Clint Eastwood is one of the toughest tough guys in Hollywood history. Throughout his movie career he’s been a man of few words and lots of action.
You may not remember that Clint’s career started on the small screen. During the golden era of TV westerns he had the role of Rowdy Yates on Rawhide. Largely due to Eastwood’s presence, Rawhide became the fifth-longest-running western in TV history.
In the sixties, Eastwood was best known for playing The Man with No Name in a trilogy of spaghetti westerns. Director Sergio Leone said of his star, “I like Clint Eastwood because he has only two facial expressions: one with the hat, and one without it.” I don’t know if a person’s name influences his life, but it’s interesting that “Clint Eastwood” can be anagrammed as “Old West action.”
Perhaps his most memorable character is Dirty Harry Callahan, the epitome of the “loose cannon” cop. Eastwood portrayed Callahan in five films in the seventies and eighties, starting with Dirty Harry in 1971 and Magnum Force in 1973. Dirty Harry spoke one of the most memorable quotes in film history: “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 has also directed more than 30 films, and is one of his generation’s most accomplished masters of that art. He won Best Director and Best Picture Oscars for Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby. Other prominent films he directed include Mystic River, The Bridges of Madison County, and Flags of Our Fathers. What’s not as well as well known is his musical acumen – he’s written the score for five of his films in the 2000s.
Tough guy, yes. Renaissance man, yes. Great American Thing, oh yes. Here’s the famous scene from Dirty Harry referenced above: