Dirty Harry

24 Mar


Dirty Harry is a film I have been meaning to watch for a long time, but have only just got round to. I’ve known of it’s significance and iconic status for a long time but I knew very little about the plot.

The film opens with a woman being killed by a lone gunman from a rooftop, whose motive is unclear. When he starts sending ransom notes to the police, Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) is assigned the case.


The whole film centres around Callahan. He is a cop with scant regard for the rules. He’s interested in one thing, and one thing only – results.

As such, we see him getting increasingly desperate to catch our killer, who calls himself ‘Scorpio’ (Andrew Robinson). Callahan will do anything to try and bring Scorpio to justice.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t love Dirty Harry. It’s a good film but it is certainly dated now. The plot didn’t particularly grab me, but there is one thing about this film that stands out – the performance of Clint Eastwood. This is one of Eastwood’s most famous roles and it’s not hard to see why. He is a fantastic hero. Obviously the line “Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?” line is iconic and despite knowing this line word-for-word, none of its impact was lost. Eastwood delivers it fantastically and it sets his character up well.

Despite not loving it, I fully accept the status this film has and it’s influence on cop films that followed. It paved the way for the depiction of ‘dirty’ cops on screen. It caused controversy at the time for it’s perceived portrayal of police brutality and the results it gets.

It’s a film I’m glad I’ve seen and I would recommend to anybody who hasn’t, but it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for.



One Response to “Dirty Harry”

  1. Tony June 3, 2013 at 14:31 #

    i can see where you are coming from with your review – maybe its a generation thing, and you having had the benefit of the development of film/techniques/acting craft etc were always going to be left feling a little short changed, but for my generation (born in 50’s) Eastwood films of this era will always hold a special place … even dare I say it some of the spaghetti westerns – try Eastwood in High Plains Drifter, Two Mules for Sister Sara etc

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