Happy 89th Birthday CLINT EASTWOOD! Here Are His Ten Best Films

Happy 89th Birthday CLINT EASTWOOD! Here Are His Ten Best Films

Article by Jim Batts, Dana Jung, and Tom Stockman

Completely satisfied Birthday to one among We Are Film Geeks favorite stars. Clint Eastwood was born on this present day in 1930, making him 89 years previous as we speak. The actor and two-time Oscar profitable director hasn’t let his age sluggish him down a bit.

We posted an inventory in 2011 of his ten greatest directorial efforts HERE

Clint Eastwood has appeared in 68 movies in his six (!) many years as an actor, and here, in accordance with We Are Film Geeks, are his ten greatest:

Honorable Point out: HONKYTONK MAN

By the 1980s, Clint Eastwood was one in every of Hollywood’s most bankable stars.  Together with his own manufacturing firm, directorial expertise, and financial clout, Eastwood was capable of make smaller, extra private films.  An ideal instance is the underrated HONKYTONK MAN, which additionally occurs to be one in every of Eastwood’s best performances.

Drawing upon Eastwood’s love of both music and period historical past, MAN tells the story of Pink Stovall, a consumptive but hard-living country singer, set someday in the course of the Melancholy.  Whereas on his solution to Nashville for a shot on the Grand Ole Opry, Purple stops to gather his nephew Hoss (charmingly played by Eastwood’s son, Kyle) from his sister’s farm in the Oklahoma dust bowl.  Additionally tagging alongside is Hoss’s grandfather (John McIntire), who needs to return to his family homestead in Tennessee.  From that setup, the movie is actually a street trip filled with adventures—both comic and tragic—that may have an effect on Hoss eternally. This pretty easy story is informed with great affection by Eastwood the director.  The period element and setpieces are fantastic, with Eastwood again displaying a keen eye for each comic timing and character-driven drama.  He even throws in some suspense, as as soon as again Eastwood the actor wields a gun—however this time with humorous outcomes.  And a visitors cease which begins with some rigidity ends with an extended punchline.  Eastwood also handles his actors with ease, drawing first-class performances from a gaggle of great character actors, including Eastwood “regulars” Verna Bloom (HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER) and Matt Clark (JOSEY WALES), plus Barry Corbin, Tim Thomerson, and Gary Grubbs.  As grandpa, the veteran McIntire was never better; the scene the place he recollects the Land Rush of 1893 is just good.  Also giving a incredible efficiency was Alexa Kenin as Marlene, a younger stowaway on the street trip who supplies a lot comedian aid.  A well-known face on 1970s TV, Kenin was a rising younger supporting actress (PRETTY IN PINK) who was found lifeless in her condominium a couple of years later at age 23.  Her explanation for demise has by no means been disclosed. MAN can also be peppered with a few of the brightest stars of nation music.  Ray Worth, Shelly West, David Frizzell, and Porter Wagoner all make temporary appearances, and Marty Robbins, who died a short time after filming, had a Prime 10 nation hit together with his rendition of the title track.  Along with the country music which fills the soundtrack, there is a healthy shot of blues in the type of Linda Hopkins.  Eastwood does all his personal singing for the movie, and has a pleasing enough voice to make his performance completely believable.  Relaxed and humorous, Eastwood appears proper at residence with the interval dialogue, corresponding to “my raw-boned Okie woman,” and “double damn tarnation!”  Whether he’s on stage singing, or educating his nephew the methods of the world, or stealing chickens (!), Eastwood dominates the movie and exhibits just what an excellent display presence he is—typically tough, typically delicate, but all the time likable.


Reality: Alcatraz is an impenetrable island fortress. Reality: Nobody has ever escaped from Alcatraz. Reality: Clint Eastwood doesn’t care much for information! In ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ Eastwood gave considered one of his greatest display performances; distinctive, persuasive, and powerful. We all know very little of his Frank Morris except that he has escaped from prisons earlier than and has been sent to Alcatraz as a result of no one gets off the Rock. Eastwood’s fifth and last movie with director Don Siegel has aged nicely, with no sentiment or melodrama to get in the best way of the small print of the escape. ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ doesn’t proceed at the break-neck tempo of your typical action movie. Siegel follows the breakout plan with meticulous detail. Even when Morris and his two comrades handle to get out of their cells, the story doesn’t concentrate on the suspense of the chase between escapees and guards. In reality, the prison officials aren’t seen till the invention on Angel Island, and at that point, the prisoners are never seen once more. As an alternative, the battle is between men and the physical area they’ve to overcome. It’s less about avoiding guards and extra to do with navigating heights and depths and limitations. The prison itself, quite than those that oversee it, becomes the antagonist. When Eastwood gained his first directing Oscar, he thanked Siegel (and Sergio Leone) and when watching ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ, a masterful piece of storytelling through which the characters say little, letting the digital camera explain the motion. the older director’s affect is clear.


