Year Released: 1971
Directed by: Don Siegal
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Andy Robinson, Reni Santoni, John Vernon
(R, 103 min.)
Genre: Classics, Drama, Mystery and Suspense
“You’ve go to ask yourself one question? ‘Do I feel lucky?' Well, do you, punk?” –Harry Callahan
It’s been almost 50 years since Dirty Harry and his 44 magnum exploded across the screen, but it is as relevant today as it was then. In fact, rebel detective Harry Callahan and his infamous one-liners ushered in a series of imitators.
Don Siegal’s near-masterpiece had Eastwood’s blunt, no bullshit cop track Scorpio, the nut based loosely on the Zodiac Killer. In a way, this was the genesis of John McClane, Martin Riggs and all of those deadpan one-liners Schwarzenegger spouted from “Raw Deal” to” Eraser.” (Arnold admits as much). @manlymovie
With today’s with cops routinely humiliated in New York, where laughing “punks,” as Harry would call them, throw buckets of water on the cops with no consequences, this critic was ready for some guilty pleasure.
In fact, Different Drummer spent a whole week watching each of the five classic Dirty Harry films that secured Eastwood’s status as a genuine American movie icon after he had achieved star status in Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns.
That role was in actually written for Frank Sinatra and turned down by John Wayne. Seriously, can you ever imagine either of those two now as Dirty Harry?
In 1971 John Wayne, perhaps showing himself out of touch with changes in Hollywood, turned down the role of a little movie called Dirty Harry. The title role was written for Frank Sinatra who bowed out due to a hand injury. Wayne found playing second fiddle to Frank Sinatra in a movie about a cop using questionable methods unacceptable: “They offered it to Frank Sinatra first, but he’d hurt his hand and couldn’t do it. I don’t like being offered Sinatra’s rejections. Put that one down to pride. The second reason is that I thought Harry was a rogue cop. Put that down to narrow-mindedness because when I saw the picture I realized that Harry was the kind of part I’d played often enough; a guy who lives within the law but breaks the rules when he really has to in order to save others.” @manlymovie
As noted by our critic, Harry Callahan is cut from a different cloth:
Here was a cop who wore shades, carried a hand cannon and assaulted nuisance civilians threatening to kill themselves.
Of course, Dirty Harry is about as far removed from today’s political correct insanity as a lion is from a lamb.
A fact the trailer not only admits to but actually throws in our face:
This is a movie about a couple of killers. Harry Callahan and a homicidal maniac. The one with the badge is Harry.
Like most of the great action films that followed in the 80s, Dirty Harry is not bogged down by nuance. He doesn’t try to understand the bad guys. He just wants to eliminate them. And Scorpio (Andy Robinson), the killer modeled after the real life Zodiac killer, is one evil dude. And a heck of a manipulator as well.
In fact, he has the cowardly mayor (John Vernon) wrapped around his little finger. Against Harry’s advice the mayor gives into Scorpio’s demand for a $200,000 ransom, with Harry reluctantly being the bag boy. Not only does Scorpio then try to kill Harry when he delivers the money, but the ransomed young girl he has “buried alive” fits only the first part of that description.
One aspect of Dirty Harry that resonates so much now is the bureaucratic tangle cops must go through. After Herculean efforts, Harry finally gets his man, but the case is thrown out of court because he did not get a warrant for the sniper rifle he found in Scorpio’s den.
Not only does Scorpio go free on that technicality, but he has the audacity to pay someone $200 dollars to beat him up so he can claim police brutality against Callahan. And Harry, who has risked his life and been beaten up himself by Scorpio, gets no thanks – only an administrative scolding for not following the rules.
But the Scorpio case is not all Harry must handle. He foils a bank robbery on his lunch hour, running out of the diner while still chewing on his hot dog.
Of course, this is the scene where we get Harry’s iconic line as he confronts the one still-live would-be bandit. (Harry has gunned down all his accomplices already without breaking a sweat.)
I know what you're thinking: Did he fire six shots or only five?' Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But being this is a 44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?'Well, do you, punk?
How I love that word, “punk.” No one uses it much today, but it fits all those Harry must deal with and demonstrates his contempt for criminals. Too bad that contempt has somehow gone out of style today.
And “punk”is not vulgar either, another recent scourge of our daily life and cinema.
Nor is Harry a womanizer like some of the anti-hero cops that follow him. He had been happily married until his wife was killed by a drunk driver.
So enjoy this guilty pleasure as the leaves begin to drop from our trees. Actually, it’s a lot more fun to watch Harry, like a human hurricane, drop a few perps himself.
In fact, watch every film in the bloody Dirty Harry series. You know you want to. And Different Drummer won’t say a peep about it to your “intellectual” friends.
For a bonus here is a great compilation of Dirty Harry’s best lines:
Given that Harry is munching on a diner hot dog when he foils a bank robbery, Different Drummer’s first inclination was to find a recipe for a San Francisco hot dog. But all I could find was “The San Francisco Dog,” featuring “carrot, cucumber, and radish salad with herb mayonnaise.”
Sorry. That ain’t cutting it.. So I turn to my hometown, Chicago, where “they are as picky about hot dogs as New York is about pizza.” It is dotted with pickle relish, finely chopped onion, sliced tomatoes, pickle spears and sports peppers.
You will love it, even it Dirty Harry eats his plain.
Best Hot Dog Ever
Chicago is as picky about hot dogs as New York is about pizza. The toppings aren't just specific, but the order they go on is important too. It's been "dragged through the garden," as the locals say, and we love it so very much. Poppy seed hot dog buns and sport peppers are hard to find outside of the Windy City, so we made our own buns and used another pickled green pepper in its place (don't hate us). Just know that a true Chicago dog should have the sport pepper! – Makinze Gore
4 hot dog buns
3 tbsp. melted butter
1 tbsp. poppy seeds
4 hot dogs”1 tbsp. yellow mustard
1/4 c. pickle relish
1/4 white onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, sliced into half moons
4 pickle spears
8 sport peppers
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Brush outside of hot dog buns with butter and sprinkle poppy seeds on top. Place buns, seam side down, on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted and poppy seeds stick to bun, 10 minutes.
2. In a large pot of boiling water, add hot dogs and boil until warmed through, 5 minutes.
3. Place hot dogs in buns and then top with mustard, relish, onion, tomato slices, pickle spear, sport peppers, and a pinch of celery salt.