Total Recall: Best Movies Starring Clint Eastwood

We count down the best-reviewed work of the Trouble with the Curve star.

95%

5. In the Line of Fire

By the 1990s, Eastwood rarely deigned to star in movies he didn't direct himself, but he made an exception for In the Line of Fire, Wolfgang Petersen's taut 1993 action thriller about an aging Secret Service agent (Eastwood) whose guilt over allowing the assassination of President Kennedy makes him the perfect target for a killer (the fabulously creepy John Malkovich) who's plotting to murder the current President. A $176 million box office hit, it also resonated with critics like Jeffrey M. Anderson of Combustible Celluloid, who wrote, "It's an uncommonly exciting, intelligent movie, and one of the best summer movies ever made."

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96%

4. High Plains Drifter

Hot, dark, and mean, High Plains Drifter offered the perfect sophomore outing for Eastwood the director -- and gave Eastwood the actor yet another chance to exact frontier justice and growl bursts of dialogue while squinting into the desert. Steeped in paranoia and topped off with a heaping dose of the supernatural, Drifter follows greed and lawlessness to their horribly logical conclusions; it is, as Vincent Canby argued for the New York Times, "Part ghost story, part revenge Western, more than a little silly, and often quite entertaining in a way that may make you wonder if you have lost your good sense."

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96%

3. Unforgiven

Periodic half-hearted revivals notwithstanding, the Western was in pretty poor shape by the early 1990s, its blinkered view of the past discredited by generations of filmgoers raised on gritty screenplays and flawed antiheroes. Clint Eastwood, who made one of the few well-received Westerns of the 1980s with Pale Rider, was just the guy to fix that -- and so he did with 1992's Unforgiven, a bitterly bleak rumination on the addictive futility of vengeance that united an impeccable cast (including Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman) and reaped a bounty of Oscars along the way. Observed Roger Ebert, "That implacable moral balance, in which good eventually silences evil, is at the heart of the Western, and Eastwood is not shy about saying so."

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97%

2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Eastwood and Sergio Leone rounded out the Dollars Trilogy in spectacular fashion with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the film that severed their partnership while bringing some closure to the loose narrative arc they started with A Fistful of Dollars and continued with For a Few Dollars More. Joined here by Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef, Eastwood said farewell to the Man with No Name in a hail of gunfire, inspiring Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune to applaud, "Leone's blockbuster is balanced on the razor's edge between popular entertainment and art film. It took classic American themes and turned them inside out."

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98%

1. A Fistful of Dollars

Squinty-eyed, gun-toting loner strolls through the desert, winds up in the middle of a good old-fashioned Western gang war, and sees an opportunity to make a few bucks. Awesome gunfights ensue. It sounds like a foolproof setup -- and, to be fair, director Sergio Leone was working from some pretty great stuff with this loose Yojimbo remake -- but in the wrong hands, A Fistful of Dollars wouldn't have been anywhere near as effective. (For proof, see Walter Hill's 1996 misfire, Last Man Standing, which uses the same DNA with far less effective results.) With Eastwood shooting 'em up and Leone exerting his signature command of the camera, the result was the gunslinger classic that Variety called "a hard-hitting item, ably directed, splendidly lensed, neatly acted, which has all the ingredients wanted by action fans and then some."

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In case you were wondering, here are Tatum's top 10 movies according RT users' scores:

1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- 93%
2. For a Few Dollars More -- 92%
3. Unforgiven -- 91%
4. Gran Torino -- 90%
5. A Fistful of Dollars -- 88%
6. The Outlaw Josey Wales -- 88%
7. Million Dollar Baby -- 87%
8. Dirty Harry -- 86%
9. Where Eagles Dare -- 85%
10. Kelly's Heroes -- 85%


Take a look through Eastwood's complete filmography, as well as the rest of our Total Recall archives. And don't forget to check out the reviews for Trouble with the Curve.

Finally, here's Eastwood getting the MST3K treatment for his first movie performance -- in 1955's Revenge of the Creature -- :

Comments

Miroslav Maric

Miroslav Maric

Gran Torino ?
Mystic River ?

wtf

Sep 19 - 04:26 PM

Francisco Hernandez

Francisco Hernandez

agreed where's Gran Torino RT?