As Clint Eastwood’s film profession neared the fifty yr mark, his characters eased into previous age, slowed down bodily, and have been haunted by their ghosts of the past. This is undoubtedly the case with Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan in Wolfgang Peterson’s IN THE LINE OF FIRE. Frank’s still on the job, and he sweats and wheezes as he joins the much youthful agent s in operating alongside the presidential limo. In addition to his shortened stamina, he’s haunted by that Fall day in Dallas over thirty years in the past, when he couldn’t defend the young Commander-in-Chief in time. As Frank puts it, ” If I had taken that bullet, it might’ve been alright with me”. Unfortunately a deranged assassin played with gusto by John Malkovich knows of Frank’s previous and taunts him ( ” I see you standing over the grave of another president’ ) in several encounters. Eastwood’s registers Frank’s every emotion ( shock, disgust, worry while making an attempt to keep him on the line lengthy enough for a trace ) throughout several telephone conversations with the threatening gunman. Apart from these scenes with Malkovich, Eastwood exhibits a special aspect with two of the other younger actors in the film. With the novice agent played by Dylan McDermott, Eastwood’s a instructor, mentor, and father figure, whereas with Rene Russo’s Lilly Raines, he makes an attempt a mild, hesitant friendship that becomes a tender romance. Peterson has crafted a gripping, edge-of-your-seat motion thriller anchored by one among Eastwood’s greatest, mature, weak performances.


THE BEGUILED was a gothic story of deception and horror from 1971 set within the time of the Civil Warfare. Clint Eastwood performed John McBurney, a wounded Union soldier who takes refuge in a Southern faculty for girls whom he must hold beguiled or danger being turned over to the Confederates. Directed by Don Siegel, this gothic horror story ends with the captive paying dearly for his ingratitude in the direction of his captors’ sick model of Southern hospitality. In addition to the implied sexual state of affairs, there’s an specific seduction adopted by a ugly amputation scene. Siegel (whose DIRTY HARRY would open a few months after this box-office failure) not only paces THE BEGUILED with a strong mix of sexual pressure, eroticism and black humor, he matches the female forged perfectly to their roles – from Geraldine Web page’s yearning spinster (with a very dirty secret), to Elizabeth Hartman’s naive nineteen-year-old with chaste romantic fantasies, to Jo Ann Harris’s seductive teen slut. The characters Eastwood played in his profession survived Nazis, lynchings, assassins, and gangsters however John McBurney by no means stood an opportunity in a house filled with scorned ladies.


One of the headstones in a graveyard in HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER bears the identify Sergio Leone as tribute as the first western that Clint Eastwood directed exudes the legendary aura of lots of Leone’s style offerings. Principally reprising his “Man With No Identify” persona from the Leone trilogy, Eastwood took the usual Western revenge story to new ranges. In HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER Eastwood is “The Stranger” who wanders into the small mining city of Lago to merely have a couple of drinks, a quick shave, and tub. Before lengthy, he’s killed three dangerous guys, raped the town tramp, pressured the city to rename itself ‘Hell’ and has literally painted it pink. And he’s the hero! Virtually all the characters in HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER are repellant and unlikeable particularly the cowardly townsfolk who stood by idly and watched as three gunmen bullwhipped their sheriff to demise. No marvel John Wayne, after seeing HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, wrote an indignant letter of protest to Eastwood complaining concerning the unfavourable depiction of Wayne’s beloved “spirit of the West”. Too dangerous Duke, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER is among the greats!


