Cast: Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, Carroll O’Connor, Donald Sutherland, Gavin MacLeod, Hal Buckley, Stuart Margolin, Jeff Morris, Richard Davalos, Perry Lopez, Tom Troupe, Harry Dean Stanton, Dick Balduzzi, Gene Collins, Len Lesser, David Hurst, Fred Pearlman, Michael Clark, George Fargo, Dee Pollock, George Savalas, John Heller, Shepherd Sanders, Karl Otto Alberty, Ross Elliot, Phil Adams, Hugo De Vernier, Frank J. Garlotta, Harry Goines, David Gross, Sandy Kevin, James McHale, Robert McNamara, Read Morgan, Tom Signorelli, Donald Waugh, Vincent Maracecchi
In 1944 France, Kelly (Eastwood) interrogates a captured German officer. Kelly, a former U.S. Army lieutenant who has been demoted to Private, uses alcohol to gain the confidence of the officer, Colonel Dunkhepf (Hurst). The thoroughly intoxicated Dunkhepf reveals the existence of a treasure trove in the form of fourteen thousand gold bars. The gold is kept at a bank in the French town of Clermont. Kelly conceives the idea of appropriating the gold bullion. Unfortunately, Clermont is 30 miles behind enemy lines and the bank is guarded by a German armored unit. Knowing he cannot achieve his goal by himself, Kelly approaches Master Sgt. Big Joe (Savalas) and Staff Sgt. Crapgame (Rickles) and persuades them to join him in what he hopes will be a short and profitable journey across the edge of the battle area to the bank holding the gold. Kelly has to agree to share the loot with the two sergeants and others, but the treasure is worth millions of dollars, so there’s enough for everybody. Kelly, a natural leader, sets out to organize the raid, keeping it secret from the commanding officers, and the number of those involved grows to comprise a whole platoon. Sgt. Crapgame proves invaluable as a hustler who can obtain the necessary equipment with the required discretion. Pulling off a bank robbery is no easy task under favorable circumstances, and in wartime, when the bank is guarded by an armored enemy force, it becomes extremely hazardous, so Kelly negotiates with Sgt. Oddball (Sutherland), the existentialist commander of a squad of Sherman tanks, for necessary armor support. Kelly and his improvised command set out in their drive to the bank and soon meet fierce resistance from German forces. Kelly’s commander, Major General Colt (O’Connor) is anxious to breach enemy lines that have so far proven impenetrable. Colt is elated when he learns of Kelly’s venture into German-held territory and orders his staff to follow Kelly’s example. When Kelly finally reaches Clermont he finds that the bank is defended by infantry and tanks from an SS Panzer Division. Kelly must deal with the German force rapidly, for elements of General Colt’s army are on their way, and he and his men have little time in which to steal the gold. The Mike Curb Congregation provides the theme song, Burning Bridges.