but when it's all over, there seem to be no casualties among the numerous villagers? Sure, sure. And striking a deal with a Nazi German in a tank (that isn't functional at one point, but when the doors of the bank are to be blown open, it suddenly works again?) and letting him drive away with part of the gold? And how is anyone going to get away with the loot unknown and unseen? That sh*t don't fly (no more), sorry.

Action-wise, you can not go wrong here, but I think it should have been way more grim and gritty, and they could have pretty much skipped the comedy altogether. Then, there could have been a seriously reckoning for this military crew that does not take the saving of nations in ultimate distress seriously.

Still, a lot of pretty sweet action scenes, so 5 out of 10.
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A heist behind enemy lines
Tweekums14 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
When a German colonel is captured by Kelly, a US soldier, black bars are found in his bag; he claims they are just lead so he could sink the bag in a river but a few scratches reveal them to be gold. After questioning him Kelly learns there are fourteen thousand more bars in a bank in Clermont… Kelly decides there and then that he intends to get the gold. He will need help though as Clermont is thirty miles behind the German lines. The rest of his platoon are soon persuaded to join in; they are fed up of risking their lives for Uncle Sam; they want to do something for themselves for a change. They will need support though; this comes in the form of three Sherman tanks under the command of the distinctly odd 'Oddball'. It won't be easy; before they can get their hands on the gold they will have to pass through the front line, pass through thirty miles of enemy territory and finally deal with the German's in the town and their three Tiger tanks.

This is a fun film; nicely combining a war movie with a heist movie to give us a really entertaining time. Clint Eastward puts in a solid performance as Kelly and Telly Savalas is equally good as his sergeant 'Big Joe' however it is Donald Sutherland's portrayal of Oddball that is the most memorable; he gives us a great character; a hippy long before there were hippies! The rest of the fairly large main cast are also pretty good. The film contains some great action which is bloodless so there are no disturbing images. That isn't to say that nobody dies; a few good guys and dozens of Germans are gunned down or blown up; the ratio may be more than a bit unlikely but this was never meant to be taken that seriously. As well as action there are plenty of laughs to be had along the way. If you are a fan of any of the main stars this is a must see and I'd certainly recommend it to anybody wanting a war movie that isn't too serious; the PG rating means it can be enjoyed by all apart from young children.
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Eleven Stars (11) if I could! :)
gilligan196521 May 2015
This is an absolutely fantastic movie with a star-studded cast at their best - and, with a wonderful soundtrack by Mike Curb, the king of biker movie music!

"Kelly's Heroes" has a great script with a lot of creative and funny lines; great expressions on the faces of the characters; great action; great ordnance of World War 2, like the American Sherman tanks (the Tiger 1s are good, too, but, they are actually Russian T-34 chassis with 'Tiger 1' look-alike upper bodies built upon them...but, who cares!); etc.

Besides Clint Eastwood, the cast is full of acting greats such as Carroll O'Connor; Donald Sutherland; Don Rickles; Telly Savalas; Gavin MacLeod; Harry Dean Stanton; Stuart Margolin; and, more.

I love the soundtrack. The song "Sunshine," sung by Hank Williams, Jr. and written by Mike Curb, is fabulous. "Burning Bridges" is also a great are the rest.

This is such a great movie, in a class all of it's own! A World War 2 comedy/drama that actually works well and is believable in how servicemen interact...and, all is directed by a plumber!?!?

Check that out! The same plumber also directed the classic "Where Eagles Dare," also with Clint Eastwood.

If you're a war buff and like to laugh, watch this movie.

RIP Brian G. Hutton, Telly Savalas, and, Carroll O'Connor.
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Sutherland hippilarious in irreverent WWII heist movie
SnoopyStyle2 May 2015
Kelly (Clint Eastwood) goes behind the lines and capture a German Colonel. Big Joe (Telly Savalas) is more interested in women and hotels than any military intelligence. They are getting hit by their own fire as well as the Germans. Kelly discovers that the Germans are actually transporting gold. As everybody pulls out, Kelly intends to steal the gold with a few of his fellow soldiers. Their Captain is more concerned about transporting a yacht to Paris while his men take a 3 day rest in the middle of nowhere. Crapgame (Don Rickles) is an opportunistic supply sergeant. They recruit Oddball (Donald Sutherland) and his three Sherman tanks. The gungho General Colt (Carroll O'Connor) berates his men for their lack of fighting spirit. When Kelly's men break through, he eagerly follows their advance.

