Dirty Harry

Dirty Harry
Release Date: 23rd December 1971
Director: Don Siegel
Rating: 18
Malpaso Productions, Warner Bros.

I know what you’re thinking. “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. 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 Eastwood is Dirty Harry, and Dirty Harry is a cop in the homicide department all about cracking skulls. A killer is on the loose, murdering Catholics and blacks in hope of the government giving him some cash, and Dirty Harry is having none of it. He sets off with his new partner, Chico Gonzalez (Reni Santoni), to track Scorpio (Andy Robinson) in San Fransisco. A film built on quotes, hard-boiled action and tense police force to and fro with the villain. Scorpio appears almost comic book like with his over-exaggerated movements and pleas, which adds a level of excitement to proceedings as Dirty Harry goes to town on him.

The film is great entertainment with many quotable lines such as the opening paragraphs and the momentum is perfect, never dipping or becoming to overwhelming. We see Harry go against the police’s justice system in the name of his own personal justice, though this causes problems and perhaps the most jarring moment of the film. After a tense couple of exchanges between Harry and the killer we see Harry reigning victorious only for his brutish work to be put down as problematic for throwing the killer behind bars. I doubt very much that a justice system would let a murderous freak out free even if some underhanded tactics were used. Still it comes to bite them in the ass and the film quickly continues onto an exhilarating climax with the best ending lines ever.

Dirty Harry holds up well today. The over sized handgun and Harry’s characteristics have become iconic in pop culture and it has a swift and exciting tale, topping most cop films doing the rounds today. If Dirty Harry was real, it would be a good tip to not piss him off. Might blow your head clean off.

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