Kelly's Heroes

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Kelly's Heroes is an offbeat 1970 war film about a group of enterprising World War II American soldiers who conspire to rob a bank holding enemy gold behind German lines.

Directed by Brian G. Hutton. Written by Troy Kennedy Martin.
Never have so few taken so many for so much.taglines
"While our armies are advancing so fast and everyone's knocking themselves out to be heroes, we are holding ourselves in reserve in case the Krauts mount a counteroffensive which threatens Paris... or maybe even New York. Then we can move in and stop them. But for 1.6 million dollars, we could become heroes for three days."
"You know once those things get rolling, they'll blow that whole town to pieces, including us, Kelly!"
"Oh, you're too smart to let that happen, Joe."
"Oh, wow..."
"You know what's inside that bank, man? There's 16 million dollars' worth of gold in that bank, sweetheart."
"That's about 65 million Marks."
"And Sergeant, all you have to do to have an equal share of this money, is to crank this turret around and blow a hole in that door."
"Up yours, baby."

Staff Sergeant "Crapgame"

  • Oh, him? Name's Kelly. Used to be a lieutenant. Pretty good one, too. Till they gave orders to attack the wrong hill. Wiped out half a company of GI's. Somebody had to take the blame and he got picked.

Sergeant "Oddball"

  • We see our role as essentially defensive in nature. While our armies are advancing so fast and everyone's knocking themselves out to be heroes, we are holding ourselves in reserve in case the Krauts mount a counteroffensive which threatens Paris... or maybe even New York. Then we can move in and stop them. But for 1.6 million dollars, we could become heroes for three days.

Major General Colt

  • [Listening to Kelly on the radio] Attack, attack, attack! Listen to this guy! That's the kinda fighting spirit I was talkin' about! If he's a major he's a colonel now!
  • I'm gonna decorate every man in this penetration unit, whoever they are. They saved the reputation of this entire army. [To his officers] You're the ones supposed to be fightin' this battle, and you don't even know where the hell it is! Well, I'll tell you where it is. It's thirty miles beyond where you thought it was. Booker! Come on, now, let's get this army of mine back in the war!

First Sergeant Mulligan

  • [Upon seeing Kelly, assuming Kelly is there to yell at him for shelling Kelly's unit by accident the previous night] Wait, Kelly, wait. Will you listen to me a second? Will ya listen to me! It's not me, I tell ya, it's not me! I - I can't tell one shell from another, they all look alike! They all look alike. If was me, if I could tell, would I be here? WOULD I BE HERE?! I wouldn't be here, Kelly!


Under Kilroy: [Written on the wall of the bank, after it's been cleaned out] Up yours, baby.



Big Joe: [speaking into radio mic] We've been waiting here for two hours...
[pause, listening to radio headset]
Big Joe: No, that's map section three, not four...
[pause, listening.]
Big Joe: I don't give a damn what command says about anything!
[pause, listening.]
Big Joe: Listen, Mulligan, I don't think I'm getting through to you. You're dropping your damn barrage on our position!
[cut to Kelly motioning to the German Colonel to sit]
Kelly: Sitten Sie.
[cut back to Big Joe ]
Big Joe: You can't hear me? The reason you can't hear me is because you're firing your mortars on your end, and they're landing here, at our end!
[pause, listening.]
Big Joe: No, the Krauts aren't here! We're here!
[pause, listening.]
Big Joe: Mulligan, your bombs are coming down on our heads! I don't know where the Krauts are. Just lift your goddamned barrage! Over!
[throws radio mic into jeep with Little Joe ]

