REVIEW: Kelly’s Heroes (1970)

kellys-heroes-ElenaSquareEyesWhen Kelly (Clint Eastwood) discovers a secret stash of Nazi gold bars, he leads a group of U.S. soldiers secretly across enemy lines to get their hands on the treasure.

Kelly’s Heroes is so much fun! All the characters are the archetypes you see in war films but that makes it no less enjoyable. Kelly is the rogue who discovers the treasure, puts the plan together and slowly recruits all the men he’d need to pull it off. Big Joe (Telly Savalas) is the Master Sergeant and the platoon’s leader who really didn’t particularly want to be dragged into Kelly’s caper. Crapgame (Don Rickles) is the greedy supply sergeant who is always looking to make money somewhere. Oddball (Donald Sutherland) is, like his name suggests, rather odd and the leader of three Sherman tanks. He’s one of those characters where you don’t quite know if he’s mad or is just playing at it (much like Murdock in The A-Team). Naturally the higher-ups are often bumbling idiots and it’s the guys who are on the front line who are the brave heroes. 

Kelly’s Heroes has some great shoot outs, especially one where some of the men are trapped in a minefield. It starts off tense and ends up being thrilling. The finale in a French town where the men are stalking Nazi Tiger tanks is both a lot of fun and clever. The showdown with the final tank is a great twist and also allows to show a more human side of the war and that really both sides are often just following orders and are normal men.

The highlight of Kelly’s Heroes really are the characters, the great performances and chemistry between all the actors. It’s an ensemble cast and while some like Eastwood and Sutherland stand out, it’s the humour and comradery that makes Kelly’s Heroes such a fun film to watch. So often War films are serious and sad, and while there’s certainly merit in them, it’s still nice to watch a film set during a terrible time that still manages to be a fun heist film.

Kelly’s Heroes is a lot of fun and an easy film to watch. There’s laughs, shoot outs and Clint Eastwood on a tank. 5/5.

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