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1971's Dirty Harry was directed by Don Siegel and written by Harry Julian Fink, RM Fink and Dean Reisner with additional input by John Milius. Milius is credited with coming up with some of the most famous and iconic dialogue flourishes including the most oft-quoted line of all during the bank robbery street sequence. This is the best film in the "Dirty Harry" series and the one that feels the most downbeat and serious - the series becoming increasingly parodic and knowing as it went on. Dirty Harry is a violent and seminal police thriller with stylish direction and an eerie psychedelic jazz score by Lalo Schifrin that proves to be a great compliment to the extensive San Francisco locations. Lot of wonderful swooping helicopter shots in this film that not only show you the city but emphasise the lonesome image of Callahan as a man who stands apart and alone. Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood obviously) is an Inspector with the San Francisco Police Homicide Department and has earned the soubriquet "Dirty" Harry for reasons that are never completely clarified but seem to be because he gets all the tasks no one else wants to do. "No wonder they call him Dirty Harry; he always gets the s**t end of the stick." The monosyllabic and sarcastic Callahan is considered to have what you could term anti-social and politically incorrect attitudes by his bosses and is known as a man who shoots first and worries about the consequences later. This is liberal hippy trippy San Francisco but Harry thinks that bureaucracy has got out of control and the courts are too soft on criminals and not thinking about the victims enough. Callahan's unconventional (and brutal) methods and the ability of his exasperated bosses to control him are about to be put to the test though in severe fashion.
A very nasty and oleaginous psychopathic serial killer known as Scorpio (Andrew Robinson) murders a young woman in a swimming pool using a high powered telescopic rifle from a rooftop and demands a huge ransom be paid or the city will suffer more murders. A vicious game of cat and mouse between Callahan and Scorpio unfolds with Harry often feeling like he is battling city red tape and legal procedures as much as he is the killer. "Where does it say you've got the right to kick down doors, torture suspects, deny medical attention and legal counsel?" Dirty Harry is of course a role that Clint Eastwood was born to play but like many famous pictures it was all a fortuitous accident. The film was written with John Wayne in mind but he decided that Harry Callahan was the type of character he'd played far too often (a decision he later deeply regretted when he saw how successful the film was). Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman all turned the film down before Frank Sinatra was cast as Callahan but bailed out when he hurt his hand filming The Manchurian Candidate and decided he wanted to do something lighter anyway. Warner Brothers then turned to laconic Spaghetti Western star Clint Eastwood and he agreed to take the role so long as his friend Don Siegel (with whom he'd just made The Beguiled) could direct and that the location of the film was switched from New York to San Francisco. Eastwood had no qualms about the controversial nature of the story and believed the film wasn't about the moral ambiguity of the legal system or the avocation of vigilantism but about a society that tolerates violence in the first place. Mitchum and Lancaster and a few others had considered the story to be rather distasteful so Eastwood wasn't exactly in the majority amongst his fellow actors when it came to the moral compass of the film.
Eastwood's casting and the addition of Siegel in the director's chair turned Dirty Harry in into a different kind of film altogether. A sleek, modern (for 1971 anyway), ultra violent kinetic cops and robbers thriller with a moody, sometimes surreal atmosphere and a fantastic villain. "Hear me, you old hag, I'm telling you to drive or I'll decorate this bus with your brains!" snaps Scorpio to the meek driver of a school bus he's hijacked! You genuinely want Eastwood to blow him away long before the film ends. Robinson (who was brilliant by the way much later as Garek in the television series Deep Space Nine) is the ultimate slimeball here. Just a really horrible and repellent villain who makes you want to take a bath each time he's onscreen. His performance is maybe a little over the top but he's great. The scenes between him and Eastwood as they build to their climactic showdown are compelling - especially a great bit at a football stadium where the lights come on and Siegel pans back (the big pan back seems to be a Siegel signature) to emphasise the gravity of Scorpio's situation - trapped in this deserted nowhere to hide location with the no nonsense Callahan. The subtext here is that Harry and Scorpio are flip sides of one another. Both are renegades and misanthropic but Harry has a moral compass and Scorpio doesn't. Scorpio wants to kill everyone while Harry just wants to kill criminals. Eastwood is the ultimate alpha male here and draws on his strong but silent line of Western heroes. You don't really learn anything about Harry aside from the fact that he was married once and his wife was killed. He's the mysterious loner cleaning up the town with methods as brutal as the criminals he is after. It's safe to say that a version of Dirty Harry with a 55 year-old Frank Sinatra in the lead probably wouldn't have been an iconic film. It would have been diluted down and probably forgotten now.
I think the moment where Eastwood cements Callahan as an iconic character comes when he is having a hot dog for his lunch and becomes aware that a bank robbery is taking place across the street. He calls for back up but eventually decides he has to intervene, sauntering across the street with his Magnum, still eating his hot dog (!), and eventually getting to deliver one of the most famous speeches in cinema. "I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?" Great bit where the gun fight result in a fire hydrant spewing water into the air as we pan back on a street scene. It's rather comic book and fun. Although this film has the most grit and melancholia - not to mention lashings of sadism and violence - it is funny at times I think and not just because of Eastwood's little asides muttered under his breath. Shoot outs in supermarkets almost reach Naked Gun levels of preposterousness with the proximity of the adversaries to one another. I think the controversial nature of the film has dimmed with the passage of time and almost seems innocuous now. Part of the reason is the slew of Dirty Harry copycats that followed, picking up on the theme of the maverick policeman who plays by his own rules and doesn't have much time for legal niceties or his superiors. Dirty Harry still stacks up very well in the pantheon of Hollywood police thrillers and remains a highly entertaining and stylish film.
There are no special features with this (aside from scene selection, subtitles, widescreen etc) but it's not bad if you just want the film and under a fiver (at the time of writing). If you want loads of extras you should pick one of the Dirty Harry box sets. They are pretty good and often available at a very reasonable price.