For a fella that’s gone most people’ retirement age, Clint Eastwood is filled with surprises. And nice performances. In 2004’s MILLION DOLLAR BABY, which he additionally produced, directed, and scored, Eastwood is grizzled previous boxing medic Frankie Dunn. Like lots of his later characters Dunn is haunted by the past. Nevertheless it’s not just the reminiscences of massive fights and title bouts, it’s his estrangement from his daughter. In his golden years his only family is another former boxer Eddie ‘ Scrap-Iron’ Dupris played by Morgan Freeman who helps in operating Dunn ‘s seen-better-days coaching fitness center. Simply as in  UNFORGIVEN the two actors have a fantastic relaxed rapport as they wax nostalgic concerning the good ole’ days ( correcting each other’s recollections ) and disparage the shortage of class and grit in the new youngsters. And then Hilary Swank’s Maggie enters their lives. We see Eastwood act casually dismissive of the ” woman ” boxer, however he steadily responds to her spirit. Reluctantly he turns into her stern coach and slowly becomes a surrogate father to Maggie. In one terrific sequence Maggie’s greedy, ” trashy”, kinfolk berate and bully them. The Eastwood of a couple of many years in the past would’ve put that younger ‘mouth-y’ punk by means of a wall, but the older, wiser man knows this thug isn’t well worth the effort or abbreviation. He’s value not more than a hard, disgusted stare. In the film’s heartbreaking last scenes we get to see a tender, loving Eastwood that he’s not often shown on display. The final encounter between Frankie and Maggie might have probably the most macho film fan reaching for his hankie. Although Eastwood earned no appearing gold , his co-stars Freeman and Swank both earned Oscars. It’s fairly a testament to Eastwood’s appearing ( and directing ) expertise – he’s so good he pushes his fellow thespians do their greatest work.

In 2008, Clint Eastwood made GRAN TORINO, both as a director and as an actor, however Eastwood himself pronounced this is able to be the final time he stars in one among his movies. Whether or not or not that holds true is yet to be seen, given rumors about his subsequent movie TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE. What was, maybe painfully clear nevertheless, is that Eastwood is not a spring hen. Very similar to his character in the film, Walt Kowalski is an ageing and cussed man, set in his ways. Walk sets out to show a teenage neighbor a factor or two after he makes an attempt to steal Walt’s satisfaction and pleasure, a sweet 1972 Gran Torino muscle automotive. The strain arises as Walt, a Korean Struggle veteran, builds an unlikely friendship with the boy of Hmong ethnicity, both of whom reside in a crumbling city neighborhood. Walt sees the world around him falling apart in his eyes, however ultimately involves terms together with his personal prejudice via his actions within the teenage boy’s profit. Eastwood plays the crotchety curmudgeon with a natural ease, drawing a bit from Dirty Harry’s own sense of allure and manners. It’s nice to see Eastwood expanding his storytelling craft into extra significant movies, whereas additionally embracing his age as an actor in a less flattering position, giving the movie a stronger resonance.


“You’ve received to ask your self a query: ‘do I really feel fortunate?’ Properly, do ya, punk?” Clint Eastwood muttered his most famous line in DIRTY HARRY, starring as Harry Callahan, the hard-working San Francisco cop who can’t finish his lunch with out having to cease a bank theft together with his 44 Magnum (“probably the most powerful handgun on the earth”). Harry should take the regulation into his own palms when a psychotic killer is launched on a technicality and the cat and mouse play between Harry and the killer ‘Scorpio’ is taut, suspenseful and horrifying but critics in 1971 attacked the movie for evading the complicated legal issues and ethical problems with vigilante justice. Clint’s cynical superhero is principally irresponsible in endangering the lives of innocent individuals in his private crusade towards criminals however that just made Harry more endearing to most audiences and the movie was a smash success, spawning four (wonderful) sequels. Director Don Siegel keeps the motion tightly-wound and fast-paced and Andy Robinson is likely one of the most vicious, warped, and sophisticated villains in cinema. As a consequence of Callahan’s fascist nature, John Wayne, Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen, and Paul Newman all reportedly turned down the half. Eastwood stepped in to the position and when he’s twisting Scorpio’s broken arm (“I have a proper to a lawyer!” Scorpio whines), he smiles just a bit and we behold the right match between actor and character.


