Clint Eastwood: My Top 20 Favorite Movies ...Punk.
369 7.1 7.220. Pale Rider (1985)
Yet another entry into the genre for the venerable Mr. Eastwood and yet another one where he portrays a mysterious man who rides into town to save the day from rough-riding thugs who have a penchant for terrorizing the locals. If it weren't for the lengthy timespan between Pale Rider and Clint's 1973 cowboy outing as the High Plains Drifter, it'd be really easy to get the two flicks mixed up. Many of the basic elements of both movie premises are similar enough, with the major difference being that in Drifter he plays a Man-With-No-Name from "Hell", whereas in Rider he plays a heaven-sent "Preacher-With-No-Name from hell. Nevermind the fact that we've seen a similiar elements all chapters of the Dollars trilogy. Though, now that I think about it, PR's story also seems to have the distinction of edging towards some kind of grittier update one of the most classics of westerns, Shane.
At the end of the day though, it's still a solid Eastern shoot-em-up despite the rerunning of certain formulas. Because, while not all of Clint's cowboy movies were great, IMO, none of 'em were bad either, including this one. For the 80's, Pale Rider helps to fill in a quota of cinema iconography that we've gotten used to seeing in the 60's & in the 70's; the shadowy, roughly cut visage of Eastwood's face under a dusty cowboy hat with silently gritted teeth, ready to dish out some six-shooting justice to any "black-hatted" hombre lookin' to stir up some trouble.
331 6.9 7.119. Magnum Force (1973)
Harry Callahan may be a cop who's often referred to as "Dirty", but he's still a cop who strongly believes that, when it comes to taking the law into your own hands, a man has got to know his limitations. So when a "magnum force" of renegade officers begin a reign a rogue vigilantism, naturally, the only one who could stop 'em is a good cop with a bad attitude. With his trusty Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum by his side, it's up to Dirty Harry to clean up the streets of dirty traffic officers who tend to deal with violations with more than just a citation.
538 6.8 7.218. In the Line of Fire (1993)
Here Clint is a Secret Service agent determined not to allow another incident such as the Kennedy assassination happen again, and John Malkovich counter-determined to make sure history is repeated.
Malkovich is excellent in a role that makes the most out of creepiness that always seems to follow his persona. I always thought that as the cunning lead antagonist, this was a characteristic in John that should be utilized more often.
And yeah, I know that I should probably be focusing more Eastwood since this theme of this list is based on him,
but let's be honest....
when is John Malkovich ever gonna get a list of his own?
671 5.7 6.317. Space Cowboys (2000)
326 7.2 7.616. High Plains Drifter (1973)
161 6.3 6.315. The Gauntlet (1977)
The gaunlet has been thrown down & Dirty Harry has accepted the challenge.
Even if the only way of getting there means he has to take a bus.
And, yeah, I know that technically speaking, this isn't a Dirty Harry flick.
Eastwood as a cop who gets himself in more trouble than a whole squadron of police officers can handle....?
As far as I can tell, the only difference between this movie & all the other Callahan films is the name that's on the badge.
222 7.1 7.514. Kelly's Heroes (1970)
Take a heist movie & combine it with a war movie & what do get?
Take a heist movie & combine it with a war movie both made in the beginning of the 70's decade & what do you get?
A cool cast of actors that include the ever reliable Clint Eastwood, Teddy Savales, Carroll O'Connor, Don frikkin' Rickles & an offbeat yet definitely fun & memorable role from Donald Sutherland.
The Mighty Celestial's rating:
1064 8 8.313. For a Few Dollars More (1965)
1097 7.8 812. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
Fueled with the advent of the spaghetti westerns, the icon of the cowboy had begun to evolve into a more complex figure, of the quiet lone wolf who's only identity traits were marked by the mystery of his identity & by the grit of his character.
Thus began this particular sub-genre within a genre, which eventually would lead to A Fistful Of Dollers, & even more later on, to a memorable trilogy that takes a non-American take on a classic American icon.
1256 7.5 7.911. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
CE excellently directs this tale of the pacific war from the view of a band Japanese.
A country in which the war is not just against the the Allies, but also in a war within intself between the new methods & technology of the new age against it's revered ancient traditions of honor for one's native land & emperor, not to mention against the obligational feelings towards own family.
Who knew that a tale about the "other side" would make such a great American movie?
I know that Clint doesn't actually act in this one, but I was really impressed with this film, that I just had to include it on this list.
248 6.5 6.710. The Enforcer (1976)
Typical Dirty Harry fare, but now with a female partner.
However, despite being forced to side up with a Women's Lib quota filler,
that doesn't stop Inspector Harold Francis Callahan from carrying a 70's machismo-sized chip on his shoulder. Nor does it keep him from dishing out justice with guns so big that, expecting him to stay within the lines,
well, you're gonna hafta be feelin' lucky.
The Mighty Celestial's rating:
181 6.8 79. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)
During the first half of the 70's, "road pictures" were all the rage. And throughout the entirety of the decade, Clint Eastwood seemed to be a permanent fixture on movie theatre screens everywhere, no matter what time of the season it was.
