In WWII, a squad of American soldiers ventures behind enemy
lines to steal a cache of Nazi gold from a heavily-guarded bank.
Kelly's Heroes (1970)
Directed by Brian G. Hutton
Written by Troy Kennedy-Martin
Starring Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles,
Donald Sutherland, Carroll O'Connor, Harry Dean Stanton,
Gavin MacLeod, Richard Davalos, Len Lesser, Gene Collins
Kelly's Heroes is not your average war movie. It has more in common with Ocean's Eleven than it does with Saving Private Ryan. And I think that's what makes it so enjoyable. These aren't hardcore patriots. These are a ragtag group of men looking to make a quick million bucks. Paired with this unique bunch of characters are some insanely good battle sequences to remind audiences that this is still a war movie.
Clint Eastwood is Pvt. Kelly, a soft-spoken badass who learns that there is $16 million worth of Nazi gold in a bank behind enemy lines. He recruits a squad to help him steal it, and the heist is on. You've got hardass Big Joe (Telly Savalas), funny but serious Crapgame (Don Rickles), and obnoxious but reliable tank commander Oddball (Donald Sutherland), among a host of unknowns making up this crazy bunch of skilled soldiers looking for a piece of the action, including Uncle Leo from Seinfeld. My favorite thing about this movie, apart from the battle sequences, is the way they portray the war from the soldier's perspective on both sides. There's a scene towards the end where Kelly and his team make a deal with a Nazi tank commander, and he takes it almost immediately for a share of the gold. It's hilarious for a number of reasons, and just helped reinforce my enjoyment of the film.
Kelly's Heroes is a fantastic war movie and an even better heist movie. It sports a talented cast of 70's greats, a ridiculously satisfying ending, and some of the most likable soldier characters ever put to film. There's very little not to like about this film. Overall, Kelly's Heroes is a badass guy flick with a killer cast. What more could you ask for?