'Iconic' is a world that is truly overused, much like 'classic'. But there is no doubt that this film, Dirty Harry, is an iconic masterpiece. The film set the standard for all cop films, and came out in the same year as The French Connection. Though The French Connection went on to in the Oscars, the truth is that this film is the better one. But because the hero is distinctly flawed, the plot is far darker and the villain truly horrific, this didn't win the Oscars.
Dirty Harry starts Clint Eastwood in his signature role that tipped him over the edge into the status of an iconic star. It's easily his best role, and you can see on screen that he revels in every moment. It's directed by frequent collaborator Don Siegel, again a man on the finest form that he ever was. There is also support from the outstanding Andy Robinson as 'Scorpio', John Vernon as the Mayor and Reni Santoni and Harry Guardino. The result is pure perfection.
At the beginning of the film, we watch a woman swimming in a rooftop pool in San Francisco. On a higher rooftop, a man called Scorpio (Robinson) has a sniper rifle. He kills the woman. San Francisco cop Dirty Harry arrives and takes charge of the case, immediately finding a note from Scorpio, who is holding the city hostage for money.
He meets with the Mayor, and explains what is happening. It soon becomes apparent though, that Dirty Harry is a man who works within the law but has his own rules. He and the Mayor have a slight disagreement, with Harry showing he's not afraid to take on bureaucrats.
Soon after, his reputation as a man who will not be beaten is cemented when he takes on a bank robbery by himself, merely standing in the road whilst shooting and eating at the same time.
Meanwhile, Scorpio kills again. Harry continues to try to catch him, but becomes more and more angry at the red tape that stands in his way, and the fact that the Mayor is up for paying the money.
Soon, he and Scorpio come face to face, and Harry arrests him in his own, violent manner. But when Scorpio is released because his own rights were violated, Dirty Harry decides he must be stopped at all costs, leading to one of the finest, most iconic and most memorable climaxes of all time.
This is how a film should be made. 'Dirty' Harry Callahan is one of the most iconic and best characterized characters in the memory of film, and can be mentioned in the same sentence as other fine characters such as Marlon Brando's Vito Corleone, Al Pacino's 'Scarface and other iconic characters.
This is without a doubt Eastwood's best role. You can see on screen that he really got into the character. No other actor could have played a hero that you love, who is also flawed. Eastwood's Dirty Harry is a man who works within the law, but bends the law as much as he can to get results. Eastwood is also perfectly built for the role. His height makes him seem like a towering character, and along with his calm headed delivery, Eastwood's Dirty Harry is a man you really want to win.
Opposite him is another actor who is in the role of a lifetime. Andy Robinson, who is dreadfully underused in every other role he has played, is just outstanding in this film. He is essentially the bad version of Dirty Harry. But you have to hate him, whilst root for Harry. Robinson really makes his character so hateful, and you just can't wait until Harry gets to him. Robinson himself should have had an Oscar for this, much like Eastwood, because he is every bit as good as Eastwood. But like the character of Harry, he's so dark that they couldn't have given it to him.
There is also fabulous support from Reni Santoni as Harry's suffering partner, John Vernon as the stressed Mayor who is trying to keep his image clean, and Harry Guardino as Harry's boss.
To top this film off, there is the expert direction of Don Siegal. Again, like the actors, he is in the best possible form. The action scenes in this film are directed to perfection, and have a huge amount of realism to them. The action is never over the top. It's always measured and well paced. At the same time, the scenes in which there is talking are never slow, and always keep you glued to the screen. Basically, it's just a brilliant film.
RELEASED: 1971, Cert.18
RUNNING TIME: 101mins
DIRECTOR: Don Siegel
PRODUCER: Robert Daley
SCREENPLAY: Harry Julian Fink, Rita M Fink, Dean Riesner
Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood)
'Scorpio' (Andy Robinson)
Lt. Bressler (Harry Guardino)
Chico Sanchez (Reni Santoni)
Having through my formative years in the 1960s got used to associating Clint Eastwood with the Dollars films, I was interested in trotting off to the cinema with a few friends during 1972 to see the new movie everyone was talking about..... "Dirty Harry". I was a little nervous that I'd not be admitted as I hadn't yet had my 18th birthday and one of the cinema staff was a friend of my mother's who knew how old I was, but somehow I managed to get past the age police and see the film. Ever since that first viewing, "Dirty Harry" has earned itself a firm placing, respectably positioned within my all-time favourite movie list.
The setting for the film is San Francisco. Widowed and somewhat surly-natured cop Harry Callahan is assigned to a case where a serial killer who in notes to the police signs himself 'Scorpio' hides on rooftops, machine-gunning people down willy-nilly, and after several bloody murders of this nature, kidnaps a young girl. 'Scorpio' writes to the police demanding a huge cash ransom for the release of the girl, stating if he doesn't get what he wants, the girl dies.
During his hunt for 'Scorpio', Harry uses some rather unorthodox methods to trap the killer, thus rendering himself at loggerheads with his superiors.
'Scorpio' is a particularly vicious and deranged killer who is also very clever, running Harry all over town on wild goose chases ..... then things get horribly difficult for Harry when 'Scorpio' files a harassment complaint against him.
That's just a very basic outline of the film, and to find out what else happens, you'll have to watch it.
Clint Eastwood slid very easily out of his spaghetti western and into his cop role, in my opinion hardly having to adjust his acting style at all. The taciturn, poncho-wearing, cheroot-smoking cowboy simply changed into a suit, sporting a Magnum.22 strapped to his chest, policing the streets of San Francisco.
"Dirty Harry" was the first (and in my opinion by far the best) in a series of five featuring Harry Callahan....the others were Magnum Force, The Enforcer, Sudden Impact and The Dead Pool.
With Harry Callahan cast as a bit of an anti-hero, "Dirty Harry" almost gained cult status as a movie. For some people, that could put them off watching it, but for me it's easy to ignore all the little lines which became well-known catchphrases, such as "Go on punk, make my day!" and concentrate on what I feel truly is a good, gripping and exciting thriller movie.
I think we all love that scene where Harry's lunch is interrupted by a shoot-out at a bank opposite the café where he was eating, but I think my personal favourite is where he is summoned to talk a suicidal man down from the top of a tall building. His approach to the poor man is as dispassionate and insensitive as it's possible to be, yet Clint delivers his part of the interaction between Harry and the desperate victim with a smooth, quiet, somewhat callous coldness.
