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Dirty Harry (1971)

“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?”

Clint Eastwood starred as Inspector Harry Callahan, a San Francisco Homicide detective and all-round supercop who stops at nothing to bring in ‘Scorpio’ –  a psychopathic sharpshooter (Andrew Robinson) who strikes at random, killing innocent civilians with a high-powered telescopic rifle and demanding a huge ransom to prevent him from killing again, one person a day.

Callahan corners the killer but (after torturing him during the arrest) sees him set free because of legal niceties.


The killer then goes on another rampage, seizing a school bus, and the gripping climax sees Callahan execute him without the benefit of judge or jury.

His SFPD badge then follows the corpse of the deceased child-slayer into the murky waters of the quarry lake, thrown in disgust at the job and the conditions under which he is supposed to perform it.

Eastwood is at his steely-eyed best, and whether or not you agree with the notions of vigilante justice put forth here, you have to admire the force with which they’re presented.

Dirty Harry was originally set to star Frank Sinatra and yet it’s a role that laconic Spaghetti Western star Clint Eastwood was born to play.

Director Don Siegel’s lightning-fast pace makes this first Harry Callahan film superior to sequels Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer (1976), and Sudden Impact (1983).

Harry Callahan
Clint Eastwood

Harry Guardino
Chico Gonzalez

Reni Santoni

John Vernon

Andrew Robinson 

John Larch
Frank DiGiorgio

John Mitchum
Mrs Russell

Mae Mercer

Lyn Edgington

Josef Sommer

Don Siegel