Big Joe: [looking around inside a yacht where Captain Maitland is standing] What are you doing in there, sir?
Capt. Maitland: I'm checking out the motor.
Big Joe: The motor? What for?
Capt. Maitland: We're pulling out and I want to see if this yacht is worth taking back to base.
Big Joe: What about Nancy!?
Capt. Maitland: Third Army's taking over. We’re going into reserve. Once they take Nancy, we go back into the line.
Big Joe: Aw, Captain, I don't think you have the welfare of your men at heart here! This is a big, big town, with a lot of with a lot of passionate broads... great restaurants, feather beds in rooms with hot water... Look, Captain, we've been rained on, pushed on, bombed on... mortared on by Mulligan all the way from the Normandy beachhead!
Capt. Maitland: I'm aware of that problem, Sergeant.
Big Joe: “I’m aware of that problem...” You've been aware of that problem ever since we got out of the water at Omaha! Look, why is it that every time we get to a town like Nancy, it’s these clowns with the clean uniforms and ties that get to ride the trucks into town and make their pitch?
Capt. Maitland: The General says we pull out, so we pull out.
Big Joe: Look, Captain! You can't let them do this! I gotta get my men some broads before they start freaking-out with each other!
Capt. Maitland: I'm aware that that situation might be developing... [looks around] Think I could get this into the hold of a B-17?
Big Joe: We're point section to the whole damn Army! Nancy's our town, Captain!
[voice from outside] Hey, Big Joe!
Big Joe: What is it!?
[voice from outside] Babra says there's a company of Germans pushing up the road!
Big Joe: I'll be with you in a minute! [turns to Capt. Maitland ]
Big Joe: Look, Captain! We got it all figured out. We even got a guide! All we have to do is get in there!
Capt. Maitland: There’s a couple of German divisions who say you can't.
Big Joe: OK! So we need a little help!
Capt. Maitland: All I need is to figure out how to get this yacht out of here. [pause] You get back to the barn. I'll get the Engineers and do it myself.
Big Joe: You're supposed to be in charge of this outfit!
Capt. Maitland: You're doing such a good job, Sergeant- why should I get in your way?

Big Joe: If I hear any more threats against Captain Maitland's life, if I hear anymore wild talk about going down to Headquarters and killing the General and raping the nurses at the field hospital, I'll strangle the guy with my bare hands! You understand that? Now all good things come to those who wait! We're gonna have a lot of fun here! Aren't we, Cowboy?
Private Cowboy: You can bet your boots on that, partner.
Big Joe: Sergeant, partner!
Private Willard: Right, Sarge.
Big Joe: All right!
Private Willard: I think I've got the crabs.
Big Joe: [slight pause] We'll boil our laundry! We'll set up a little shower area so we can wash our cute little bodies. Right, Barbara?
Private Babra: Babra!
Big Joe: Shut up! Shave! A little wine, women and song. A little chiquita for you, Petuko. It'll take a little time to get organized, but I want that farmhouse to look like a nightclub! Little Joe! I want you to set up a bar!
Little Joe: We ain't got no booze.
Big Joe: "We ain't got no booze." Well, we're gonna get some booze! I'm gonna go down to the Battalion, see if I can lay my hands on some dirty movies and when I come back, I want that farmhouse not only clean, but completely decorated! Do you understand that? All right, Corporal, fall them out! Let's get moving.

First Sergeant Mulligan: [Upon seeing Kelly, assuming Kelly is there to yell at him for shelling Kelly's unit by accident the previous night] Wait, Kelly, wait. Will you listen to me a second? Will ya listen to me! It's not me, I tell ya, it's not me! I - I can't tell one shell from another, they all look alike! They all look alike. If was me, if I could tell, would I be here? WOULD I BE HERE?! I wouldn't be here, Kelly! I'd be back in the States! I'd be out with all those broads! I'd be working in a factory!
Kelly: Relax.
First Sergeant Mulligan: Wait a minute. Will ya just listen to me? We gotta have a little understanding around here. Why the hell can't we ever have any understanding around here?!
Kelly: Relax. Mulligan, I just want to make a proposition to you.
First Sergeant Mulligan: A prop-proposition? Well, is it dirty or just illegal?
Kelly: Well, I want you to set up a barrage for me. I want you to lay down a barrage for me, Mulligan. Grid section 7, right here at these crossroads.
First Sergeant Mulligan: I got to have a signed operations order from the C.O.
Kelly: You see, that's just the problem, Mulligan. We don't have an authorization.
First Sergeant Mulligan: You don't have a... Gee, well, Kelly, without an authorization... I can't help you.
Kelly: I told you I had a proposition, Mulligan. That's just what I meant. [takes out a gold bar] A proposition.
First Sergeant Mulligan: Well... why?
Kelly: Why what?
First Sergeant Mulligan: Why... Why not?
Kelly: You won't forget me now, will you?
First Sergeant Mulligan: [staring at the gold bar] No. No, I won't forget, Kelly.
Kelly: You're a good man, Mulligan.

