Sudden Impact (1983)



Critic Consensus: Sudden Impact delivers all the firepower -- and the most enduring catchphrase -- fans associate with the Dirty Harry franchise, but it's far from the best film in the series.

Movie Info

A hard-edged cop is assigned to track down a female killer who proves to be a vigilante seeking revenge on the thugs who subjected her to a brutal gang rape. This crime drama is the fourth and perhaps most famous of the films featuring the character of "Dirty Harry" Callahan.

Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Joseph C. Stinson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 20, 2001
Warner Bros. Pictures


as Harry Callahan

as Jennifer Spencer

as Chief Jannings

as Capt. Briggs

as Mick

as Ray Parkins

as Lt. Donnelly

as Horace King

as Off. Bennett

as Mrs. Kruger

as Hawkins

as Elizabeth

as Burly Detective

as Coffee Shop Waitress

as Historical Society W...

as D'Ambrosia

as Elizabeth

as Police Commissioner

as Assassin

as Assassin

as George Wilburn

as Bailiff

as Hawkins' Crony

as Hawkins' Crony

as Desk Sergeant

as Detective Jacobs

as Detective Barnes

as Loomis

as Bartender

as Policeman

as Dr. Barton

as Young Hooker

as Senior Man

as Hysterical Customer

as Bank Robber

as Young Guy

as Young Guy

as Young Guy

as Young Guy

as Gang Member

as Gang Member

as Gang Member

as Gang Member
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News & Interviews for Sudden Impact

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Critic Reviews for Sudden Impact

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (5)

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

Full Review… | April 30, 2009
Top 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.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top 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.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top 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.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | December 11, 2013

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.

Al S

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.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


This movie did deliver the epic catchphrase, "Go ahead, make my day."
Aside from that, Eastwood's directorial debut of the series turned out to be a disappointing experience.

Sajin P A

Super Reviewer

Sudden Impact Quotes

– Submitted by Dutch E (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Kyle J (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Rocky F (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Eric H (3 years ago)

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