Dirty Harry (1971) Review

3BFAB102-4CCF-4296-A418-F54D40A92DF7San Francisco Police Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan is assigned to a case of a psychopath who has named himself ‘the Scorpio Killer’ and he must do everything possible to stop people from being killed by him.


Do you feel lucky punk?

Dirty Harry has become a cinematic icon and it is very easy to appreciate why and the themes in the film are still issues to this very day so in that sense it has aged very well. Obviously things like cars, clothes and hairstyles are the things that age the film. Other than that though it still stands up very very well.

Harry Callahan prefers to work alone but when he is given a new partner to work with Chico Gonzalez, something that he does not welcome but he might just be surprised this time. The first part of the case they must work on involves the Scorpio Killer and a missing teenage girl. Harry is the chosen one, and we quickly find out the dirty nickname is because he gets the cases no one else will do!

In pursuit of saving the girls life he must carry money as the ransom to different locations answering the phone in time or she would be killed. A very difficult game for him to be playing through some rough neighbourhoods with so much cash in the bag. It is very exciting and has you on the edge of your seat. It also becomes frustrating as when Harry tracks him down after the attack/fight they will not charge him with the murder.

This infuriates Harry who goes a little rouge in following him around and intimidating him. Which was rightly so, although while psychotic Charles decides to try and stitch Harry up paying someone to badly beat him up. All of this enrages you as a viewer and places you even more on Harry’s side, something that helps with the suspense to it all. A truly horrific character that we want nothing more than to be stopped, we are given more reason for this in the school bus hijacking scene.

Performances are fantastic with Clint Eastwood effortlessly leading the film with a very engaging and strong performance throughout. The way he delivers the lines with the suspense is one of the best parts, especially the do you feel lucky punk and talking about the gun. Something that you have probably heard even if you have not actually seen the film. Andrew Robinson really delivered a standout performance as the killer managing to be so sadistic and hateful making you feel nothing but anger towards the deranged character. I felt as though I noticed that more on this viewing of the film.

Dirty Harry manages to capture so many different themes and issues putting it all together in a thrilling action packed ride! One that is still more than worth taking, especially when you compare it to films trying to be this entertaining and not quite reaching the heights.

4 thoughts on “Dirty Harry (1971) Review

  1. Dirty Harry’s reputation over the years suggests an exploitation movie when its nothing of the sort. American Cinema back then was going through a great period of adult, cynical movies questioning traditional movie archetypes. Can you imagine anyone other than Clint starring in the title role though?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh not at all Clint was so good! I have to admit that I did not realise he then made 4 more as Callaghan thought it was only one sequel!


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