Captain Maitland: Okay, Sergeant, everything's secure up here. I'm coming down now.
Big Joe: Hey, Captain.
Captain Maitland: Sergeant, do you think I could get this yacht to Paris by Sunday?
Big Joe: You didn't bring me to this lousy farmhouse to talk about this lousy boat again, did you, Captain?
Captain Maitland: Oh, now, Sergeant, I worked on a deal with Headquarters. I just want to make sure they have a good time. I must get this yacht to Paris and pick up one and two things for the General.
Big Joe: And where do we spend this vacation?
Captain Maitland: Right here, Sergeant.
Big Joe: Are you kidding?
Captain Maitland: No, I'm not kidding. With a little imagination, you can fix this place up. Lay out a baseball diamond. Run the water into the back of the house. Special service is coming by with some magazines and paperbacks.
Big Joe: We're 10 miles from the nearest town! There's no action!
Captain Maitland: Well, that's the beautiful thing about this location, Sergeant. It's quiet. Get yourself a little suntan, a little rest. In three days we're back in the line.
Truck Driver: Hey, Captain! We're all ready to move out!
Captain Maitland: Yeah, go ahead.
Big Joe: Captain, there's no broads, there's no booze, there's no action!
Captain Maitland: That's another thing. Don't fool around with the women; their husbands carry guns. And don't forget, the penalty for looting is death!
Captain Maitland: [hurrying after the truck hauling his yacht] I'll be back in three days!
Big Joe: Get yourself a suntan and get some rest. He's got to be out of his mind!
Private Fisher: But how does he get away with it? That's what I wanna know.
Big Joe: Very simple. The General's his uncle, that's how.

Kelly: Crapgame?
Staff Sergeant "Crapgame": Whaddya want?
Kelly: I want to talk to you for a few minutes.
Crapgame: What about?
Kelly: I have this deal I've been working on. I thought you might be interested in helping me out.
Crapgame: What kind of deal?
Kelly: A private deal.
Crapgame: Hey, Harry, go get yourself a haircut. [Harry leaves] I hear Maitland's got himself a yacht and taking it to Paris. There's money in yachts. What does he want a yacht for?
Kelly: Who cares, as long as it keeps him out of our hair for a few days?
Crapgame: Okay, Kelly. What is it? What is it you want?
Kelly: Well, I want 15 Thompsons, two .30-caliber machine guns, two bazookas, two field radios and enough supplies and ammunition to last a platoon of men in the field for three days.
Crapgame: [sarcastic] Oh. Is that all?
Kelly: Nope! I want this Intelligence report for this whole sector and I need it in the next two hours.
Crapgame: That's nice. What's in it for me?
Kelly: A piece of the action.
Crapgame: What kind of action?
Kelly: [takes out a gold bar] This kind of action.
Crapgame: Oh, wow! Hello, Izzy? Yeah, it's me, it's me. Listen, get me a quotation for gold on the Paris market. Yeah, now and hurry it up! How much more where this came from?
Kelly: Fourteen thousand bars.
Crapgame: Fourteen thousand bars! Fourteen thousand bars! Fourteen thousand! Oh, wow, wow! Hey, sweetheart, have yourself a bottle of booze, you're beautiful! That's beautiful! Where is it?
Kelly: In a bank.
Crapgame: In a bank? You're getting pretty ambitious, aren't you? You think you could blow a bank and get away with it?
Kelly: It's behind enemy lines.
Crapgame: Behind enemy lines. [realizes] That could be the perfect crime.