I can't really throw too many adulations at Clint Eastwood for his role as 'Dirty' Harry Callahan, as I don't believe it took any more acting skill than tapping into what he'd already done in the Dollars films - just take the same character and put him in a different era, in a different city wearing different clothes - but there's no doubt that Clint's performance as Harry fascinated a lot of people to a degree whereby the catchphrases from the film are still quoted today.
My own personal acting accolade goes to Andy Robinson for his portrayal of 'Scorpio', the serial killer. I feel that he really put his heart and soul into the character, coming across as deliciously disturbed, nastily nihilistic and completely off his trolley, yet in an almost sane sort of way - if that makes sense!
"Dirty Harry" definitely isn't a film for the kids, as throughout it deals with and concentrates on exclusively adult material.....as far as I remember, the movie contains little or no sex, but there is some quite nasty and very realistic violence which is extremely well acted, with a realism that is absent from a lot of other cops'n'robbers type movies from about the mid-1970s to date.
Nearly forty years on, I can enjoy watching "Dirty Harry" just as much as the first day I saw it back in about February-ish of 1972. I feel it is a carefully constructed film in that a lot of trouble has been taken to retain high feasibility levels, particularly with regard to the scenes that feature and centre around 'Scorpio' the serial killer and his activities.
I feel it was a mistake to make sequels to this film, because it stands out as a cinematic gem on its own, needing nothing subsequent to back it up or enforce its enjoyability levels.
I can't see myself ever getting bored with watching "Dirty Harry" now and again, as it never ceases to entertain me. I love the tension which builds up, I love the storyline and I love Andy Robinson's superb portrayal of 'Scorpio'. For me, there's not one single moment within "Dirty Harry" which is at all boring or where I feel my concentration drifting away from the screen...not even slightly, and it's certainly a film which has stood the test of time very well in that it doesn't come across as dated (well, not to me!).
I can't think there's too many people over a certain age out there who've blinked and missed "Dirty Harry", but for those who haven't seen it and want to, it can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from 98p to £16.50
Used: from 72p to £5.00
Collectible: 2 copies priced at £4.49 and £5.00
A delivery charge of £1.24 must be added to the above costs.
Sadly, it looks as though "Dirty Harry" in its entirety has been removed from YouTube, probably due to copyright infringement - it was there a few months ago, because one evening I watched the whole thing in individual clips, each lasting around ten minutes. You can still view snippets from the film though, which may give you an idea of what to expect.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Clint Eastwood stars in one of his most pivotal roles as Dirty Harry, a cop who does things his own way and doesn't care how it is supposed to be done.
When a sniper named Scorpio starts killing people from rooftops, Harry is put on to to the case but things get personal and much more difficult when Scorpio finds out Harry is trying to catch him and then attempts to lead him on a wild goose chase and eventually frame him.
Clint Eastwood certainly did not leave his action hero role in the Spaghetti Western world when he starred in this film.
The movie is violent and contains a fair amount of gore, although it may appear tame compared to today's films but it's gritty, tense and has a realistic tone about it.
For 1971, Dirty Harry was criticised for it's level of violence, however, years later from the film's release, quickly gained a pop culture following.
However, this is one of the original and earliest action thriller movies of Hollywood, especially involving a character as a cop on a violent mission.
The direction is superb, a particular scene was even directed by Eastwood himself when the original director, Don Siegel, wasn't available one particular day.
Look out for the sequence where Harry tries to talk down a guy from a building who wants to commit suicide and Harry takes a crane up to the top of the building. That's the scene!
The pace is excellent as the movie goes back and forth between the Scorpio's own doing's and Harry's investigation.
As you would expect, Clint Eastwood is great as Harry, although I did get the feeling that he was playing the very first scene of the movie a bit tongue in cheek, however, that's probably more to do with the way the scene is playing out itself rather than Eastwood's performance.
Andrew Robinson is also excellent as Scorpio, the insane sniper killer who has a vengeance against the world. His best scene, for me, is the one set in the football stadium. I'm trying not to give too much away here but his voice and those eyes seemed to go right through me as a viewer and Robinson captures the essence of a mentally unstable person.
I can't really find any faults for the film, being a cop thriller movie, this doesn't contain any big SFX apart from blood and bruises for the violence and those are quite believable!
I think this film, along with A Clockwork Orange, broke new ground and set Hollywood on the path to making more gritty, violent films and leaving the inoffensive "play it safe" films of the 60's and back, behind.
I'm definetely recommending this one if you enjoy action thrillers and you can't go wrong with Dirty Harry, still the best of them!
Classic is a strange word to me, it can be used in a number of contexts from sporting events to cars, for me the word classic is aptly used to describe Clint Eastwood's first outing from 1971 as the maverick cop Dirty Harry.
There is something about seeing Clint Eastwood on screen that sends a shiver down my spine, I think its because in the early scenes of the film he wears a pair of sunglasses that completely changes the character in how he looks, mainly because it's the fact that his eyes are hidden and you cannot see into his soul and therefore there is a barrier placed between him and the audience. Soul searching is also a phrase that can be used to describe parts of the film as the plot is somewhat controversial yet also original in what the emphasis is about.
This film launched a completely new genre in cinema, that of the lone cop. The plot of the film is quite disturbing as it deals with a city being held to ransom by a character called Scorpio, issuing various demands to the local government and performing a number of quite sick and mind bending murders that seriously rattle the Police and the Mayors Office. In the opening credits you see Scorpio perform a murder in cold blood and this sets the darker than normal tone for the film. It's an interesting premise as this is no "by the book" film; it's the character of Harry Callaghan that decides enough is enough and after being run ragged through San Francisco by Scorpio decides that this issue has to be sorted out once and for all.
