The Legend of Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood

Dirty Harry, 1971
Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra and Robert Mitchum all said no to the script (originally titled Dead Right), thus handing Eastwood the first of a five-film, 17-year franchise: this one plus Magnum Force, The Enforcer, Sudden Impact and Dead Pool. The character of Harry Callahan, maverick San Francisco cop, was Leone's lone Western hero — same surliness, same antiheroic attitude — with a badge. The movie validated Eastwood's Hollywood celebrity and kicked up a storm cloud of hostility from critics like Pauline Kael, who pegged Callahan's methods in corralling a psycho killer "deeply immoral" and "fascist medievalism." No matter: audiences cheered Harry's macho aphorisms ("You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" from this film and "Go ahead, make my day" from Sudden Impact) and his scowling swagger through the blighted urban jungle.

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