Dirty Harry (1971), written by Harry and Rita Fink, centers on a hard-edged New York City (later changed to San Francisco) police inspector named Harry Callahan who is determined to stop a psychotic killer by any means. Dirty Harry has been described as being arguably Eastwood's most memorable character, and the film has been credited with inventing the "loose-cannon cop" genre. Author Eric Lichtenfeld argues that Eastwood's role as Dirty Harry established the "first true archetype" of the action film genre. His lines (quoted above) are regarded by firearms historians, such as Garry James and Richard Venola, as the force that catapulted the ownership of .44 Magnum revolvers to new heights in the United States; specifically the Smith & Wesson Model 29 carried by Harry Callahan. Dirty Harry, released in December 1971, earned $22 million in the United States and Canada. It was Siegel's highest-grossing film and the start of a series of films featuring the character Harry Callahan. Although a number of critics praised Eastwood's performance as Dirty Harry, such as Jay Cocks who described him as "giving his best performance so far, tense, tough, full of implicit identification with his character," the film was also widely criticized as being fascistic. After having been second for the past two years, Eastwood was voted first in Quigley's Top Ten Money Making Stars Poll in 1972 and again in 1973.
The Dollars trilogy was not released in the United States until 1967, when A Fistful of Dollars opened on January 18, followed by For a Few Dollars More on May 10, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly on December 29. All three were commercially successful, particularly The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, which eventually earned $8 million in rental earnings and turned Eastwood into a major film star being ranked for the first time on Quigley's Top Ten Money Making Stars Poll in 1968 in fifth place. All three received poor reviews, and marked the beginning of a battle for Eastwood to win American film critics' respect. Judith Crist described A Fistful of Dollars as "cheapjack," while Newsweek called For a Few Dollars More "excruciatingly dopey." Renata Adler of The New York Times said The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was "the most expensive, pious and repellent movie in the history of its peculiar genre." Time magazine drew attention to the film's wooden acting, especially Eastwood's, though a few critics such as Vincent Canby and Bosley Crowther of The New York Times praised his coolness. Leone's cinematography was widely acclaimed, even by critics who disparaged the acting.More Info
An Academy Award nominee for Best Actor, Eastwood won Best Director and Best Picture for his Western film Unforgiven (1992) and his sports drama Million Dollar Baby (2004). His greatest commercial successes are the adventure comedy Every Which Way but Loose (1978) and its action comedy sequel, Any Which Way You Can (1980). Other popular Eastwood films include the Westerns Hang 'Em High (1968) and Pale Rider (1985), the prison film Escape from Alcatraz (1979), the war film Heartbreak Ridge (1986), the action film In the Line of Fire (1993), and the romantic drama The Bridges of Madison County (1995). More recent works are Gran Torino (2008) and The Mule (2018). From 1967 to 2020, Eastwood's company Malpaso Productions has produced all but four of his American films.More Info
Eastwood's career reached a turning point in 1971. Before Irving Leonard died, he and Eastwood had discussed the idea of Malpaso producing Play Misty for Me, a film that was to give Eastwood the artistic control he desired, and his debut as a director. The script was about a jazz disc jockey named Dave (Eastwood), who has a casual affair with Evelyn (Jessica Walter), a listener who had been calling the radio station repeatedly at night, asking him to play her favorite song – Erroll Garner's "Misty". When Dave ends their relationship, the unhinged Evelyn becomes a murderous stalker. Filming commenced in Monterey in September 1970 and included footage of that year's Monterey Jazz Festival. The film was highly acclaimed with critics, such as Jay Cocks in Time magazine, Andrew Sarris in the Village Voice, and Archer Winsten in the New York Post all praising the film, as well as Eastwood's directorial skills and performance. Walter was nominated for a Golden Globe Best Actress Award (Drama), for her performance in the film.More Info
Eastwood held a number of jobs, including lifeguard, paper carrier, grocery clerk, forest firefighter, and golf caddy. Eastwood said that he tried to enroll at Seattle University in 1951, but instead was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War. "He always dropped the Korean War reference, hoping everyone would conclude that he was in combat and might be some sort of hero. Actually, he'd been a lifeguard at Fort Ord in northern California for his entire stint in the military," said Eastwood's former longtime companion Sondra Locke. Don Loomis recalled hearing that Eastwood was romancing one of the daughters of a Fort Ord officer, who might have been entreated to watch out for him when names came up for postings. While returning from a prearranged tryst in Seattle, Washington, he was a passenger on a Douglas AD bomber that ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean near Point Reyes. Using a life raft, he and the pilot swam 3.2 kilometres (2 mi) to safety.More Info
Eastwood was cast as Tom in Star in the Dust (1956) with Richard Boone. He joined the Marsh Agency, and although Lubin landed him his biggest role to date in The First Traveling Saleslady (1956) and later hired him for Escapade in Japan (1957), without a formal contract Eastwood was struggling. On his financial advisor Irving Leonard's advice, he switched to the Kumin-Olenick Agency in 1956 and Mitchell Gertz in 1957. He landed several small roles in 1956 as a temperamental army officer for a segment of ABC's Reader's Digest series, and as a motorcycle gang member on a Highway Patrol episode. In 1957, Eastwood played a cadet in West Point series and a suicidal gold prospector on Death Valley Days.More Info
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