WATCH: Clint Eastwood Once Got Roasted By Don Rickles on ‘Kelly’s Heroes’

by Clayton Edwards
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(Photo by FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images)

Many moviegoers think of Clint Eastwood as a rough and tumble cowboy. Over the years, he’s played in several classic western films. He even got his start in the western TV show Rawhide. However, Eastwood never limited himself when it came to roles. In his career, he has portrayed men from just about every walk of life. In 1970, the world saw him as a WWII soldier in the adventure-comedy film Kelly’s Heroes.

Kelly’s Heroes had a killer cast. Clint Eastwood, of course, played the lead. Additionally, the cast featured Donald Sutherland, Carroll O’Connor, Gavin MacLeod, Harry Dean Stanton, and Don Rickles. In the film, and in the video below, Rickles and Eastwood went together like peanut butter and jelly.

The pairing of Clint Eastwood and Don Rickles proves that opposites attract. At the very least, it proves that opposites work well together. Even in the late sixties, everyone saw Eastwood as the strong silent type. On the other hand, most people knew Rickles for his comedic chops. More specifically, Don was an insult comic and one of the best to ever do it. So, if anyone was going to roast Eastwood, it was going to be Rickles.

Don Rickles Roasts Clint Eastwood

You can tell that the two-minute clip is going to be comedy gold within the first few seconds. Don sets up his roast of Eastwood with the opening line, “Clint, we’ve been on the picture with you for about two days. I just want to say, on behalf of the whole cast, Clint, we’re fed up.”

This breaks Clint Eastwood’s usual stone-faced demeanor. The Hollywood legend lets out a laugh at Rickles’ opening volley. The laughs keep coming as the comic continues his roast. However, he doesn’t keep his comedic sights on Clint. Rickles quickly moves on to fire some shots at Kelly’s Heroes as a whole.

“Seriously speaking,” Don Rickles begins, looking at Clint Eastwood. “Basically, I’ve read the script and you’ve read the script. Now that we’ve both read it, let’s get on a plane and go home. Because I think it’s bad!” This gets an even bigger laugh from Clint and the other members of the cast and crew standing just out of frame.

Then, Rickles turns his jokes toward Clint Eastwood again. He asks Clint how long he’s been in motion pictures. Slow to speak, Eastwood takes a couple of seconds to respond with, “about 16 years.” However, that couple of seconds of silence was all the veteran comic needed to come up with more jokes. “Clint got off a ripper there, folks. We’ve been going through it for three or four days with these little rippers.”

The best part about the video is watching Clint Eastwood double over with laughter as Rickles works his comedic magic.

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