The character of Callaghan is introduced in the first 20 minutes of the film as a patriotic and also misunderstood Police Officer who finds it's easy to upset his superiors. The discussion about policy between Callaghan and the Mayor is something that is shown with great tension on Callaghan's part and with a subtle rebuke from the Mayor when Callaghan has left the room showing his agreement. This gives a good idea to what lengths that Callaghan will go to to get the job done and is shown at various times throughout the film.
Eastwood looks so young in the film and mainly because of the early seventies hairstyles and fashion that the film is naturally littered with from the start. Hairstyles look like grown out styles from the Sixties and shows that the era was starting to be defined in what was happening around them, this in turn makes the film look like a period piece and ages the film in a not to positive manner. This was the film that made Eastwood leap from known actor to superstar and after watching this you see why, the character is sufficiently fleshed out to enough so you understand why he is as he is and the problems he has to deal with shows that that Callaghan has more of a death wish than anything else.
The remaining cast compliment the main character and Scorpio is a total force of nature when it comes to the universal rules of ying and yang in films that tackle good vs. evil. Long hair and menacing eyes show what a basic psycho he actually is and the fact that he is in a city of five million people means that he has the advantage. Played by Andrew Robinson who went on to star as Garek in Deep Space Nine, shows a rare thing on screen. I thought the manner in which he played Scorpio was never over the top in going off the scale, but made the part believable in who he was. Very little is mentioned about Scorpio's identity and that works in favour of the plot. In fact the only ever time that I can recall this happening was in The Dark Knight where virtually nothing is learnt about the identity of The Joker as you were never sure what he would do next and the same is with Scorpio as he is a total loose cannon.
With a plot as dark as this, its no surprise that there is very little in terms of humour with regards to the story telling and with the atmosphere cranked up and tension building up as the story unfolds you see a desperate game of cat and mouse in so much as when the Police close then Scorpio takes further steps into desperation and is forced to play his hand eventually culminating in a desperate attempt that Callaghan has to address.
Bottom line is they don't make film that look this gritty anymore, what director Don Siegel has done is show how beautiful a city like San Francisco can be and take that image and layer the story upon it. This is an extremely violent film that doesn't need to show what is happening for the audience to get a clear indication what has happened and I think that was amore powerful method of dealing with it, other times it can be full just on. He tends to make use of the natural light of the surrounding and some scenes are nearly in total pitch black perhaps with the sound of footsteps running down an alley, another scene has Callaghan and his partner on stakeout and are hidden at a base of tower with changing neon signs flashing from red to blue. For me watching this it adds another dimension that makes me want to watch closer, if not to understand the surroundings but just to follow the story in detail.
Overall this is the epitome of film making and Siegel has launched an icon in cinema history, the scene with Dirty Harry eating his Hot Dog while tackling a bank robbery when he utters the immortal lines including the well known "Do you feel lucky punk?" to a robber he has just shot is simply fantastic viewing especially when you realise in the extras that this scene wasn't even shot in San Francisco but on the back lot of Warner Brothers studio. The same lines are said towards the end with far more anger and focus when compared to the initial viewing at the beginning where the character is being up and defined.
Some will look at the violence in this film and laugh it off when compared to other films today, I still think that the use of the violence only shows what the characters are capable off, it is the suggested violence that is stronger than actually seeing it as you are left to fill in the blanks.
As I said earlier this film launched Eastwood further up the ladder, this type of film has never been bettered although the sequel to this moved on the character of Callaghan it can be said that the original defined a thousand other films in the same fashion, this is still the original and the best. After all Lalo Schifrin did the soundtrack on the film and this was a healthy mix of jazz that manages to tell the audience the mood for the scene and compliments the faster paced pieces of the plot as well. This is dark and in some places darker than pitch and that could put some off, however this film will be a classic film for generation to come.
Extras wise there is nothing more than a trailer on the DVD release (which I have!), however this has recently been released in Blu-Ray format and that has a plethora of documentaries and featurettes that give a great synopsis of making the film and bringing the characters together.
Dirty Harry is the first of 5 films featuring hardnosed San Francisco cop Harry Callaghan. Based loosely on true events featuring the Zodiac killer who terrorised the city with a string of murders, it portrays Callaghan as no nonsense and rebellious, and Clint Eastwood fits the role perfectly.
There seems to be no end of characters on film and in books, occupying the lieutenant/inspector role in police forces around the world, destined to never go higher, but managing to reach this level without problems. Putting main characters in these roles allows a certain amount of freedom for them, not confined to having a sergeant or other lieutenant/inspector barking orders, and feeling free to rebel against their superior officers. In return, they get to be wise-asses to their juniors, and this combination is very much the case with Dirty Harry.
Eastwood gives us his traditional look, that squint and scowl with a turned up lip as he takes no nonsense, wanting to be shackle free to go after the serial killer, who keeps leaving clues and making demands from the city. Keen to be diplomatic and careful, Harry's superiors are constantly treading softly, whereas Harry himself gets more and more wound up with their pandering and wants to storm in, Magnum blazing!
His gun of choice, a Magnum, is the source of one of the most famous lines in cinema, asking crooks if he has fired 5 or 6 shots, then hitting them with 'Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?' as they contemplate reaching for their gun. This has significant meaning more than once in the film.
Eastwood is joined by some decent actors, although only he and his enemy, the Scorpio killer (Andy Robinson) stand out. Really, the film is all about Callaghan chasing Scorpio around the city. The setting is used very well in the film, taking us all over it at night and during the day. There were moments when I was annoyed as you couldn't really see anything at night, but the main thing about it was the tension that this ended up creating. Then, when daylight came and the Scorpio killer took more hostages, the tension and action opened up a bit as you could see what was going on more.
Don Siegel's direction really uses the city well, and the long scenes without dialogue show that you don't need clever talk all the way through to create effect. Eastwood's comfortable swagger and hardnosed attitude does a lot of the talking anyway without the spoken word needing to be used. The soundtrack has some tense and frantic elements that add to this effect, and coupled with a good plot, the film kept me riveted throughout.
It's a great film, that's for sure, and one I am surprised I took so long to get around top watching. Eastwood is on top form as a maverick cop. Dirty Harry is currently available from amazon.co.uk for £2.88, which is a really good price. Let down a bit only by a lot of dark scenes making it hard to get your bearings at times, this is a great film that I highly recommend.
