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Film Review - Kelly's Heroes
Remember World War II when everyone was pure of heart, and fighting for the "good cause"? OK, this isn't about that.
Kelly's Heroes is a more realistic view of mankind. These guys are here because they got drafted. They've been shot at the whole way from Omaha Beach and now they've got a chance to cash in. What could be more American than that?
Kelly is a soldier who used to be a lieutenant. He followed orders and got busted for it. Now he has discovered a cache of gold bars just waiting to be stolen.
He recruits the others from his outfit, a supply sergeant, and "Oddball" the tank commander. This merry band breaks through enemy lines in the name of greed.
This is a fun film, not reflective of the era it depicts but the era in which it was made, 1970. Oddball, more than anyone else, purely defines the film as a Vietnam statement. He's a hippy in uniform, calling people on the phone and barking like a dog.
Perhaps the central theme of greed is the most obvious statement about war. The fact is everyone in Kelly's Heroes is in it for themselves. Kelly and the men take off when their captain steals a yacht and takes it to Paris. The general is in it for the glory, the rest for the gold. There is no patriotic "Win one for the Gipper" message sugaring this down. War is greed.
Notable performances include Donald Sutherland as Oddball. The character would be out of place had the film not been made during the Vietnam War. Don Rickles as Crapgame the supply sergeant -- you can bet this guy would have been a millionaire with or without Kelly. Finally, Clint Eastwood is Kelly. It's typical Clint. Very focused and very few words.
Directed by Brian G. Hutton
Released in 1970
MPAA Rating: PG
Reviewed by Mongo