In 1976, the nation’s Bicentennial acquired a particular present with the release of THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, arguably Clint Eastwood’s greatest Western movie, and top-of-the-line Westerns ever made.  There’s so much about JOSEY WALES that’s exceptional, compelling, and downright entertaining, that I reckon we’ll begin with the making of the film.  Based mostly on a novel by Forrest Carter, the film follows the books’ mixture of vengeance tale, travelogue, buddy story, Previous West folklore, and lifelike Native American characters, with a sprinkling of actual historical figures, similar to the good Comanche leader Ten Bears.  (The writer himself is an interesting story, as he was originally a segregationist speechwriter named Asa Carter, who worked for George Wallace and even ran for public workplace earlier than reinventing himself as an award-winning writer sympathetic to Native American causes.  For years, “Forrest” denied that he was Asa Carter and even tried to offer the impression that he was Native American.) The movie’s manufacturing can also be a grand tale of Hollywood lore.  Initially, Phil Kaufman (RIGHT STUFF) was employed to direct the film with Eastwood and his firm producing.  Kaufman labored on the pre-production and casting, rewrote the script, and commenced principal cinematography.  Nevertheless, less than a month into capturing, Kaufman was unceremoniously fired from the production, and Eastwood took over as director and completed the movie.  The Director’s Guild turned concerned and created a new rule that prohibits anybody working on a movie to switch a director fired from the same film.  This rule (unofficially referred to as the “Eastwood rule”) continues to be in impact right now.  In line with legend, Kaufman was fired because each he and Eastwood have been smitten with a reasonably younger actress within the movie named Sondra Locke.  Actually, Locke and Eastwood turned a pair afterwards and labored collectively on 5 extra films before their relationship crashed and burned in a stormy public breakup 10 years later.  Nevertheless, a more doubtless cause for the firing was Kaufman’s detail-oriented fashion utilizing a number of takes.  An economy-minded Eastwood supposedly had his fill when Kaufman drove miles back to city from an remoted set to accumulate a small prop he needed to incorporate in a scene. No matter its origins, JOSEY WALES has grow to be a modern basic.  One of the few Western films to be included within the Nationwide Historic Registry, the film succeeds on all ranges.   JOSEY WALES begins as a post-Civil Struggle revenge story, but this plotline is quickly kind of resolved in what’s the first of many amazingly filmed gun battles.  The story then becomes a street movie, with Wales on the run from the evil bluecoats.  It’s fascinating to note that in almost every different movie remedy of the Missouri/Kansas border wars, the pro-Union Kansas abolitionists are portrayed as the great guys, while the Missouri rebels are the dangerous guys.  JOSEY WALES neatly flips this mannequin in order that we immediately sympathize with the outlaw.  Throughout his flight to security within the Indian Nations, Wales collects a ragtag group of residents (a Native American man and lady, two Kansas ladies, a Mexican, and so forth.) who appear prepared to forgive whatever crimes are in his past and comply with him.  It additionally doesn’t harm that Wales is mighty useful with a pistol, and has saved lots of their lives. The movie is built as a collection of misadventures, and Eastwood the director exhibits an exceptional flair for character-driven comedy, and for staging a few of the coolest gunfights ever to hit the silver display.  Eastwood the actor provides one in every of his greatest performances as Josey Wales, a person who has lost every thing but finds he isn’t alone.  As the film progresses, we see the brittle hardness of the outlaw soften into a person with hope for a future.  The supporting roles are uniformly wonderful as properly.  John Vernon (POINT BLANK, ANIMAL HOUSE) is the turncoat who involves sympathize with Wales.  Bill McKinney (DELIVERANCE) is the obsessed evil bluecoat chief.  Sam Bottoms, Woodrow Parfrey, Sheb Wooley, and Royal Dano are all great character actors who are marvelous right here.  Locke is just fantastic in her scenes and brings a candy observe of innocence to the film.  However special point out must go to Chief Dan George (LITTLE BIG MAN), the good Native American actor as Wales’ first new pal, Lone Watie.  Half Scarecrow of Oz, half spokesman for the Native American plight, and part action hero, George steals every scene he is in. And the basic dialogue- a lot of it lifted right from the novel –is just unforgettable:   “Dyin’ ain’t much of a dwelling.”  “Hell is coming to breakfast.”  “Endeavour to persevere!”   Most necessary of all, the film has an enormous, daring coronary heart as Eastwood unabashedly exhibits both his love for this era of American historical past and his love of film, by no means shying away from softer moments, similar to with Locke, or from the violence of the frontier which might occur at any second.  Within the meeting with Ten Bears, the thematic climax of the film, these parts mix superbly in a brilliantly executed scene that accommodates the fantastic “There’s iron in your phrases of dying” speech delivered by actor Will Sampson.  The struggles of the fashionable world will not be life or dying, however we as moviegoers and People can definitely relate to stories of friendship, adversity, and everyday human truths.


