The Gauntlet


The Gauntlet

Critics Consensus

Eastwood has a good time playing a dolt in the surprisingly funny Gauntlet, which otherwise has the typical Clint trappings.



Total Count: 23


Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,368
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Movie Info

Clint Eastwood is appropriately flinty as Ben Shockley, an Arizona cop sent to safely extradite prisoner "Gus" Malley (Sondra Locke). She's to testify in a police-corruption trial, a fact that has made her the target of certain high-ranking cops. Once his superior Josephson (Pat Hingle) is killed, Eastwood is completely on his own. Set up for extermination himself by crooked police official Blakelock (William Prince), Ben is compelled to lead Gus through an unbelievable police gauntlet, protected only by an armor-plated bus and his wits. Contrary to the film's ad campaign, Sondra Locke does have some clothes on during the climactic shoot-out. Stretching credibility to the breaking point--actually that point breaks wide open halfway through--The Gauntlet is redeemed by director Eastwood's usual uncanny sense of pacing, timing and energy.


Clint Eastwood
as Ben Shockley
Sondra Locke
as Gus Mally
Pat Hingle
as Josephson
William Prince
as Blakelock
Bill McKinney
as Constable
Michael Cavanaugh
as Feyderspiel
Carole Cook
as Waitress
Mara Corday
as Jail Matron
Mildred J. Brion
as Old Woman on Bus
Jeff Morris
as Desk Sergeant
Ron Chapman
as Veteran Cop
John Quiroga
as Taxi Driver
John Rainer
as Policeman
Dan Vadis
as Biker
Carver Barnes
as Bus Driver
Teddy Bear
as Lieutenant
Don Circle
as Bus Clerk
James W. Gavin
as Helicopter Pilot
Tom Friedkin
as Helicopter Pilot
Darwin Lamb
as Police Captain
Roger Lowe
as Paramedic Driver
Fritz Manes
as Helicopter Marksman
Joe Rainer
as Rookie Cop
Al Silvani
as Policeman
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Critic Reviews for The Gauntlet

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for The Gauntlet

  • Jun 02, 2013
    Clint Eastwood is one of Hollywood's most bad assed actors. Along with Charles Bronson, he has carved a career out of playing some memorable tough guys. In The Gauntlet he plays a no nonsense cop who escorts a prisoner and protect her from the mob. This is an exciting and well crafted film that is action packed, and humorous throughout with direction from Clint Eastwood, who keeps you entertained due to a well written script and effective performances from Eastwood himself and lead actress Sondra Locke. This is a worthwhile film for Eastwood fans, and is sure to thrill old school action fans. The Gauntlet is a solid picture that is entertaining from start to finish. Clint Eastwood is great here and ands he proves once again that he is an icon of cinema. When a film lover thinks tough guys, Clint Eastwood is usually at the top of the list. His acting is always entertaining, and his performance is always something to watch. He may have kind of been typecast as a bad ass in Hollywood, but he never disappoints. This is one of the finer films of the 1970's starring Eastwood, and aside from the Dirty Harry films, covers similar ground, but reinvents the formula quite a bit. The Gauntlet is fun entertainment that you shouldn't pass up and if you love straight forward action, then this is a film worth checking out. The Gauntlet is one of the most memorable action flicks of the 70's, and with a smart script, great cast and wonderful direction, it is among Eastwood's best directed features of that era.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Nov 17, 2012
    An absurdly entertaining action-thriller. A slam-bang entertainment ride that's filled with enough action, suspense, comedy and surprising romance for two films. An explosive and over the top adrenaline-rush from start to finish. Clint Eastwood stars and directs this hard-edged action film and brings on yet another great performance, totally departing himself from Dirty Harry and into and new and exciting police character. It`s just good old explosive fun. Eastwood and Locke are tremendous.
    Al S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 13, 2011
    Certainly not the best Eastwood film, but a middling one in which he Directs and stars as a cop who is te opposite of his badass Dirty Harry character. Still, even the more humble cop gets the job done and there is some fun to be had here.
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 01, 2010
    Pretty good. This is really just an unofficial Dirty Harry film. I don't understand why they didn't just attempt to encorporate it into the storyline anyway. I mean, it's about a down-on-his-luck cop who has a bad reputation and always gets screwed over. Put in an impossible position by his superiors, the protagonist has to fight his way out of a ring of police conspiracy as a ton of people try to kill him. How is this not a Dirty Harry film? Add Clint Eastwood into the mix and take into account the fact that he plays the role like it's Harry Callahan, and there are really only two things separating this from that series: the character being named Ben Shockley instead of Harry Callahan, and the fact that this is a standalone film (and thus doesn't reference other films and has to establish the lead character, unlike the Dirty Harry series in both of these cases). Anyway, point made...this is a Dirty Harry film in disguise. So, moving on, like I said, Eastwood does an awesome job as usual, and Sondra Locke surprisingly does a great job as the prostitute he has to protect from the cops and the mob. That being said, I can't stand the majority of the cast's remainder except maybe Pat Hingle as Shockley's ex-partner Josephson. But even then, he's there only to serve two specific purposes: to move the story along by providing a man on the inside for Shockley (since Josephson isn't on the take like the other cops are), and for his appearance in the last half hour or so of the film. But even then, he's only there as a means to an end: to give Shockley an alternate way to resolve the conflict (and prove the character isn't just a clone of Callahan because he actually chooses the non-violent option), and SPOILER! to galvanize Shockley into action by getting shot down by a police marksman. I usually don't put much of a value on supporting characters in cop films because the main character almost always steals the spotlight. Here, however, it is blatant that aside from the two lead characters, the rest are amazingly bland. They're necessary from a story standpoint: there's the back-stabbing weasel of a district attorney, the austere veteran police chief who doesn't like how Eastwood's character has a problem with authority, and the laid-back highway patrolman whose entire existence in the film stems completely from his ability to offer insulting counterpoints to the opinions of Sondra Locke's character. The first two characters feel forced; that's nothing against their actors or anything, they just aren't well-written. They've both been used a thousand times, and are honestly just a cliche' of cop flicks. Add to this the fact that they're also in every Dirty Harry film, a series which The Gauntlet desperately tries to emulate, and it's crystal clear this film needed better writers. As for the third of the characters mentioned, he's not really a stereotypical cop character, but you probably saw him in one of the Dirty Harry films, Sudden Impact (to be fair, that film was made later on, but still...). Pick any of the rapists, and you've basically nailed the patrolman's character; he constantly talks dirty to Sondra Locke's character and you can tell he's a closet rapist. Thankfully, he gets killed off before he gets the chance, but he's consistently sick and disturbing. These criticisms aside, The Gauntlet is an entertaining cop film. I really think it's a testament to how awesome of an actor Clint Eastwood (as well as Sondra Locke to a lesser extent) is. What really saves this film is the sequence at the end from which this movie takes its name. I have to say, that whole scene was pretty awesome, even though the logic of it was practically nonexistent. The one major story complaint I have here is that the Mob is constantly mentioned, yet they almost never make an appearance. Maybe that's a tribute to how clandestine the mob is, but aside from setting up a half-assed ambush by attempting to bomb Shockley's car, the Mob never shows up. I thought it could've been really cool if the two lead characters had to simultaneously fight both the cops and Mob, with both sides fighting each other as well (since not all of the cops were on the take but just following orders). This could have made an excellent sequence, yet the writers didn't utilize anything like almost seems like the Mob stops caring a third of the way into the film, and this, to me, is a glaring plot hole. Watch this for Clint Eastwood only...don't expect much else though.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer

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