Kelly’s Heroes (1970)

kellysheroes

A motley collection of American GI’s hatch a scheme to steal $16 million in gold bullion from a bank behind the German lines.

Very much a product of the wave of anti-Vietnam films of the time, Kelly’s Heroes has more in common with the likes of Catch 22 and M*A*S*H – both released the same year – than your average Gung Ho WWII movie. Clint Eastwood at his prime heads up a brilliant cast of offbeat hustlers and crackpots including Telly Savalas as a hard nosed sergeant and the pick of them all, Donald Sutherland, as a hilariously anachronistic hippy tank commander who goes into battle bearing country & western and paint balls. The plot is a marriage of The Dirty Dozen and The Italian Job and is never afraid to chop and change genres; the war elements providing the action and pyrotechnics and the heist the quirky characters and comedy, all resulting in an amusing homage to Sergio Leone as Clint enters into a western showdown with a Tiger tank.

It’s certainly an XY chromosome pleaser and as such its appeal may be lost on the female demographic but it was one of my favourites as a boy and has lost none of its appeal after all these years. Groovy, baby.

8/10

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