Clint Eastwood is undoubtedly one of Hollywood’s most enduring cinematic icons. A celebrated actor, writer and director, Clint Eastwood established the macho hero and as a mainstream idea for cinegoers who were used to their leading men as dashing and gallant a la Cary Grant. The following list are the five Clint Eastwood movies we think are the his most impressive work to date.
Eastwood directed this 2008 feature in which he stars as a Walt Kowalski, a veteran of the Korean War whose wife recently passed away. His worldview is largely informed by his experiences during the war, leaving him with deep, inbred prejudice against Asians and Asian Americans. When his neighborhood transforms into an enclave e of Asian families, he realizes that the only thing of value in his life is his mint 1972 Gran Torino. A gang of young Asians is dared to try and steal his car, which compels him to almost shoot and kill them. Soon, however, he comes to understand that he shares more with them than anyone else in his life, including his own family.
Most people recognize this movie as the one for which Hillary Swank won her second Best Actress Oscar, but much of the credit should go to Eastwood who wrote and directed the film. The story is about a poor 31-year-old waitress named Maggie Fitzgerald who has grown tired of her humdrum life. She wants to make a difference and to matter. She decides that the only way to make that happen is through boxing. Thus, she enlists a former trainer Frankie Dunn (Eastwood) and his partner to help train her to become a prized fighter. Dunn, who has a difficult past and seeks redemption, takes her on as his daughter and helps her realize her dreams.
Another contemporary classic featuring Eastwood alongside the sublime Meryl Streep, this film is about a lonely wife and mother who takes up an affair with a photographer visiting her small town in Iowa. Though their entire affair only lasts four days, it becomes a life changing experience for both Francesca Johnson (Streep) and Robert Kincaid (Eastwood). The film is noted for the expertly crafted scenes of tenderness between Francesca and Robert who both yearn for not only each other, but for greater intimacy and meaning in their lives.
Unforgiven helped solidify Eastwood’s reputation as an actor/director of substance. The story is about a town in the old west called Big Whisky. When a prostitute is brutally killed, the other town prostitutes decide to avenge her death by putting bounty on the heads of cowboys suspected of the killing. The bounty being offered attracts the attention of an aging ex-killer named Munny (Eastwood) who decides that the peaceful life he has been living just isn’t enough to scrape by. He decides he will kill once more.
Set in the early 1970s in San Francisco, Dirty Harry is about a maniac sniper who kills random targets and leaves clues and ransom notes at the scene of the crime. Officer Harry Callahan (known as Dirty Harry and played by Eastwood) is assigned to the case because of his reputation for solving difficult homicide cases. Along with his partner Chico Gonzalez, the duo engage in a cat and mouse game to stop the sniper and bring the city back from the edge.