So it was inevitable that the two would meet.
Add in the promising directorial debut of Michael Cimino (a director who's who high-profile potential would be responsible for The Deer Hunter, but then quickly spiral towards critical & commercial disasters like Heaven's Gate & Year Of The Dragon...) and the scene-stealing performance of Jeff Bridges,
and what you end up with is a road picture that, when compared to other films of the genre, seems to get better mileage than the rest as the years go by.
412 7.6 7.98. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
Take the name "Dirty Harry" & replace it with "Josey Wales". Take out the "modern-day morally-deprived punks" out of the plot and put in a "Social-Conscious of National Regret" instead. Now change the "1970's" to the "1870's", and switch the "big hefty handguns" with "long-ass six-shooters". And what you end up with is an Old West hard-edged cowboy in place of a new West hard-edged street-cop. But with the same Eastwood level of badassery.
245 6.8 77. Play Misty for Me (1971)
731 7.4 7.66. Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
The old Clintster tries his hand at a prison movie, portraying the first successful (allegedly) escapee from the infamous island prison, Alcatraz, alongside the actor who played Remo Williams, the brit who was the original Prisoner, & that one guy with the droopy face who played the "other" Kramer in that one episode of Seinfeld.
1147 7.7 7.85. Dirty Harry (1971)
Clint begins his tour de force as the San Francisco cop with a 70's machismo-sized chip on his shoulder. "Dirty" Harry Callahan is an on-the-street inspector who consistently talks thru incessantly gritted teeth, enjoys pissing off his starch-collared superiors & welds big hefty handguns like they were just a natural extension of what makes him so dirty to begin with.
In other words,
he's mad as hell and he's not gonna take it anymore, punk!
726 7.3 7.44. The Bridges of Madison County (1995)
A truly romantic story of how the escapist fantasy high/feeling that initially results with falling in love must eventually be realistically dealt with, as the conditions & responsibilities of one's current situation come quickly creeping back in. This movie always reminds of something I heard once: that couples pairing up for the sake of true love is still a relatively young concept in the context of human history. That we as both a society & a species over-all, have not evolved enough yet to be able to deal & accept each other in a manner that would be considered as total unconditonal love (which is the only real love). And it is because of this that the world population has yet been unable to formulate an effective means of discussion that would truly begin a process of unity between it's racial, social & in this case, gender factions. Maybe, like this film depicts, this is why so many make decisions more for the sake of a security based on social & financial reasons than what is right for us on an emotional level. And as they impeded on Robert Kincaid (Eastwood) & Francesca Johnson (Streep), decisions which may impede on our ability to follow our hearts & therefore sway us, individually and socially, from a path that would lead to true love before it's too late.
2354 8.5 93. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
At the outset of the first western movies, the cowboy characters had been categorized between two basic types: Those who wore the white hats, & those who wore the black ones.
As time passed though, the hat colors began to blur between who was bad, who was bad, & then to eventually who was just plain ugly.
Though this the final film in the "Man With No Name" trilogy, IMO, it's the best & most definitive one of the three.
It's almost impossible to think of the genre of the spaghetti western, let alone this particular series & not think of the iconic trio of Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef & Eli Wallach.
1551 8 8.32. Unforgiven (1992)
"That's right. I'm Will Munny and I've killed women and children. I've killed everything that walks or crawls at one time or another. And I'm here to kill you, Little Bill......"
He was once a real tough hombre who was good with a gun & never hesitated to use it.
But now, after so many years of trying to build a "normal life" away from that of a gunslinger, Will Munny comes to realize that when times get hard, and all the right buttons get pushed, the habits of a killer are just like riding a horse. You never forget. And you don't hesitate.
The manner in which the icon of the ol' western gunslinger is portrayed here,
as a man with a mysterious past which he would preferred forgotten, yet soon ultimately, comes to rely on for the survival of the redemptive life he has built, shows how this film could've also been called The Final Chapter Of The Man With No Name, But Now We've Given Him A Name.... Punk.
3220 7.6 8.11. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
The chemistry that results from Clint Eastwood's & Morgan Freeman's presence in this movie epitomizes the main thing I like about Million Dollar Baby. These are two seasoned actors so comfortable in their craft, that they both simply move in this film with a flowing ease of two veterans of their field who are just willing to allow the emotion of the story & the naturalness & trust of each other's acting ability to drive the momentum of this movie. And their chemistry of friendship, as cliche as it sounds, truly belies on the phrase of that "indescribable something" & yet, it's so tangible that the much younger yet equally talented Hilary Swank can't help but to follow suit in doing. It all leads to an overall performance from the trio that makes this a film whose power stems not from the boxing themes that one would usually expect from a boxing flick, but more from the emotions that weave & tie the characters together & allows the plot to unfold at it's own volition. In the end, it seems almost overkill to describe Million Dollar Baby as anything other than a boxing film that focuses on the female contingent of the sport directed by & starring Eastwood, along with Hillary Swank & Morgan Freeman.
Or in other words, a film that had me at "Mo Cuishle".
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