Sep 19 - 04:30 PM

Jeff Giles

Jeff Giles

...At 80 percent on the Tomatometer, and thus below the cut.

Sep 19 - 04:33 PM

Kieran F.

Kieran Fraser

Gran Tarino is at %90....

Sep 20 - 07:21 AM

Jeff Giles

Jeff Giles

At 90 percent with audiences, not critics -- and even then, it's below "Coogan's Bluff" at 94 percent.

Sep 20 - 08:04 AM

Bernt Andersen

Bernt Andersen

Come on! When "For a few dollars ..." came out, there were like 8 filmcritics in the whole world! Now there are millions. Of corse the average is going to be lower on the new films.

Sep 20 - 09:04 AM

Michael Patison

Michael Patison

For a Few Dollars More has been reviewed by 34 people I believe, so you can shut your mouth.

Sep 20 - 04:58 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Yes. The old days. Clint would pack up his new film on donkeyback and trudge 35 miles across the Dust Bowel just to get a screening at a steam-powered drive-in. You kids today have no appreciation for a real hard day's trudge. You just expect your old man racism streamed directly into your phone nipples. "Torino" is like oak-aged bourbon. Learn to sip it, junior. It's too rich for your eager child-fingers.

Sep 20 - 10:24 PM

Cole Jaeger

Cole Jaeger

Best movies STARRING Clint Eastwood. And it's sorted by tomato meter, so neither films are high enough anyway.

Sep 19 - 04:56 PM

nongshim

Nong Shim

agreed; although the RT scores are lower, i love both those movies.

Sep 19 - 05:26 PM

The Reaper

Iron Will

Starring roles only, bub. Christ, can you read? And, as has been stated, by t-meter.

Sep 20 - 06:21 AM

George Patchell

George Patchell

Also this is films Eastwood has starred in. He didn't star in Mystic River he just directed it.

Sep 20 - 12:30 PM

akatz5

Andrew Katz

He didn't star in Mystic River.

Sep 20 - 02:34 PM

Steven Voll

Steven Voll

Gran Torino is pretty bad.

Sep 21 - 08:27 AM

Gregory Hermes

Gregory Hermes

He didn't lead, but what about 'A Perfect World'?

Sep 21 - 08:59 AM

Prashanth Mjj

Prashanth Mjj

yep..A perfect world was a great flick!Definitely his top 10,wonder why it is so under-appreciated!

Sep 25 - 06:20 PM

Sandman1968

First Last

And it's "starring Eastwood", hence no "Mystic River"

Sep 23 - 04:01 PM

Matheus Alpino

Matheus Alpino

Wtf are you on? Did you really think an actor as hailed and as old as clint wouldnt have 10 movies better than Torino? All movies in this list are vastly superior than Torino.

Sep 25 - 10:16 AM

Danny Hall

Danny Hall

Clint Eastwood is easily one of the most prolific and talented actors of all time and maybe even the greatest actor of all time in the western genre.

Sep 19 - 04:26 PM

Dwayne Roberts

Dwayne Roberts

I was blown away by The Outlaw Josie Wales. Surprisingly strong story.

Sep 19 - 04:27 PM

Francisco Hernandez

Francisco Hernandez

agreed where's Gran Torino RT?

Sep 19 - 04:30 PM

Jeff Giles

Jeff Giles

...At 80 percent on the Tomatometer, and thus below the cut.

Sep 19 - 04:33 PM

Kieran F.

Kieran Fraser

Gran Tarino is at %90....

Sep 20 - 07:21 AM

Jeff Giles

Jeff Giles

At 90 percent with audiences, not critics -- and even then, it's below "Coogan's Bluff" at 94 percent.

Sep 20 - 08:04 AM

Bernt Andersen

Bernt Andersen

Come on! When "For a few dollars ..." came out, there were like 8 filmcritics in the whole world! Now there are millions. Of corse the average is going to be lower on the new films.

Sep 20 - 09:04 AM

Michael Patison

Michael Patison

For a Few Dollars More has been reviewed by 34 people I believe, so you can shut your mouth.