Big Joe: Yeah, just a few little things, Kelly. According to this map, we got a river to cross before we get into this town of yours.
Kelly: Well, there's a bridge right here, six miles out.
Big Joe: There was a bridge. The Air Corps knocked every bridge out of that river months ago.
Kelly: Uh-uh, intelligence reports the Air Corps knocking 'em out by day and the Germans rebuilding 'em at night. Now, all we have to do is be there tomorrow morning at dawn and we got ourselves a bridge.
Big Joe: Oh! Well, how about the German Army? Do you think they'd mind us crossing their bridge there, eh, Kelly?
Kelly: Probably.
Big Joe: You know something, Kelly? I think you're crazy. Better yet, I think I'm crazy! How the hell I ever let you talk the guys into this?! Push 30 miles behind enemy lines, take a bridge held by the Germans and then go into a town we don't know how many German soldiers are guarding!
Kelly: Well, I figure there's between 30 and 40 troops in that town.
Big Joe: All right, how'd you figure that?
Kelly: Well, it's of no military importance, it's not big enough for a garrison-
Big Joe: You still didn't answer the question! How'd you figure 30 or 40 men?
Kelly: Because that's the normal amount of support for three Tiger tanks.
Big Joe: [Aghast] Tigers? Where'd the hell the Tigers come from?!
Kelly: Well, that's why we have Oddball and his Shermans.
Big Joe: Does he know about the Tigers?
Kelly: Not yet, no.
Big Joe: You bet your sweet ass he doesn't, or he'd be still on that funny-farm of his! He may be nuts, but he's not crazy enough to put Shermans up against Tigers! You know once those things get rolling, they'll blow that whole town to pieces, including us, Kelly!
Kelly: Oh, you're too smart to let that happen, Joe.
Big Joe: Oh, wow...
Kelly: You'll figure us a way in and out of that town, and I know you've got a good head for tactics.
Big Joe: Yeah? And I intend to keep it right here on my shoulders, Kelly! With these Tigers, this operation goes above and beyond the call of duty!

General Colt: This man is the man I have my mind on today and I'll tell you who he is: this is my opposite number, General Bogle, commanding the 2nd German Armor Division. Now I look at that face, I can read that character... this guy's a loser. Here I am sitting in his headquarters, I'm drinking his scotch... hell, I even got one of his broads hanging around here somewheres. The guy's a born loser... but you gentleman have not buried him yet. Now you call yourselves leaders of men?
Major Roach: They're putting up strong resistance, General.
General Colt: Aw, c'mon, Roach, I flew over the battlefield this morning; why, I could march a divisional dress parade with band music right through the middle of their lines!
Major Roach: Well, what about our flanks, sir?
General Colt: Aw, the hell with your flanks, Roach, how many times have I gotta tell ya forget about your flanks, willya?
Major: Sir, there's still half a panzer division between here and Nancy...
General Colt: Without gas. Without gas, gentlemen.
Colonel Booker: Oh, they're getting gas, sir, it's coming up at night.
General Colt: How?
Colonel Booker: By truck.
General Colt: The Air Force has got my orders to blow every bridge in this sector out of existence.
Colonel Booker: Yes, sir, and they're doing it. And the Germans, they're rebuilding the bridges every night.
General Colt: Well, we're supposed to be blowing 'em up again in the daytime. Captain, get me those aerial photographs.
Captain Jablonski: Right, sir.
Major Roach: General, last night someone gave orders to redirect our mortar fire against some damn crossroads.
General Colt: Listen, Roach, I don't want any excuses outta you, ya hear me? All I want is to know why this loser of a general is keeping me the hell out of Nancy.
Major Roach: Sir, we haven't got the supplies - it's just a matter of logistics.
General Colt: Logistics?
Major Roach: Yes, sir.
General Colt: We got logistics comin' out of our ears! What we need is fighting spirit. The will to win! Where are those aerial photographs?
Captain Jablonski: [Rummaging around for the photos] I'm sorry, sir, they don't seem to be here.
General Colt: They don't what?
Captain Jablonski: [Still looking for the pictures] I can't locate them, Sir.
General Colt: Hey. [CPT Jablonski looks at Colt] Did you lose my aerial photographs?

