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Sudden Impact (1983)



Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 21,414

My Rating

Movie Info

In this fourth installment of the Dirty Harry series, Harry has been banished temporarily from San Francisco because his superiors are uncomfortable about his feud with a local crime boss. He goes to an oceanside small town for a little rest and recuperation but finds the town has been traumatized by a series of brutal murders. Harry meets and falls in love with Jennifer Spencer (Sandra Locke), a young artist. Jennifer and her sister were brutally raped a few years previously by a group of men,


Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure

Nov 20, 2001

Warner Bros. Pictures

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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (15) | DVD (14)

It is viewed by many aficionados as the best of the five movies about the hard-nosed, authority-defying San Francisco cop.

April 30, 2009 Full Review Source: ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is the first entry in the series to have been directed by Eastwood himself, and action is put over with great force, if also with some obviousness.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Eastwood the star needed a hit to bolster his flagging ratings; now that he's got it, maybe Harry will be put out to stud, with his Magnum.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

To all those cowboy movies we saw in our youth, all those TV Westerns and cop dramas and war movies, Dirty Harry has brought a great simplification: A big man, a big gun, a bad guy and instant justice.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

By my count, more than a dozen people are murdered on camera, about half by Miss Locke and most of the others by Mr. Eastwood. This gives them something in common as lovers.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Considering that Sudden Impact delivers one of the most memorable lines in movie history, it's surprising how forgettable the rest of it is.

December 11, 2013 Full Review Source:

At times like a traffic jam of different stories and characters crossing paths back and forth for almost two hours, and there isn't too much tension to go with it.

August 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

...stretches the believability factor to the limit, with a story that is all over the map.

May 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

A study of the Dirty Harry macho drive, worked out lucidly by the filmmaker and his avenging muse

April 2, 2010 Full Review Source: CinePassion

The film lags whenever Eastwood isn't on screen, but even his dryly humorous patter can't offset the very sour, mean tone of the rest of the film.

June 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Sadly, Clint was still sleeping with Sandra Locke and giving her work! The worse of the "Dirty Harry" films...didn't "make my day"

March 15, 2008
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

Harry starts to parody himself with this one.

December 8, 2005
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Boy did Ronald Reagan love this movie!

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Not as strong as the first three Dirty Harry movies, but this fourth one has enough classic Harry Callahan moments to make it a worthy addition to the series.

October 9, 2005
Fantastica Daily

Dirty Harry draws again. Vintage Clint.

October 30, 2004

Worth watching, just for THEE line.

November 4, 2003 | Comment (1)
Juicy Cerebellum

The worst of the Dirty Harry films, made even more excruciating by Sondra Locke's presence. Fans of the series will find several worthwhile moments, however.

March 19, 2003

Probably Sondra Locke's best performance.

September 22, 2002
Laramie Movie Scope

Same bag of tricks, but fans will like a look all the same

September 17, 2002

not one of Dirty Harry's better days

July 29, 2002
Kalamazoo Gazette

Audience Reviews for Sudden Impact

A riveting, dark and gritty action-packed edge of your seat thriller. It packs real serious punch and showcases Dirty Harry at his toughest and most bad-ass. Clint Eastwood is leaner and tougher than ever as Dirty Harry, giving a terrific performance and this time in the directors chair showing off his craft and style. Sondra Locke gives an intense and effective performance. It`s definitely the darkest film in the series and showing that its not afraid to take risk. It`s packed with dark humor, great performances and sizzling action sequences.
December 2, 2012

Super Reviewer

For the fourth entry in the long running series about hard-nosed inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan, Clint Eastwood decided to take the reins this time around. And not only that, but this is also the film that gave the "Go ahead. Make my day" line, which is one of the best ever.

That being said, I'm rather conflicted about this one. It is competently made, but there's really not a whole lot of in depth subtext, and there's plenty of missed opportunities to capitalize more on the fact that it's no longer the 70s, and how Harry is a relic of a bygone era.

Don't get me wrong, this is addressed, but it's just not done in all that compelling or interesting way. There's less action, and more focus on psychology, which is okay, but things are more often than not a drag, and quite frankly, a bore as well. That, and some of the humor was far more groan worthy than was probably intended.

Okay, so the plot: after outcries of police brutality, HArry is sent on an out of town assignment until things cool off. However, things always seem to heat up wherever Harry goes. His investigation revolves around a rape victim who, years after the event, is getting cold blooded revenge. Not only that, but Harry also has vengeful mobsters on his tale after an interrogation/intimidation of his caused a senior mafioso to keel over from a heart attack.

Given this set up, you'd think this would be more slam bang, and not so contemplative. In a lot of ways, this film is like a great deal of Clint's (especially later) directorial work, namely in terms of style, themes, and execution, and, while this is a noble effort, I was let down.

Like I said though, this has the great quote, and the climax is good, but everything else is a mixed bag.
September 10, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Fourth entry in the Dirty Harry film franchise plays out like a revenge action thriller. After a rape victim takes out her revenge on her abductors, Harry Callahan is put on the case. Brilliantly directed by Clint Eastwood himself, Sudden Impact is one terrific piece of action cinema that I consider to be one of the most solid sequel to the first. I thought it was a change pace as well. The plot, though slightly predictable ( I mean, we've seen a few revenge style films out there, right?) is nothing new, but is expertly done by Eastwood. Sudden Impact is a terrific film, and deserves more praise than it got. I thought the film had terrific acting by all the cast members, and the gang of criminals of which are the victim of of the rape victims wrath. I thought the film had everything you would expect to find in a Dirty Harry Film. The film is none stop action and thrills and will appeal to diehard Dirty Harry fans. I much preferred Sudden Impact over The Enforcer which in my opinion was good, but lacked a little something to truly make it great. Sudden Impact has a stronger, much more detailed plot that I found to be the most thrilling since Magnum Force. I personally feel that the Dirty Harry films should have concluded with Sudden Impact, this film is a solid action film with one of the best actors in the business. Those who love this film will most likely be disappointed by it's sequel and final entry in the franchise, The Dead Pool. Sudden Impact is a far superior film, and should have been the final film in the series. A terrific fourth film, but this film isn't for everyone. Sudden Impact is I'd say a film strictly for the fans.
April 13, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

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May 11, 2006:
Dirty Harry Gets a Video Game and an HD Facelift
Big fan of the "Dirty Harry" series? Well then get ready for an all-new video game version...

Foreign Titles

  • Le retour de l'inspecteur Harry (FR)
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