Sep 20 - 04:58 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Yes. The old days. Clint would pack up his new film on donkeyback and trudge 35 miles across the Dust Bowel just to get a screening at a steam-powered drive-in. You kids today have no appreciation for a real hard day's trudge. You just expect your old man racism streamed directly into your phone nipples. "Torino" is like oak-aged bourbon. Learn to sip it, junior. It's too rich for your eager child-fingers.

Sep 20 - 10:24 PM

Alex Frieden

Alex Frieden

LMAO @ MST3K!!!

Sep 19 - 04:31 PM

Jeff Giles

Jeff Giles

...At 80 percent on the Tomatometer, and thus below the cut.

Sep 19 - 04:33 PM

Kieran F.

Kieran Fraser

Gran Tarino is at %90....

Sep 20 - 07:21 AM

Jeff Giles

Jeff Giles

At 90 percent with audiences, not critics -- and even then, it's below "Coogan's Bluff" at 94 percent.

Sep 20 - 08:04 AM

Gavin Miller

Gavin Miller

My three favorites are Unforgiven, Gran Torino, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly! I also love Million Dollar Baby, In the Line of Fire, rest of the Dollars Trilogy, and pretty much all his other movies! Great actor/filmmaker!

Sep 19 - 04:42 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I love almost everything this guy has ever been in including "The Rookie", "Pink Cadillac", "Any Way You Can", "Thundrbolt and Lightfoot", "Heartbreak Ridge", "Three Mules For Sister Sara", "Kelly's Heroes" for there is only a few I haven't seen yet!

Sep 19 - 04:49 PM

Cole Jaeger

Cole Jaeger

Best movies STARRING Clint Eastwood. And it's sorted by tomato meter, so neither films are high enough anyway.

Sep 19 - 04:56 PM

nongshim

Nong Shim

agreed; although the RT scores are lower, i love both those movies.

Sep 19 - 05:26 PM

١r­ur Bj÷rnsson

١r­ur Bj÷rnsson

Unforgiven should be at the top.

Sep 19 - 07:12 PM

DooDoo Shrivel

DooDoo Shrivel

I would replace Coogan's Bluff (or Gran Torino) with Heartbreak Ridge. I'm an Eastwood connoisseur, and I'm sorry but Coogan's Bluff was kind of a little bit crap.

Sep 19 - 07:52 PM

Josh Daniels

Josh Daniels

While I like Heartbreak Ridge, it's a pretty standard formula and nothing special, not like the other films on this list.
The battle in Grenada really took the movie down a notch in my opinion.

Sep 20 - 06:19 AM

Dave J

Dave J

I agree while the overall experience of Heartbreak Ridge is standard, the comedic aspect of it between the character Eastwood plays and Mario Peebles as well as his unit consists of some of Eastwood's best humor in years!

Sep 20 - 01:33 PM

Sean Corbin

Sean Corbin

I actually really liked Coogan's bluff

Sep 20 - 07:01 AM

Jamie Evans

Jamie Evans

'Play Misty for Me' is a great movie also. It is one of his best non-Western movies.

Sep 20 - 07:54 AM

Dave J

Dave J

You may not think that Coogan's Bluff was very good but it did encouraged a syndicated television show called "McCloud"!

Sep 21 - 01:50 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Was really expecting to see Million Dollar Baby at least up there. I'm as big a fan of High Plains Drifter as the next guy, but as a movie it pales in comparison to MDB. Also a bit surprised to see Fistful of Dollars above The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Sep 19 - 07:57 PM

Gar Bercury

Gar Bercury

4 more years Mr. Eastwood...

Sep 19 - 09:04 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I don't have much of a problem with these rankings. I'd put "Josey Wales" in the top five, move "Good Bad and the Ugly" to #1 (greatest western ever!) followed by "Unforgiven". All his Leone films deserve to be here. I'd probably drop "Coogan" for "Magnum Force" though.

Sep 19 - 09:51 PM

Travis M.

Travis McKenzie

That scene in A Fistful of Dollars when he blows those 5 guys away at the start is so epic that there are not even words for it.

Sep 19 - 10:51 PM

Pavan Chowdary

Pavan Chowdary

Amazing actor and excellent director
Gran Torino should have been included in the list...

Sep 20 - 12:13 AM

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