Kelly's Heroes
*** GM
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Don Rickles, Telly Savalas, Gavin MacLeod, Carroll O'Connor


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This is a 1970 movie, starring Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, Donald Sutherland, Gavin Macleod and Carroll O'Connor. I watched it simply because I was told that it was the film that "Three Kings" ripped off (by someone who hasn't seen EITHER movie in its entirety), so I wanted to check it out to ascertain whether or not there was any truth that.

The similarities to "Three Kings" are thus - a group of guys in the middle of a war discover that there's a lot of gold nearby, and they formulate a plan to go get it. But, in "Three Kings," the four guys' quest for riches leads them into a huge moral quandary and forces them to be concerned with the lives of refugees, "Kelly's Heroes" have no such qualms.

Kelly (Eastwood) discovers the whereabouts of gold in them thar German-occupied hills during World War II, so he begins formulating a plan to take his platoon over enemy lines to get it. After convincing greedy munitions man Crapgame (Rickles) and spaced-out tank commanders Oddball (Sutherland) and Moriarty (MacLeod) and the troop commander Big Joe (Savalas) to go along with the plan, they push so far into enemy territory that General Colt (O'Connor) thinks they're brave fighters with true spirit and rushes out to commend them, threatening to ruin their plan.

It's a big-time war movie, so it appeals directly to the testosterone. Lots of tanks, gunfire, minefields, etc. This is also one of those great ensemble cast pictures that makes it all worthwhile just to see the performances. Eastwood is his expressionless best as Kelly, never seeming to break a sweat or get worried about anything, and it even includes a really good jab at his Western films. Savalas is fun as the hard-ass sergeant, O'Connor is just as fun as the overblown and cannot-speak-without-insulting-someone general. Sutherland is funny and a bit creepy as the weirdo dependent on 'positive waves.'

The write-up on the back of the video box seemed to depict it as a slapstick comedy. It was definitely funny, but it wasn't strictly screwball antics. No life-altering experiences or moral quagmires... it's basically just a bank heist in the thick of the fight in World War II, and it's very well done.

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