Directed by Dirty Harry: Clint Eastwood's Best Movies
Clint Eastwood made his name as a movie star, but his record as a director over more than 40 years is sterling and we expect no less from his real-life thriller 'The 15:17 to Paris.' Here, in our opinion, are the best movies he's directed in his long career.
Number 10: Sudden Impact (1983)
The fourth film in the Dirty Harry series was the first directed by Clint Eastwood. It ushered the iconic character into the '80s in all his brutal glory, and set up the template for future Arnold/Sylvester/Bruce heroics. It also introduced the phrase, "Go ahead, make my day" into the American lexicon (currently ranked by the American Film Institue as the sixth most memorable line in movie history).
Number 9: Play Misty for Me (1971)
Somewhat overlooked in Eastwood's directorial oeuvre is this psychological thriller pitting Eastwood as a radio DJ against an obsessed female fan who wreaks havoc on his professional and personal life. A precursor to Fatal Attraction, the film remains a first-rate exercise in sustained and creepy suspense.
Number 8: American Sniper (2014)
Bradley Cooper stars as a real-life marksman who saves lives overseas, yet struggles to deal with his memories after he returns home to the peaceful existence of his wife and children. Director Eastwood expertly balances the military and the domestic, dramatizing the soul of a heroic assassin.
Number 7: Pale Rider (1985)
The story of a mysterious preacher (Eastwood) who rides into town to save its inhabitants from a greedy mining company becomes mythic under the steady hand of Eastwood's direction, enhanced by the gritty settings and an ace cast of lesser-known players.
Number 6: High Plains Drifter (1973)
Eastwood's revisionist western has the action hero playing a stranger who drifts into a corrupt town and turns it on its head. He's hired to take down three criminals, but seems more intent on creating hell on earth. A combo spaghetti western and supernatural thriller, it's a fascinating homage to Eastwood's previous collaborators, Sergio Leone and Don Siegel.
Number 5: Bird (1988)
Forest Whitaker won an Oscar for The Last King of Scotland, but he's just as award-worthy for playing jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker in Eastwood's labor of love. The real-life musician led a brilliant and dangerous life -- he died at 34 from pneumonia hastened by alcohol and drug abuse -- and the movie, filled with his great music, doesn't shy away from the highs and the lows.
Number 4: The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
This is one of Eastwood's own personal favorites of the films he's made. He stars as Josey Wales, a Civil War-era farmer who leads a ragtag gang on a mission of vengeance against the Union soldiers who murdered his family. In 1996, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Number 3: Gran Torino (2008)
"Get off my lawn!" Eastwood plays the lead role, an unhappy military veteran who is dismayed by the arrival of new, Southeast Asian neighbors. His efforts at reform others, though, instead tear down his personal walls of resistance. As director, Eastwood downplays his own role in favor of showcasing other, colorful characters.
Number 2: Million Dollar Baby (2004)
One year after Mystic River, Eastwood delivered his -- pun intended -- knockout punch with Million Dollar Baby. Much like the man himself, the film is a lean, mean and perfectly told story about a female boxer (Hilary Swank) and her profound relationship to her coach (Clint Eastwood). Swank and Morgan Freeman earned well-deserved Oscars, as did Eastwood for Best Picture and Best Director.
Number 1: Unforgiven (1992)
Ranked by AFI as the fourth best western ever made, Unforgiven both captures the Old West and obliterates any myths of glory about its violence and final toll. Winner of Best Picture and Best Director for Eastwood, and Best Supporting Actor for Gene Hackman...it's the perfect encapsulation of Eastwood working as director and producer and lead actor at his absolute peak.