Kelly's Heroes (1970) Directed by Brian G. Hutton
a jpoc movie review
Mash meets the Dirty Dozen.
Main Cast
Clint Eastwood Lt. Kelly
Telly Savalas Master Sgt. Big Joe
Don Rickles Staff Sgt. Crapgame
Donald Sutherland Sgt. Oddball, Tank Commander
Hal Buckley Captain Maitland
My Rating & viewing notes
Four out of ten.
I watched this on DVD at a friend's house in 2002.
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The jpoc review
Coming from a movie era when caper movies could be as good as "The Italian Job", Kelly and his heroes set off in search of Nazi gold as the Allied armies swept across France in the closing months of WWII. Unfortunately, getting the gold turned out to be easier than hitting the spot with the movie.

Sgt. Big Joe (Telly Savalas) and Lt. Kelly (Clint Eastwood) are left in charge of their platoon while their officer, Captain Maitland (Hal Buckley) is busy transporting his looted yacht back from the North East of Fance to Paris. Big Joe wants to find a decent hotel and some women for his platoon in the soon to be liberated town of Nancy. So Kelly is sent off to capture a prisoner who can give that information but instead he stumbles over a German Intelligence Officer who is responsible for 14,000 bars of Nazi gold stashed in a bank thirty miles inside the German lines.

Big Joe is reluctant to get involved but when it is clear that the rest of the platoon is with Kelly, he agrees to come along and they set off together with three Sherman tanks lead by Sgt. Oddball (Donald Sutherland) which just happen to have slipped out of the army's chain of command.

The three big stars, together with Don Rickles as Staff Sgt. Crapgame the corrupt quartermaster who bankrolls the operation with supplies and then tags along to protect his investment are the only people called on in an acting role. Everyone else is confined to a bitpart. Eastwood looks younger and less sure of himself than in his earlier "Dollars" Spaghetti Westerns and, by his own standards, he gives a weak performance. Perhaps this is because he is always better cast as a lone outsider and not as a leader and motivator of men. Savalas does a bit better than this but he too is restricted by a script that deprives him of the kind of quickfire one-liners that are his stock in trade. Donald Sutherland's role as Oddball was billed as WWII's first hippy but it is closer to a recreation of his character of "Hawkeye" Pierce from the original Mash movie which was released just a few months before Kelly's Heroes.

It's not a bad movie in itself but it is really just a raking over of the glowing embers of the much better Dirty Dozen and Mash which featured Savalas once and Surtherland twice. If you do enjoy this movie, youl should check out those two films which are better war-comedies and also "The Italian Job" which is the definitive crime caper of the era.