Dirty Harry (1971)
Writer: Harry Julian Fink & Rita M. Fink & Dean Riesner
Dir.: Don Siegel
Clint Eastwood - Inspector Harry Callahan
Harry Guardino - Lieut. Al Bressler
Reni Santoni - inspector Chico Gonzalez
John Vernon - the mayor
Andrew Robinson - Scorpio killer
John Larch - the chief
A killer dubbed the Scorpio killer is on the loose in San Francisco and says he'll kill another person every day until the mayor pays him two hundred thousand dollars. He then kidnaps a girl and holds her hostage.
Inspector Harry Callahan, dubbed Dirty Harry, the cop that is sent to deliver the money, tries to stop the killer, but he gets away. Harry gives chase and eventually catches him, but he's released due to lack of evidence.
Harry stalks the killer, but is forced to leave him alone after the killer pays a man to beat him up and he blames it on Harry.
The killer takes a bus full of children hostage and demands the money and a jet.
Harry tries to convince the mayor not to pay, but instead kill the man before he can do anymore damage, but the mayor won't listen.
Harry knows the bus's route to the airport so he waits on a bridge and jumps on top of the bus. It rattles the killer and he crashes the bus. He runs and Harry chases. They wind up at a pond where the killer takes a young boy hostage.
Will Harry be able to save the boy and stop the Scorpio killer, or will the killer escape and continue his rampage?
This is an excellent movie. It is a quintessential guy's movie and is the first in a series of five Dirty Harry movies.
The movie is pretty well-written and pretty well directed.
The screenplay originally had this movie set in New York, but it was later switched to San Francisco, which was a good idea as the city really seemed to add to the film.
The Scorpio killer in the movie was based on the real-life zodiac killer who was on the loose in San Francisco at the time.
Clint Eastwood was basically known for two things, spaghetti westerns and Dirty Harry. He was excellent in this role, and the role suited him to a tee.
However, this movie almost went without the character that Clint created. Initially the role was written for Frank Sinatra, but he opted out as an earlier injury to his wrist would've made it difficult for him to tote a big old 44 mag. And, in my opinion, it's a good thing that Frank passed because it would've been a completely different movie, and not nearly as good.
John Wayne was also considered for the role but was passed over due to his age.
Marlon Brando was also rumored to be a choice for Harry, but whether those rumors are true or not, I couldn't say.
Don Siegel, the director, also wanted Audie Murphy to play the part, but I can't imagine how different the movie would've been with him in the role.
The role only fell to Eastwood after both Steve McQueen and Paul Newman both turned it down for various reasons.
Whatever the reasons that the stars aligned for Clint Eastwood to play this role I don't know, but I am certainly glad they did because he made it an iconic movie and an iconic character.
The supporting cast is also very good with John Vernon playing the mayor and Andrew Robinson as the killer.
All in all, this is a very good movie. It is classic Eastwood and should be seen and enjoyed by all. I certainly recommend it.
It is either The Man with No Name from Sergio Leone's Western films, or Harry Callahan from Don Siegel's Dirty Harry series that is the most iconic role of Clint Eastwood's career. The dark actioner is a thrilling moral piece and a classic action film thanks to both Siegel's direction and Eastwood's steely, unforgettable performance in the titular role.
Dirty Harry revolves around a serial killer called "Scorpio" (Andy Robinson), who is infact loosely modelled from the Zodiac killer that haunted San Fransisco in the 1960s and 1970s. The killer has already murdered a woman violently, and is threatening to kill more unless he is given $100,000. Thus, SFPD Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) is put on the case, leading him down a path in which he must decide his morals on a hairline - will he let the Scorpio go if he captures him, or kill him for all of the chaos and terror that he's caused? It's a scintilating drama that makes some moral questions, and whilst the film's ending is never in doubt, there's some thorough scenes of suspense and tension.
The film is perhaps most famed for Harry's "Did I fire 6 shots, or only 5?" speech, which then returns at the end of the film with the line "Do you feel you lucky, punk?". It's incredibly iconic, and whilst the film is in many ways just a police procedural, it's infused with a certain charm that differentiates it from the rest.
The impact of Dirty Harry's nihilism and brutality has become somewhat dilluted with a slew of knock-offs over the years, yet Don Siegel's film remains a definitive cop actioner. With witty dialogue, an iconic performance from Clint Eastwood, and Siegel's bravura action direction, this is a landmark, highly influential film.
This is the film that started it all, well, by all i mean the next 4 films in the dirt harry series that ended with Dead Pool at the end of the 80's. This is a good example of what was to come, with Clint Eastwood as Harry Calahan, the original renegade cop.
Calahan (Eastwood) is a cop in San Francisco who hates the beaurocracy of the police department which allows protocol to come before sense, and gives the criminals more power than the victims. He works slightly outside the law in order to, in the end, get the bad guys. One day though, innocent people start getting killed by a madman who is holding the government to ransom known as the scorpion killer (Andrew Robinson) Calahan then ends up embroiled in a deadly game of cat and mouse with the clock ticking and an increasingly twisted madman to deal with.
Action wise, this film is a classic, with good old punch ups and gunfights, as well as 70's cars racing through San Francisco, it is early 70's Hollywood at its best, quite simply.
Eastwood is fantastic as the very angry but still very cool cop who always gets the bad guy and has no respect whatsoever for his superiors. This is the film that introduced us to the classic movie phrase, "You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" Which Calahan cooly says as he points his gigantic gun to an injured burglars head.
For me, what made this movie quite unusual but also very effective was the complete insanity of the bad guy. Robinson is although not the best actor, still very eerie as Scorpio, a man who clearly takes an almost sexual pleasure from killing people. This is also noticable when Calahan injures himself and he ends up gasping rather than screaming. This is a very unusual touch, as you would expect to see this kind of thing in a modern film, not one which is almost 40 years old. To have such a bizarre and twisted criminal back then was quite unusual, when you compare it to your typical evil genius from that era, as seen in the Bond or Western films.
