Kelly’s Heroes. A World War 2 heist movie.

One of the most popular films based on World war two is the comedy drama Kelly’s heroes. It is set in France in late 1944, most of the country is liberated but German resistance is still strong. A plucky band of GI everymen suddenly gets the luckiest break of their lives thrust upon them. It’s a chance to get rich beyond their wildest dreams and stick it to their profiting and uncaring Chief of Command. The film also features a variety of Tanks including a Tiger 1 and three King Tigers plus the stalwart Shermans of the Americans. Watching the film, you have to wonder what it must have been like to be the one tank driving. You can experience what its like to drive a tank with Armourgeddonand wonder what it must have been like for the actors in Kelly’s Heroes. Back now to this great film.

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Private Kelly (Clint Eastwood) comes across a German General trying to escape the war and secretly smuggling gold bars disguised as lead weights.  Kelly fills the Officer up with drink and finds out there are millions of dollars’ worth of bullion hidden in a vault only a few hours away. The only trouble is its still in occupied France and the Germans are just about the counterattack. Being shelled by their own side (the first of two occurrences in the film) the GI’s retreat and Kelly tells the Sergeant Big Joe (Telly Savalas) about the gold. The men want to try and recover it but Big Joe is unsure. He sees it as his mission to get the men through the war unscathed rather than put them at a massive risk plus the trouble they would get from the military police if they get caught.

Kelly enlists the help to the platoon’s dodgy quartermaster Crapgame. He finds the materials they need for the raid and also brings in the strangely hippy and chilled out Oddball (played brilliantly by David Sutherland) and his three Sherman Tanks. They agree to rendezvous outside the town of Clermont where the gold is hidden in the banks vault.  A series of events contrive to delay them and much to Big Joe’s regret two of the GI’s are killed on the way. The main sticking point is that a bridge that the tanks are going to use. This is part of a great scene where Moriarty, part of Oddballs team,voices concern that the vital bridge will not be standing. Oddball replies, “Always with the negative waves Moriarty… It’s a mother, beautiful bridge and it’s gonna be there”.  The bridge is still up when they arrive causing Oddball to shout “Still up!” Only for it be totally destroy be an Allied bomber second later to which Oddball immediately says “No it ain’t. See what sending out them negative waves did, Moriarty?” Moriarty points out he’s had nothing but good thoughts about the bridge the whole time.

After overcoming the hurdle of 3 King tigers using one to actually break into the bank the GI’s and the German Tank team split the gold and go there separate ways very rich men.


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