The Greatest Movie Ever Made

Image for post
Image for post

You won’t find it on any 100 Best lists, but Kelly’s Heroes is the greatest movie ever made. Why? Let’s start with the cast: Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland, Harry Dean Stanton, Carroll O’Connor, Gavin MacLeod, and Don Fucking Rickles as Crapgame. What film comes close to topping that list? Certainly not the bloated rot of an Avengers movie. But forget about the cast, forget about the nearly flawless structure of the script, forget about Lalo Schifrin’s timeless score, forget the cinematography (watching Kelly’s Heroes in high definition does not do the film justice; to fully appreciate the beauty of Kelly’s Heroes it must be seen in a widescreen film print so you can be properly engulfed by the scale and scope of its production, and by the overwhelming superiority of the Allied war machine). Forget even the best cum shot in the history of film when Kelly’s ragtag collection of heroes — spoiler alert — crack open the crates of gold bars in the climatic scene at the end of the movie. The gold glinting off the faces of battle-weary soldiers while French citizens celebrate their liberation is pure movie magic. No, what sets Kelly’s Heroes apart from all other movies is that it manages to be a damn fun romp while simultaneously delivering a kick to the nuts. It’s a bank heist movie disguised as a war film. As such, it makes a brutal commentary on the true nature of war in a manner that’s baked into the very DNA of the story. Not that war is hell, but that all war is an expression of greed. Pure and simple. Except in Kelly’s Heroes, it’s the cannon fodder who reap the financial benefits of the carnage for once, not the Dick Cheneys or Dick Nixons of the world. Plus, it co-stars Don Fucking Rickles!

Eric Coyote earned his Master of Arts degree in critical theory from the University of Southern California. He writes about movies, Hollywood, and culture.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store