Clint Eastwood first hit the scene in a television program called “Rawhide”. (1959 -1965) This western started Eastwood on the road to his long and distinguished career. From the Sergio Leone “Spaghetti” Westerns, to the just opened “Invictus”, (2009) Eastwood has shown versatility few actors possess.
Here are a few of the best films of Clint Eastwood.
The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly (1966)
Directed in Italy by Sergio Leone, these western films became known as “Spaghetti” Westerns. This film was the culmination of a trilogy in which Eastwood played an enigmatic drifter who while not the bad guy, was less than angelic. Eastwood plays a character that is only referred to as “Blondie”, by Eli Wallach’s character, Tuco. Blondie and Tuco are out to find a cache of hidden Union Army gold. Angel Eyes, (Lee van Cleef) a hired killer who also wants the gold, is in pursuit. Leone directs on a grand scale, including a Civil War battle in the middle of this sprawling epic.
Play Misty For Me (1971)
Eastwood made his directorial debut in this thriller. In the film, he plays Dave Garver, a Carmel Disc Jockey who has a brief fling with Evelyn, (Jessica Walter) an obsessed fan. When Evelyn will not let go, Dave finds out just how unhinged this possessive woman is. Many feel this film was the inspiration for “Fatal Attraction” (1987). Donna Mills and James McEachin co-starred.
Dirty Harry (1971)
Eastwood plays San Francisco Police Inspector Harry Callahan in the first of five films about a cop who operates by his own set of rules. In this film, Callahan is after Scorpio, (Andrew Robinson) a killer playing a cat and mouse game with the police and Callahan in particular. Callahan not only has to track this psychotic killer, but buck the rules of his own department to get the job done. The best remembered line from the film: “You’re looking down the barrel of a .44 Magnum. The most powerful handgun in the word. Did I fire six shots, or only five?”
Eastwood directed and starred in this powerful film about a retired gunslinger who takes on one last job. He plays William Munny, who along with his long time friend Ned, (Morgan Freeman) and a young man who calls himself the Schofield Kid, (Jaimz Woolvet) accepts the bounty on two cowboys who disfigured one of the town prostitutes. Gene Hackman is the town Sheriff and local bully, “Little” Bill Dagget. Frances Fisher, and Richard Harris also co-starred. The film won Best Picture and Director Oscars for Eastwood and a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Hackman. One of only three Westerns to win Best Picture.
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Eastwood again directed and starred in this tale of redemption and achievement. He plays Frankie Dunn, a boxing Gym owner, who has trained many promising fighters over the course of his career. However, none has made it to a title fight. Enter Maggie Fitzgerald, (Hilary Swank) a waitress with no future. She sees boxing as a way to escape her low-life family and gain respect. Dunn, convinced by his long time friend and former boxer Eddie “Scrap-Iron” Dupris, (Morgan Freeman) reluctantly agrees. Along the way, Dunn who has been estranged from his own daughter for 25 years and Maggie form a bond. The film won Best Picture and Director for Eastwood, Best Actress for Swank and Best Supporting Actor for Freeman at the Academy Awards.