Dirty Harry

1971

Dirty Harry

Critics Consensus

As tough and taciturn as its no-nonsense hero, Dirty Harry delivers a deceptively layered message without sacrificing an ounce of its solid action impact.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 44

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 76,703
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Movie Info

"You've got to ask yourself a question: 'do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?" Dirty Harry provoked a critical uproar in 1971 for its "fascist" message about the power of one, as it also elevated Clint Eastwood to superstar status through his most enduring screen persona. Harry Callahan (Eastwood, in a role meant for Frank Sinatra) is a sardonic, hard-working San Francisco cop who can't finish his lunch without having to foil a bank robbery with his 44 Magnum, "the most powerful handgun in the world." When hippie-esque psycho Scorpio (Andy Robinson) goes on a killing spree, Harry and new partner Chico (Reni Santoni) are assigned to hunt him down, but not before the Mayor (John Vernon) and Lt. Bressler (Harry Guardino) admonish Callahan about his heavy-handed tactics. Racing against a deadline to save a kidnap victim from suffocating to death and unbothered by the niceties of Miranda rights and search warrants, Callahan brings in Scorpio, only to see him released on technicalities. "The law's crazy," opines Harry in disgust, before taking it upon himself to ensure that Scorpio doesn't kill again. Directed in violent and efficient fashion by Don Siegel, with a propulsive score by Lalo Schifrin, Dirty Harry was the fourth Siegel-Eastwood collaboration after Coogan's Bluff (1968), Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970), and The Beguiled (1970). Critics at the time strongly objected to the heroic image of a cop's violations of a suspect's Miranda rights, forcing Siegel and Eastwood to deny that they were right-wing reactionaries. All the same, Dirty Harry proved to be highly popular and spawned four sequels: Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer (1976), Sudden Impact (1983), and The Dead Pool (1988). ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

Cast

Clint Eastwood
as Harry Callahan
John Mitchum
as De Georgio
Mae Mercer
as Mrs. Russell
Woodrow Parfrey
as Mr. Jaffe
Craig Kelly
as Sgt. Reineke
Jo De Winter
as Miss Willis
Maurice Argent
as Sid Kleinman
Charles Dorsett
as Television Watcher
Melody Thomas Scott
as Ann Mary Deacon
John Larch
as Police Chief
David Gilliam
as Homosexual
Ruth Kobart
as Bus Driver
Richard Lawson
as Homosexual
Jim Nolan
as Liquor Store Proprietor
George Fargo
as Homicide Detective
Angela Paton
as Homicide Detective
John W. Peebles
as Walkie Talkie Policeman
Ernest Robinson
as Robber (uncredited)
Chuck Dorsett
as Television Watcher
Dean Webber
as Newsman
Debra Scott
as Ann Mary Deacon (uncredited)
Scott Hale
as Newsman
Joy Carlin
as Communications Secretary
James Nolan
as Liquor Store Proprietor
Allen Seaman
as Orderly
Stu Klitsner
as Policeman
Eddie Garrett
as Policeman
Diane Darnell
as Mayor's Secretary
Lois Foraker
as Hot Mary
John F. Vick
as Fired Chief
Tony Dario
as Police Sergeant
John Garber
as Tunnel Hoodlum
Max Gail
as Tunnel Hoodlum
Christopher Pray
as Tunnel Hoodlum
Mary Ann Neis
as Miss Van Sachs
Debbi Scott
as Ann Mary Deacon
Victor Paul
as Car Driver
Bob Harris
as Man in Truck
Joe Finnegan
as Man in Truck
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Critic Reviews for Dirty Harry

All Critics (44) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (4)

Audience Reviews for Dirty Harry

  • Oct 01, 2016
    I have never seen this series before and I have to say I enjoyed this. I can see why it is a classic and helped make Clint Eastwood a household name.
    Ian W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 04, 2016
    Clint Eastwood is the hard, play-by-my-rules inspector Harry Callahan who frequently takes the law into his own hands. This is a pretty unrealistic depiction of cop life. But who cares? Dirty Harry is a great, entertaining watch not to be taken too seriously.
    Peter B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 07, 2013
    it would eventually become a cliche but Eastwood's Dirty Harry is a great character. I don't know if he ended up ruining it in Magnum Force or Sudden Impact and I have no current desire to see either but this original is great seventies action. Very enjoyable.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 06, 2012
    Two elements hold "Dirty Harry" back from being a classic: muddled cinematography and a forgettable villain. Half of the time, actions are unclear because of dark, uninvolving camerawork, which may be a result of lackluster direction, and Scorpio is an uninspired, uninteresting bad guy. Clint Eastwood oozes cool with his character and utters some memorable quotes, and even though the plot is predictable, it unravels in an entertaining way. "Dirty Harry" is by no means a great film, but what it offers in terms of enjoyment is worth the watch.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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