Kelly: Well, what do you think, Oddball?
Oddball: It's a wasted trip, baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.
Big Joe: Hey look, you just keep them Tigers busy and we'll take care of the rest.
Oddball: The only way I got to keep them Tigers busy is to let them shoot holes in me!
Kelly: We just want you to keep them interested for a while, that's all.
PFC Moriarty: Oh, man! You guys are crazy! When we was in the bocage country, we was assaulted by them Tigers! You know what I mean by "assaulted"? Well, I mean assaulted!
Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?! Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
PFC Moriarty: Crap!
Kelly: All right, so it's a beautiful day. Now, let's get down to business. The Tiger is an open-country tank. We happen to have these and a small town with narrow streets. And we do have the element of surprise.
Oddball: Look, Kelly, a Tiger has only one weak point. That's its ass. You've got to hit it point blank and you've got to hit it from behind. Now we do not have the element of surprise. They will hear our Detroit motors long before we ever even get inside that town.
Kelly: What if I can show you a way to get into that town so they don't hear you?
Crapgame: Hey, Oddball, this is your hour of glory. And you're chickening out!
Oddball: To a New Yorker like you, a hero is some type of weird sandwich! Not some nut who takes on three Tigers.
Kelly: Nobody's asking you to be a hero.
Oddball: No? Then you sit up in that turret, baby.
Kelly: No, because you're gonna be up there, baby, and I'll be right outside showing you which way to go.
Oddball: Yeah?
Kelly: Yeah.
Oddball: Crazy... I mean like, so many positive waves... maybe we can't lose, you're on!

Crapgame: How are things going with the bank?
Big Joe: [A distant explosion is heard as the Tiger fires; Big Joe shakes his head.] Nothin'. The Sherman's broken down and nobody's gonna get that Tiger out of the square.
Crapgame: Make a deal with 'im.
Big Joe: What kind of a deal?
Crapgame: A deal deal! Maybe the guy's a Republican! Business is business, right?
Big Joe: Okay, big mouth.

Moriarty: It's shot, Kelly.
Kelly: [referring to a destroyed Tiger tank nearby] Maybe we can use the fuel pump from that tank.
Moriarty: No, no, it won't work on this motor.
Oddball: Mechanical genius.
Moriarty: Oh, man- look, Oddball, I can't make it work without the parts no matter how positive I think!
Big Joe: Hey, this guy in the Tiger? Least we can do is get on the radio and talk to 'im.
Oddball: Are you crazy? That guy's gotta be a full fanatic freak! Otherwise he would a split outta this town twenty minutes ago!
Big Joe: Hey, look, all he's doing is guarding the bank like he was told.
Kelly: Maybe. But I wonder if he even knows what's in it.

[Kelly, Big Joe and Oddball approach the last Tiger in the open; a turret hatch opens and the Tiger's commander climbs out to meet them.]
Big Joe: Cigarette?
German Tank Commander: No smoke. The fuel system is rotten. We have gasoline all over the place.
Big Joe: S'all right. Hey, look, Max, you and us we're just soldiers, right? We don't even know what this war's all about. All we do is we fight and we die and for what? We don't get anything out of it. Now, in about half an hour, the whole American Army's gonna be coming down that road. So why don't you do yourself a big fat favor, huh? And get the hell outta here?
German Tank Commander: I have orders. This bank isn't to fall into the hands of the American Army.
Lieutenant Kelly: Sergeant, this bank's not gonna fall into the hands of the American Army. It's gonna fall into our hands. You see, we're just a private enterprise operation.
German Tank Commander: You- the American Army.
Oddball: No, baby, we ain't. You know what's inside that bank, man? There's 16 million dollars' worth of gold in that bank, sweetheart. [German Tank Commander's eyes widen after hearing the value of the bank's contents.]
Big Joe: That's about 65 million Marks.
Kelly: And Sergeant, all you have to do to have an equal share of this money, is to crank this turret around and blow a hole in that door.


  • Never have so few taken so many for so much.
  • They set out to rob a bank... and damn near won a war instead!


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