This is a fun WWII movie. It's really a heist movie. The war is full of ridiculousness. This has more in common with MASH and that's not simply about Sutherland. He does create one of most memorable characters around. He is hippilarious. It's an irreverent take on the chaos and the incompetence of war. There are a lot of action blowing up lots of stuff. It's one of those movies where lots of Germans get killed. At the core, it's a really fun heist movie.
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Clint Eastwood Heisting Gold In War, I'm In!
Bearded MovieGuy11 March 2015
Kelly's Heroes is a fun World War 2 Heist movie with a fantastic cast including Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas and Donald Sutherland. Kelly and a bunch of soldiers go 30 miles behind enemy lines to rob a bank holding 16,000 gold bars. This is much easier said then done since there are a lot of German soldiers, and when they are not fighting them or walking through mine fields, they still have to contend with their own air force shooting at them or bombing the bridges they need to use. The action in Kelly's Heroes is fairly realistic, and there is a great tank scene near the end, but where it really shines is with the cast being allowed to play off each other and Donald Sutherland just stealing every scene he is in. Kelly's Heroes is well made, and quite enjoyable, so if you are in the mood for a not quite traditional war/heist movie, then Kelly is your man. 4 Beards Out Of 5 Check out my video review @
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A must watch
Isaiah Dummer22 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
If you're thinking about seeing a movie I would suggest you take a change of pace. Instead of going to the theater and paying a lot of money try watching a much older movie. One movie that has stood the test of time is a movie called Kelly's Heroes. A movie that takes place during World War 2 and it is about a squad of soldiers on leave who plan to rob an enemy bank forty miles behind the enemy lines that has sixteen million dollars in gold bars. It's not to miss. Even though this movie is forty years old and that many of you might not have even heard of it the film can still be quite entertaining. Unlike most movies about World War 2 that are action thrillers this movie is a comedy and there are definitely some very funny moments in this film. The one downfall off all the comedy scenes is that they all center around one character "Oddball". Luckily for the film the actor Donald Sutherland did an amazing job bring the character to life especially the voice he uses. Even from the first time he talks you can tell he is playing an idiotic hippie. If that wasn't good enough this film also has the famous Clint Eastwood with his cold hard stare is perfect for the battle hardened leader Private Kelly (hence the title Kelly's Heroes).

The movie is pretty funny but comedy isn't the only thing this movie brings to the table. It also has some good firefights. It's not a real World War 2 movie unless there are bullets flying through the air, machine guns going full-auto, people dropping dead and explosions everywhere. Probably the best fight in the movie is when the squad reaches the town with the bank in it and they have to face forty soldiers and three tiger tanks. I don't want to spoil anything so I would suggest to anyone who doesn't want to see the whole movie see that fight sequence. It doesn't disappoint.

The most amazing thing about this movie is how the blend the comedy and action together so fluidly. One moment you're on the edge of your seat the next moment your laughing your butt off. An example that comes to mind is when the squad is first trying to cross enemy lines. They're all in jeeps and they're driving as fast as they can and Germans are all around them shooting and they're shooting back. Then one of them ask about the air strike that is supposed to come in. it then cuts to this guy lying in bed then an alarm goes off and in his haste he picks up a bar of gold instead of the phone and yells "fire". A couple of seconds later he realizes it's a gold bar so he picks up the phone and yells fire. Then it cuts back to the fighting and now explosions are going off all over the place. It's really funny

If you are looking for a good movie to watch try Kelly's heroes. The movie may be forty years old and the action scenes may be a little out dated for some people (not me of course), the comedy is still gold. It was funny then and it's funny now. Evan today I still chuckle at the movie. It really is a movie you must see.
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Owing not a little to Hogans Heroes!
dan.adams1 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
In this film,Clint Eastward gets to face down a Tiger tank to a melody taken from an Italian western.Just a bit breathtaking.It is a scene possibly inserted to placate fans of 'the man with no name" Whatever,it certainly works on the Kraut tank sergeant. Then there is fellow played by Donald Sutherland,a sort of "hippie tanked commander"(not a spelling mistake,he is forever taking the wine,the cheese and the rays")Anyrate this chap is a bit of as time traveler,a refugee from the late Viet Nam conflict where as "Oddball"he would have fitted in nicely.All in all this is an action-packed chaotic send-up of the military with a happy ending!
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