In 1964, Clint Eastwood accepted the lead position in a Western being filmed in Spain titled “The Magnificent Stranger.”  The part had been provided to lots of Hollywood’s most rugged actors, together with Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, and Charles Bronson.  Eastwood, on break from his TV collection RAWHIDE and in search of a film challenge, immediately recognized the story as a remake of Kurosawa’s YOJIMBO.   When the film was finally launched within the US, the title had changed to A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, and each a star and a brand new genre, the “spaghetti Western,” have been born. The “Man With No Identify” collection of Westerns directed by Sergio Leone and starring Eastwood came to a spectacular conclusion with THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY.   Set amid the turmoil of the Civil Warfare, the story follows three men (hence the title) on a quest for gold treasure.   Leone directs together with his traditional dramatic flair, filling the display with landscapes, gunfights, closeups of dangerous males, treks via the desert, jail camps, Civil Warfare battles, and an incredibly suspenseful and satisfying conclusion.  With cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli, who would later shoot movies for some of Europe’s biggest administrators (Louis Malle, Roman Polanski, Lina Wertmuller, and so on.) and composer Ennio Morricone (who topped his previous two No Identify Westerns with one of many nice movie scores of all time here), Leone created what some critics regard as his masterpiece.  Yes, even better than ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. Eastwood’s “No Identify” character fills the great position of the title, while nice character actors Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach are the dangerous and the ugly.  Van Cleef, the co-hero of Leone’s and Eastwood’s previous Western FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, here perfectly personifies evil.  Ruthless and calculating, together with his “satan eyes,” Van Cleef is a superb display villain.  Wallach provides the efficiency of his profession as Tuco, the ugly.  Whether he’s faced with dying on the hangman’s noose, or confronting his Catholic heritage, or making an attempt to revive his “good friend,” the marvelous Wallach all the time makes Tuco sympathetic and likable—a lot so that you simply’re alarmed when Eastwood’s character is imply to him. Eastwood has joked that the small cigarillos he had to smoke stored him in character as The Man With No Identify as a result of (a) he’s a non-smoker, and (b) they tasted actually, actually dangerous.  In his last Leone Western, Eastwood exhibits the identical laconic squint that made him so famous.  However he also exhibits a bit of the same compassion we only glimpsed in the earlier No Identify Westerns, right here in his relationship with Tuco, and in smaller moments, comparable to witnessing the carnage left after warfare.  In its ultimate photographs of Eastwood driving off into the sunset, rich and invincible, THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY capped an unimaginable trilogy in the annals of movie mythology.


In the 1960’s Clint Eastwood broke freed from his tv work and helped redefine the movie Western ( together with film maker Sergio Leone ). Almost thirty years later Eastwood decided to shut the door on his work in the ‘oaters’ with the character of William Munny in UNFORGIVEN. Whereas most of his Westerners have been anti-heroes or rebels, Munny is a full-fledged outlaw who’s tried to vary his methods. You possibly can see the toll this life has taken on Munny’s face : exhausted by his failure at farming in the course of the day and from sleepless nights haunted by the ghosts of his victims of his lawless years. Eastwood has great rapport together with his co-stars. Morgan Freeman shares the trail ( and legal reminiscences ) through the journey to avenge the “working” women. The two previous saddletramps are virtually an elderly married couple who calls out the opposite on their B.S. without hesitation. Eastwood becomes the instructor/ mentor with Jaimz Woolvett because the full-of-bravado ‘ Schofield Kid’. After a bloody shoot-out they trade the movie’s greatest strains. The visibly shaken Child : ” Yeah, nicely, I assume that they had it coming.” The weary Munny replies, ” We all acquired it coming, kid “. And then there’s the scenes with the town Sheriff, ” Little” Invoice Daggett expertly played by Gene Hackman ( incomes a well-deserved Oscar ). After Invoice exhibits his true colours, Eastwood releases his inside beast from his younger violent days in a memorably brutal, bloody climax. His ” Man with no Identify” could also be his most well-known Western character, but Willian Munny makes for an distinctive ultimate act for Eastwood’s work in this genre.

Clint Eastwood has made so many great films and runner-ups for this listing would have to embrace A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, BRONCO BILLY, TIGHTROPE, and WHERE EAGLES DARE.  Completely happy Birthday Clint!

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