Kelly's Heroes

   

 

           Him? Name's Kelly. Used to be a lieutenant, pretty good one, too, till they gave him orders to attack

                the wrong hill. Wiped out a half a company of G.I.'s. Somebody had to get the blame    

                               and he got picked.

 

In WWII France, Kelly (Clint Eastwood), a former lieutenant demoted to private as a scapegoat, captures a German colonel in Intelligence. Kelly's superior, Master Seargant "Big Joe", only wants to know the locations of recreational facilities in the town of Nancy that his unit can enjoy when they get there, but when Kelly notices his prisoner has a gold bar, he gets him drunk to try to get information. Before he is killed by an attacking German tank, the drunken POW blurts out an interesting tidbit: There is a cache of 14,000 gold bars (valued at $16 million) stored in a bank vault 30 miles behind enemy lines in the town of Clermont.

Kelly recruits the rest of his platoon, including skeptical Big Joe, to sneak off and steal it. Eventually, others have to be recruited (or invite themselves) into the scheme, such as an opportunistic supply sergeant "Crapgame"; a proto-hippie sherman tank commander, "Oddball"; and a number of stereotypical GI's presented as competent, but war-weary veterans.

The obvious antagonists are the Germans. However, it quickly becomes clear that the motley band's own superior officers are just as much an obstacle, if not more so; the company's own commanding officer, Captain Maitland (Hal Buckley), cares more about turning the campaign into a personal shopping spree than for the actual welfare of his men. And when intercepted radio messages of the unauthorized private enterprise raid are brought to the attention of gung-ho American Major General Colt (O'Connor), he misinterprets them as communications between patriotic soldiers pushing forward and rushes to the front line to exploit the "breakthrough".

Kelly's men race to reach the French town before their own army. There, they find it defended by three formidable Tiger 1 tanks with infantry support. The Americans are able to handle all but one Tiger, which is in front of the bank itself. Ironically, it is the cooperation of the German tank commander that proves vital to achieving their goal. Powerless to defeat the armored behemoth, Kelly, Oddball and Big Joe gain the German's assistance by offering him and his crew a share of the loot. They divide up the gold and go their separate ways, just in time to avoid meeting the still-clueless Colt (who is mistaken by the townspeople for Charles De Gaul. Maitland himself enters the bank to find a less-than-respectful message left for him, while his men, the self-serving heroes of the hour, make their escape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Movie Script

Directed by Brian G. Hutton
Produced by Brian G. Hutton
Written by Troy Kennedy-Martin
Starring Clint Eastwood
Telly Savalas
Don Rickles
Donald Sutherland
Carroll O'Connor
Music by  
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) June 23, 1970
Running time 144 minutes
Language English
Budget  

 

 

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