If anything, this simply increases the films appeal, as the slavering sicko is more detestable, and sticks in your mind.
This is a classic American movie which quite simply hasn't aged, and is funny, action packed, and a bit silly at times, with a great lead character.
I would recommend this film to anyone out there who is a fan of action films, as this movie is a genuine classic, and contains some of Eastwood's best acting to date (and he's been actinf for a hell of a long time)
This is one great movie and it stars one of my favorites,Clint Eastwood.This was a huge movie in 1971 and the start of the "Dirty Harry" moviesThis movie received alot of press because it was considered overtly violent and had a small bit of nudity.I think the actual question was,"What do you think about a cop like Harry Callahan?"
Harry Callahan was his own man, who in reality,answered to noone but his own sense of justice and alot of people who saw this movie agreed with his methods.And the story goes like this....
In the city where Harry Callahan(Clint Eastwood)works,there is a madman on the loose.He has sent a letter to be read by the police that demands $100,000 or he will kill a new victim.His name is Scorpio(Andrew Robinson) and he is a sadistic psychopath. In all the movies I have ever seen this is one of the best potrayals of a ruthless killer I have ever seen. You will hate this guy so much,it hurts! Nothing is off limits to this guy, not women or children.
As Harry is on this case there is a ton of action, especially memorable is a bank robbery scene where Harry explains to the robber all about his cannon of a gun,the .44 magnum.It spawned one of the most famous phrases of the movie after Harry tells the robber how many bullets the gun holds and asks the robber had he counted how many bullets Harry had already used?As he points this huge gun in the robber's face, he asks the famous question, "Do you feel lucky? Well,do ya,punk?
As Scorpio claims his next victim,a 10 year old child, a new letter arrives that states he has kidnapped a 14 year old girl and buried her alive with only enough oxygen for a few hours.He now wants $200,000 or she dies.
Through all of this,Harry has butted heads with his superior and the mayor and also acquired a new partner,a Mexican American named Gonzales(Reni Santoni).Needless to say,he is not happy and doesn't mind letting everyone know in no uncertain terms.And who do you think is chosen to deliver the $200,000? That's right, Dirty Harry.
This meeting will lead to a meeting between Harry and this serial killer that does not work out as planned.I want to leave the suspense of this to the viewer.Suffice it to say,the events that follow will anger and horrify you and you will see why we need Dirty Harry.
This is not the end of the movie in any way,there remains more twists and turns including the hijacking of a bus full of children and the final gripping end.
This is one suspenseful movie and Clint Eastwood really hit a cord with this potrayal.Today,this movie is even more relevant with all the horrific crime we hear about every day.Dirty Harry is a cop who takes justice into his own hands when the system fails.He uses his own methods and means.
Can we say Harry is wrong?That this is not the way things should be done even if the system fails to protect those it is supposed to.Many times it seems the criminal has more rights than the victim.And many of us are tired of it.Of the system failing the ones who should be protected but instead gives the criminal a second chance in the face of overwhelming evidence due to a technicality or worse, a violation of the criminals rights.Outrageous.
These are the questions you will be compelled to think about and ask yourself when you look at this movie.This movie struck a chord in me and so many others.It is relevant,thought provoking,violent and fantastic.I'm sorry but I applaud Harry Callahan and I'd like to shake his hand. You can draw your own conclusions.
I don't know if I can put into words exactly how much I love this film. but i'm going to try. The main character in the film Inspector Harry Callahan represents everything which a policeman should be. In his pursuit of a dangerous sick psychopath he is absolutely unrelenting in his methods of obtaining justice. Dirty Harry as he is known by his colleague will go against the overly liberal orders of his superiors to catch the killer and he gets results. The film has some very memorable scene such as one in the football stadium where Harry ignores the pleas of the injured villain who is asking for a lawyer and a doctor and demands to know where he has hidden a kidnapped young girl. This scene really sent a shiver down my spine. This film also contained a truly classic cinematic moment when Harry points his .44 magnum at a criminal and utter the immortal line "Do you feel lucky"
Having established himself as a huge box office name in the spaghetti westerns starting with A Fistful Of Dollars Clint Eastwood moved seamlessly into police thrillers as Detective Harry Callaghan. The first film in the series was Dirty Harry which established the character and created a market into which Magnum Force, The Enforcer and Sudden Impact was fed.
The film was set around the pursuit and ultimate capture of a crazed Sniper called Scorpio played with suitable wild-eyed madness by Andy Robinson. As we see Callaghan pursue him we see Callaghans personality develop as almost as pathologically criminal as those he pursues. The difference being he is on the side of law and order. Callaghan inevitably incurs the wrath of his superiors but sets for all time the classic but-he-gets-results versus go-by-the-book dilemma.
Callaghan goes well beyond the usual minor rule bending and wills the criminals to take him on. Having cornered one hood he sees his gun is almost within reach. In a classic moment of the cinema he asks the hood to consider whether he has used all his ammunition, to consider that this weapon Callaghan has is a Magnum 44, the most powerful handgun in the world. Finally he asks him Do Ya Feel Lucky? Having wisely determined he did not the hood still tells Callaghan he has to know and Callaghan squeezes the empty trigger whilst pointing the gun at him.
It is an excellent film in which the tension is built up throughout as Callaghan pursues Scorpio. The director was Don Siegel and the film is fiercely and savagely honed to be a tight pacey thriller. Sadly the film did also establish the genre of the vigilante type movie such as Death Wish in which excessive violence is justified in a crooked way. Only the discerning could intellectually justify the difference between the 2 series of film. Callaghans indifference to the victims of his police brutality is shown and the audience is invited to share that indifference.
The climax comes when Callaghan finally corners Scorpio and sets about torturing him and eventually shooting him. Scorpio mistakenly believed he was a lucky punk and this time Callaghan knew that this would be his choice and had the available bullet in the chamber of his Magnum to satisfy his and the audiences lust for justice.
The film was dedicated in tribute to the police officers of San Francisco who had fallen in the line of duty. Dirty Harry is an excellent film but whether it is a fitting memorial is debatable. An end to the cycle of violence is always the best memorial not ratchetting it up.
