Dirty Harry

Scorpio: “You tried to kill me!"
Callahan: “If I tried that, your head would be splattered all over this field."

release year: 1971
genre: police action
viewing setting: home DVD, 4/7/19 and 12/22/10 and 2/10/04

synopsis: Tough cop Harry Callahan must outwit and catch an insane murderer.

impressions: This was a good cop movie, probably not meant to turn into a five-part franchise. Dirty Harry was the first character of his kind: a cop who will get the job done, no matter what it takes, and who doesn't like legal technicalities that allow dangerous criminals to walk free. No one wants to be his partner because it's too dangerous, and his superiors don't want to back him because it hurts their careers...yet when the tough, brutal work needs doing, they call him. And when they call him to do it again after burning him multiple times previously, he tells them to f*** off...and then goes out, chases down the bad guy, and blows him away. Outstanding.

things to watch for: All the dated early 1970s stuff! Cars, phones, grocery stores, bars, strip clubs...it won't be long before no one remembers how these things looked in 1971.

trivia: I just happened to decide to watch this on 12/22/2010...and the original release date was 12/22/1971. What a coincidence!

acting: Clint Eastwood is outstanding in one of his signature roles; Harry is easy to understand and cheer for. Andrew Robinson is genuinely convincing as the insane, unpredictable killer Scorpio. Reni Santori (despite being 32 at the time) is good as a young rookie cop. The guys who played the mayor and the police chief did a good job as jerks.

final word: Classic cop/action movie.

back to the main review page