Sudden Impact


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.



Total Count: 35


Audience Score

User Ratings: 21,851
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Movie Info

Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood) returns in this fast-paced, violent and surprisingly witty actioner. The story centers on the victim of a particularly brutal gang rape that left one woman nearly catatonic and the other insane with grief. It is the latter (Sondra Locke) who has been slowly but surely murdering the culprits in gruesomely inventive way and it is Harry who is assigned to find her. When he catches up with her, he is surprised to find that they are kindred spirits.


Clint Eastwood
as Harry Callahan
Sondra Locke
as Jennifer Spencer
Pat Hingle
as Chief Jannings
Bradford Dillman
as Capt. Briggs
Audrie J. Neenan
as Ray Parkins
Michael Currie
as Lt. Donnelly
Albert Popwell
as Horace King
Mark Keyloun
as Off. Bennett
Kevin Howard
as Hawkins
Nancy Parsons
as Mrs. Kruger
Joe Bellan
as Burly Detective
Lisa Batt
as Elizabeth
Mara Corday
as Coffee Shop Waitress
Nancy Fish
as Historical Society Woman
Lisa Britt
as Elizabeth
Bill Reddick
as Police Commissioner
Mike Johnson
as Assassin
Nick Dimitri
as Assassin
Michael Maurer
as George Wilburn
Pat DuVal
as Bailiff
Christian Phillips
as Hawkins' Crony
Steve Kravitz
as Hawkins' Crony
Lloyd Nelson
as Desk Sergeant
Christopher Pray
as Detective Jacobs
James McEachin
as Detective Barnes
Ken Lee
as Loomis
Morgan Upton
as Bartender
John X. Heart
as Policeman
Harry Demopoulos
as Dr. Barton
Lisa London
as Young Hooker
Tom Spratley
as Senior Man
Eileen Wiggins
as Hysterical Customer
John Nowak
as Bank Robber
Dennis Royston
as Young Guy
Melvin Thompson
as Young Guy
Bill Upton
as Young Guy
David Gonzales
as Gang Member
Albert Martínez
as Gang Member
David Rivers
as Gang Member
Robert Rivers
as Gang Member
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Critic Reviews for Sudden Impact

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (15)

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

    Apr 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.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    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.

    Jun 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.

    Oct 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
  • '80s cop-drama sequel has rape, murder, revenge.

    Aug 30, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | 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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