~ ~ I still remember the Dirty Harry series of movies, starring Clint Eastwood in the leading role, from when they first played in the cinemas from 1971 to 1988. There are five movies in total, starting with the original Dirty Harry (1971) and ending with the Dead Pool in 1988. I enjoyed them then, and so when I recently received an email offer of five DVDs from sendit.com for only £15 (postage free) I took the opportunity to include Dirty Harry as one of my selections.
~ ~ Certain characters have now entered cinema folklore and taken on almost iconic stature. Most everyone will have seen at least one Rambo movie with Sly Stallone, or one of the Harrison Ford Raider series. And then you have the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator, Bruce Willis in the Die Hard series, and Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon. It would be fair to say that Clint Eastwood in the role of Inspector Harry Callaghan, the ultra-cool, hard-nosed San Francisco cop with a penchant for blowing away the bad guys with his .44 Magnum handgun, was most probably the template that most of these characters were based on!
~ ~ The original Dirty Harry movie that the subsequent series was based on took the movie world by storm back in 1971, and caused a furore in the media worldwide. Back then the star, Clint Eastwood, wasnt the well-known and respected Oscar-winning actor that he is today. In fact, he was best known as a leading actor in Westerns, in particular the Fistful of Dollars series, and in the long-playing TV series Rawhide. (1959 1966) So it was a bit of a sea change for Eastwood to take on this role, and also a bit of a gamble. In fact, he WASNT the first choice for the part, the role originally being offered to Frank Sinatra and a couple of other actors who all turned it down!
~ ~ So whats the movie about, and why did it cause such a sensation back at the time of its original release in 1971?
Well, the plot was simple enough. A serial killer called Scorpio is on the rampage in San Francisco, and Inspector Callaghan, the aforementioned Dirty Harry, is assigned to the case. (The plot was loosely based on a series of actual murders that took place in San Francisco by a killer called Gemini, who in fact was never caught!) Where the controversy begins is with the character of Dirty Harry. Hes not at all your conventional cop, the All-American, clean cut good guy. Rather Inspector Callaghan is what could best be described as a loose cannon. A widower, (his wife and child were killed in a car crash with a drunk driver) he is now a total loner and completely immersed in his job, but his methods more resemble those of an out of control vigilante than a member of the forces of law and order. Harry is more inclined to deal out his own particular lethal brand of justice from the barrel of his .44 Magnum than to rely on the more traditional source of meting out justice, the legal system and the courts.
Scorpio, a Vietnam veteran, (who is well played by actor Andy Robinson) has been randomly picking off members of the public from the rooftops with his sniper rifle. He then kidnaps, rapes, and buries alive a 14-year-old girl in an attempt to extort ransom money from the authorities. Harrys job is to put a stop to the crazed lunatic before he strikes again, and he sets about doing this in his very own inimitable style, which naturally outrages not only his own Police Chief, but the Mayor and the District Attorney to boot.
~ ~ Thats the plot in a nutshell. Whats makes the movie a classic isnt the plot, but Harry himself. Right from the opening sequences youre left in no doubt that this cop is not your usual run-of-the-mill detective. We see him eating a hamburger in a cafe when he spots a bank robbery in progress on the other side of the street. Instead of immediately intervening he instead asks the café owner to ring police headquarters to send round a squad car as he doesnt want to be disturbed whilst eating his food. But when the robbery spills out onto the street before the reinforcements arrive, Harry is forced to reluctantly take action. He wanders coolly into action, his hamburger in one hand and his Magnum in the other, and nonchalantly blows away the bad guys one by one. Its at this point that he utters his by now immortal line while standing over one of the wounded crooks who is thinking of reaching for his gun that is lying on the sidewalk just out of his reach.
I know what youre thinking. Did he fire six shots or five? But seeing that this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and will blow your head clean off, you have to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do you punk?
~ ~ To put Dirty Harry in context and to understand why this movie has stood the test of time so well, (its now 34-years old) you really have to explore what it is about the film that appealed to people back in the early 1970s, and what still has a universal appeal today. Put simply, its the idea that the law and true justice are two distinctly different concepts! Back in the 60s and 70s the pendulum had began to swing dramatically onto the side of the criminal when it came to them being successfully prosecuted and convicted of major offences. Civil rights for everyone was the war cry of the day, and the bad guys took full advantage of the legal system and their rights to often evade paying any kind of penalty for their crimes.
What Dirty Harry did was to redress the balance onto the side of the victims by meting out instant justice from the barrel of his gun, even if by doing so he acted as sole judge, jury and executioner!
In effect, what the director Don Siegel managed to accomplish so well was to transfer the traditions of the old western movie to a modern urban environment, and the idea of true justice appeals to people today just as much as it did 34 years ago! Whether or not this was intentional on the part of the director and the movie studio is questionable. Its much more likely that all they were simply trying to do was to produce a good movie that would earn them loads of dosh at the box office. This they managed to do in spades, but at the same time managed to create a series of movies that set the tone for many action/adventure heroes that were to follow in the coming years.
~ ~ Im glad that Frank Sinatra didnt get the role, as was the original intention. Eastwood is simply so good in this type of role that its often hard to distinguish between the real-life actor and his on-screen persona! In the same way that Sly Stallone will most likely be best remembered for his roles as Rambo and Rocky, and Arnold Schwarzenegger for his part as the Terminator, so will Clint Eastwood be best remembered as Dirty Harry, despite his distinguished acting career and Oscars for other roles. In my opinion, it was his defining role.
There has even been talk recently of a remake (ANOTHER ONE!) of Dirty Harry where he comes out of retirement, but at 75 years of age I think it would be a huge mistake on the part of Eastwood to even consider such a part. Better by far that a good thing is left well alone, and he lets the five Dirty Harry movies speak for themselves.
~ ~ I bought my copy of Dirty Harry for only £3 in a package offer from sendit.com. Its currently available at Sendit for £6.99, but as with all other things it pays to shop around, and Im pretty sure youd pick up a copy far cheaper at the likes of eBay. As for myself, Im off to eBay to see if I can pick up the Dirty Harry Box set at a bargain price!
