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"I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking, did he fire six shots or only five? Well to tell you the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and will blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself a question: do I feel lucky? Well do ya, punk?" ****
So began an era of Inspector Dirty Harry Callahan, played by Clint Eastwood as only he could do it. Not a policeman you send to solve a case, one that you send to annihilate a case. One would never assume when Eastwood, the 5th actor approached for this part, accepted the role an almost anti-hero angry cop would evolve and become so memorable.
People had been vaguely aware of Eastwood for some time because of his reign of low budget spaghetti westerns. His steely glare through those squinted eyes, his weathered face, and his I dont give a damn attitude made him perfect for the part of Callahan. I cant imagine Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, John Wayne pulling it off, all were asked or considered for the part. Steve McQueen was also considered, closer but no Eastwood.
In the movie Callahan was after a serial killer. They say the movie was based on the Zodiac Killer, but I dont think this was ever confirmed. They accept the correlation, of course, because it adds to the suspense and drama of the movie, brings more people into the theaters, sells more videos. They aint dumb, ya know.
Callahan is less an ethical but a very determined dog when on your trail. He is tired of the rules and the rule breakers. Tired of arresting a perp one day and finding him back on the street the next day. Tired of the revolving door of the justice system. Frankly I wouldnt want him after me, but he did a bang up job in this movie.
Playful references were made throughout the movie to other Eastwood vehicles, most prominently Play Misty For Me shown on the theater marquee behind Eastwood while the straddled his assailant and spouted his famous and much quoted speech about just how lucky the guy outta feel.
Callahan is a different cop than Gibson's vengeful Mad Maxx or his psycho Lethal Weapon personna. He almost leans toward the Charles Bronson character in his vendetta series, Death Wish. He is a cop with a purpose and that purpose is to rid the streets of unsavory characters, even if he has to break the law to do it.
Certainly not one of the better movies ever made, but one that most people are at least aware of, Dirty Harry lead to several sequels and ingrained Eastwood into movie stardom as almost an icon of macho man in todays world. After such a volatile career with his range of gun-toting roles, it was definitely hard to drop him down into a more sentimental character as in Bridges of Madison County and Honky Tonk Man.
As far as I know, the last Dirty Harry sequel was The Dead Pool, released in 1988. As with most sequels, although this run of movies was decent, nothing carries the impact of the original movie. In fact, Harry is responsible for another great quote "Go ahead, make my day" from the 1983 Sudden Impact film. Facing the character of Inspector Dirty Harry Callahan can only be a jolt once and then you have to ask yourself, Do I feel lucky today? Not if Harry is after you.
Dirty Harry was written by Harry & Rita Fink, directed by Don Siegel. It starred Clint Eastwood as Insp. Callahan, Harry Guardino as Lt. Bressler, Reni Santoni as his partner Insp. Gonzalez, and Andrew Robinson as the serial killer.
This is part of the Famous Quotes in Movies write-off hosted by dbcint See his page for more info.
**** From the movie, not my words.
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