Sudden Impact 1983

Sudden Impact

Critics 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.

56%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 36

54%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 21,886

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Movie Info

Jennifer Spencer (Sondra Locke) was gang raped, but the crime went unpunished. Now she demands revenge, killing off the men that attacked her years before. The murders attract the attention of Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood), who is on a forced vacation due to his violent approach to police work. The case gets complicated when Harry develops a relationship with Jennifer, and it's up to Harry to make the right decision when Jennifer's life is threatened for a second time.

Cast & Crew

Clint Eastwood
Insp. 'Dirty' Harry Callahan
Sondra Locke
Jennifer Spencer
Pat Hingle
Chief Lester Jannings
Michael Currie
Lt. Donnelly
Mark Keyloun
Officer Bennett
Charles B. Pierce
Writer (Story)
Earl E. Smith
Writer (Story)
Joseph Stinson
Writer
Fritz Manes
Executive Producer
Steve Perry
Associate Producer
Lalo Schifrin
Original Music
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Critic Reviews for Sudden Impact

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (16)

  • 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 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    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.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    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.

    October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Though it's been seven years since the previous entry, the character hasn't changed all that much, save for a few extra wrinkles and grayer hair.

    September 8, 2020 | Rating: 4/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Sudden Impact

  • Jul 11, 2012
    Eastwood takes the Direcor's chair this time for a Fourth Dirty Harry outing. Its a revenge tale of a young artist, Jennifer; hunting down the gang of rapists who raped her a few years ago, Harry steps into action getting involved with this case and realises that the young artist cannot rely on criminal justice system. I really liked this entry to the franchise, Its a lot more darker and more suspenceful than the previous film, plenty of action, drama, mystery, suspence and a touch of romance that puts Dirty Harry at the top of his game. It also includes the famous line in the entire series: "Go Ahead, Make my Day". You bet that Inspector Harry Callahan can really make my day with this film. Its the Third best in the series.
    Luke E Super Reviewer
  • Nov 19, 2011
    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 W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 14, 2011
    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 Super Reviewer
  • Apr 13, 2011
    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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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