Highly recommended old classic movie, that has stood the test of time well.
~ ~ The DVD I received was the most recent DVD release of the movie, the Special Edition released by Warner Home Video on 4th July 2005, and not the earlier Widescreen Version released back in 1999.
Its presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, (whatever that means!) and for a movie of its age the transfer from movie reel to DVD appears to have been accomplished rather well, with good clear images and bright, bold colours.
The soundtrack has been remixed and re-mastered, and is in Dolby 5.1 Digital, which means I got the full benefit from the speakers on my Philips home movie DVD player. Its also presented in Dolby in French, and has Spanish, English, and French subtitles as an option.
Theres one really good 30-minute feature called Dirty Harry: The Original. Im not usually that interested in the plethora of extra features that seem to be on most DVDs these days, (I generally buy them just to watch the film!) but I sat engrossed for the full half-an-hour through this one. Its narrated by Robert Urich, and gives you lots of insights into the making of the movie, while also exploring its impact on American culture and its influence on more recent films in the same genre. (Much as I tried to do in my review) There are interviews with Clint Eastwood, Andy Robinson, the director, and with other action movie stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Well worth the effort to watch.
~ ~ The second feature isnt so good. Its the original 1971 documentary about the movie, and while it does contain further interviews with the then much younger actors and some additional behind the scenes footage, unlike the movie itself, it hasnt really stood the test of time and has aged badly. Not recommended except for true die-hard Dirty Harry fans.
Finally theres a theatrical trailer, some short production notes, and a list of some of the cast and crew.
RELEASED: 4th July 2005
FORMAT: Widescreen. Region 2.
RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes
RELEASED BY: Warner Home Video
Cat. No: D021516
CERTIFICATE: 18 (In the UK and Ireland)
© KenJ October 2005
A killer is roaming San Francisco, shooting, kidnapping and generally being a pain... Back in 1971 a cop came along who set the pattern for a many a subsequent screen cop, he's violent , breaks all the rules, has a penchant for flip remarks and you really, really don't want to be his enemy or his partner. He's Harry Callahan, better known as Dirty Harry, as portrayed by Clint Eastwood. The following review applies to the Region 1 release, the region 2 has the same specifications give or take the odd choice. The Movie: Sound: A beautiful Remastered 5.1 Dolby Stereo. Picture: Widescreen 2.35:1 Region 1 Disk has a 1.33:1 Pan and Scan version on the the disk as well. This film has never, ever, looked and sounded this good, even back in 1971 on the big screen. The sound mix is terrific, and infinitely superior to the last time I saw this on video, where the dialogue was inaudible. A great score by Lalo Schifrin, and nice to remember a time when an action film didn't require current chart songs on it's soundtrack. Film itself exhibits some grain, but again, this is the best I've seen it. Harry, himself, is wonderfully politically incorrect, and the movies' politics are a fascinating mix, with it's peace loving killer(?) and a violence loving anti-authoritarian cop. Don Siegel's direction is superb, Clint admirably moves his Man with No Name persona up a notch. And remember... Did he fire six shots or only five...? ____________________________________________ Other: Jump to a Scene The film broken down into 22 Chapters. Special Features The Disk has a bare minimum of Special Features, alas, the director is gone, and Clint doesn't seem inclined to commentaries. Pity. Cast & Crew Text notes on Clint Eastwood, Harry Guardino, Reni Santoni, Andy Robinson (A One man Deep Space Nine Production team these days), John Larch, John
Vernon and director Don Siegel. Behind the Scenes Text notes, nothing too original, unless you didn't know Frank Sinatra and Paul Newman were first and second choices for the role. Locations More text trivia about the stadium location and others. Select Languages: Region 1 Disk Dialogue : English, French and Spanish Subtitles: English, French and Spanish Region 2 Disk Subtitles: Arabic, Dutch, English, English for the hearing impaired, French, German, Italian, Italian for the hearing impaired, Portuguese, Spanish. Reel Recommendations "If you enjoyed Dirty Harry we recommend..." Just basic box art for other Warner Bros. releases. Not a film for everyone, but a landmark, and ripe for rediscovery. Seek it out. Come on, Warner, release or, rather, unleash, the other Harry films...
Clint Eastwood starred in Don Siegel's drama, 'Dirty Harry' about thirty years ago but this film is still worth watching. It's classic Clint Eastwood. Eastwood plays a policemen who has just been paired up with a new partner. Dirty Harry is not quite as straight as he should be. He's brutal and unfeeling but he gets his man! He hounds his suspect, the crazy gunman, Scorpio, all over San Francisco without any regard for his rights or anything else. Totally ruthless. The background music by Lalo Schifrin does real justice to this film. It provides much of the atmosphere. This film is very brutal in parts and I must admit it made me cringe at times, but there again, I get upset at 'Tom and Jerry'(ooh, that cat can be so cruel!) It certainly wasn't my cup of tea but if you don't might a bit of violence the plot is good and the acting is excellent.
Whether or not you can sympathise with its fascistic/vigilante approach to law enforcement, Dirty Harry (directed by star Clint Eastwood's longtime friend and directorial mentor, Don Siegel) is one hell of an American cop thriller. The movie makes evocative use of its San Francisco locations as cop Harry Callahan (Eastwood) tracks the elusive "Scorpio killer" who has been terrorising the city by the Bay. As the psychopath's trail grows hotter, Harry becomes increasingly impatient and intolerant of the frustrating obstacles (departmental red tape, individuals' civil rights) that he feels are keeping him from doing his job. A characteristically taut and tense piece of filmmaking from Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Shootist, Escape from Alcatraz), it also remains a fascinating slice of American pop culture. It was a big hit (followed by four sequels) that obviously reflected--or exploited--the almost obsessive or paranoid fears and frustrations many Americans felt about crime in the streets. At a time when "law and order" was a familiar slogan for political candidates, Harry Callahan may have represented neither, but from his point of view his job was simple: stop criminals. To him that end justified any means he deemed necessary. --Jim Emerson