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Dirty Harry

Clint Eastwood , Andrew Robinson , Don Siegel    R (Restricted)   VHS Tape
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

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Whether or not you can sympathize with its fascistic/vigilante approach to law enforcement, Dirty Harry (directed by star Clint Eastwood's longtime friend and directorial mentor, Don Siegel) is one hell of a cop thriller. The movie makes evocative use of its San Francisco locations as cop Harry Callahan (Eastwood) tracks the elusive "Scorpio killer" who has been terrorizing the city by the Bay. As the psychopath's trail grows hotter, Harry becomes increasingly impatient and intolerant of the frustrating obstacles (departmental red tape, individuals' civil rights) that he feels are keeping him from doing his job. A characteristically taut and tense piece of filmmaking from Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Shootist, Escape from Alcatraz), it also remains a fascinating slice of American pop culture. It was a big hit (followed by four sequels) that obviously reflected--or exploited--the almost obsessive or paranoid fears and frustrations many Americans felt about crime in the streets. At a time when "law and order" was a familiar slogan for political candidates, Harry Callahan may have represented neither, but from his point of view his job was simple: stop criminals. To him that end justified any means he deemed necessary. The digital video disc preserves the film's anamorphic widescreen format. --Jim Emerson

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By Stephen Pletko TOP 50 REVIEWER

"To the city of San Francisco: I will enjoy killing one person every day until you pay me 100,000 dollars. If you agree, say so tomorrow morning in personal column, "San Francisco Chronicle" and I will set up meeting. If I do not hear from you, it will be my next pleasure to kill a Catholic priest or a [black person]. Scorpio"

The above comes from this absorbing crime thriller This film, which introduced "Dirty Harry" to the world, was one of the major movies that shot Clint Eastwood into super-stardom.

The first scenes of this movie are especially good, what I call "signature Eastwood."

Andy Robinson gives a mesmerizing performance as serial killer, Scorpio.

The finale of this movie is unforgettable.

The background music adds to each scene.

There was considerable controversy when this movie was first released. This was over issues such as police brutality to victim's rights and the nature of law enforcement. Feminists did not like this movie.

However, this controversy hasn't hurt this film's bottom line. Its budget was four million dollars. Its box office take too date is almost thirty-six million dollars.

Eastwood's iconic portrayal of the blunt, cynical, unorthodox detective in perpetual trouble with his incompetent bosses, set the style for a genre of "loose-cannon" cop films.

Finally, the DVD itself (the deluxe edition released in 2008) has four extras. I found all of them interesting.

In conclusion, in my opinion, this was one of the the best of the five "Dirty Harry" movies that was made.

(1971; 1 hr., 40 min excluding end credits; wide screen; 31 scenes)

**because he'll take any dirty job that comes along.

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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5.0 out of 5 stars Do ya, punk? Feb. 23 2014
"Dirty" Harry Callahan is one of those iconic characters that stands apart from the crowd. Who hasn't heard someone say, "You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

And he certainly lives up to the legend in "Dirty Harry," a grimy cop thriller where morals are grey and justice isn't always served by the law. Clint Eastwood gives a quietly menacing performance that dominates every scene he's in, and sets up the standard for world-weary cops who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty in pursuit of justice.

A serial killer referred to as "Scorpio" is killing people in San Francisco, and even sends a letter to the police demanding money. If he doesn't get his way, he's going to kill again. The man on the case is Detective "Dirty" Harry Callahan (Eastwood), who manages to thwart Scorpio's efforts to kill a Catholic priest. The serial killer is so enraged that he rapes and buries a young girl alive, and threatens the police with her death if they don't give in to his demands.

Harry is sent on a wild chase through San Francisco with a giant bag of money, and eventually is able to corner and stop the Scorpio killer (Andrew Robinson). Unfortunately for everybody, Harry's ruthless treatment of Scorpio leads to the killer being released -- and now he's determined to frame Harry as revenge. It's up to Harry to take the law into his own hands before Scorpio kills again.

"Dirty Harry" actually has a very simple story, loosely based on the Zodiac killings in the 1970s. The really memorable part of the movie is the presentation -- this was a cop story where innocents frequently die, the killer walks free sometimes, and the "hero" isn't particularly heroic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the psychology of victimology...and the vigilante Aug. 10 2012
Clint Eastwood has an interesting filmography and throughout his long career has remained on top of his game. This film has a lot to it,whether you like it or not,but they were very popular and are a change to the realist 70's. I should say...and this is the first of the 25 films in a multi pack i'm watching from...this is the film they want us to view first,,,and its loaded with tons of bonus material. Of course in hollywood clint always isolated himself and was known as being on the right,a friend of Reagan,I recall seeing him at a filmfest,but i dont know how much of a friend he was. Anyways there werent many in hollywood who made his kind of film...but most of the films were of an opposite bent,making it appear lopsided so he stands alone with the type of films he makes...making him original. He remarks in the bonus material,talking of the famed two reeler,which people here dont recall and made profitable by harry cohn during the 30's to 50's in which he gave work,admittedly for little money,to work on short jobs and they would not likely have found jobs in acting otherwise,and many of the unknown actors were thankful for the experience in acting,so there's much to these two reelers. Clint is old enough and knows old hollywood and it helps his approach to films,and there's much to learn of this industry,and they were mostly b material,and tv really did away with them..clint was a famous actor and i recall reading in a small town paper upcoming films like enforcer,heartbreak ridge,and many others...as his films were always much anticipated. Here we have a cop,who has gone through many officers,with a rape,and dead bodies all around,and i wont talk much of the film,in which clint's partner is a student of sociology,how's that for foreshadowong,and a criminal robbing a place has a super ego? Read more ›
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3.0 out of 5 stars the one that started it all
while i did like this first film in the Dirty Harry series for the most part,there were a few things about it that didn't work for me. Read more
Published on June 9 2010 by falcon
This movie is about conservatives and how they must battle against the oppressive forces of communism. Read more
Published on June 15 2004 by Steve Thulen
5.0 out of 5 stars 'GOD'S LONELY MAN."
John Milius is the greatest screenwriter you never heard of, not to mention a terrific director. He describes the "Dirty Harry" Callahan character as "God's lonely... Read more
Published on June 13 2004 by Steven R. Travers
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST ACTION MOVIE OF ALL TIME!
Published on May 26 2004 by MICHAEL TAYLOR
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Classics of the Genre
This movie hits home on every level. I liked its "live" action style... especially in the scene where Harry "talks" a suicide victim to the ground... Read more
Published on May 24 2004 by classicmoviefan
2.0 out of 5 stars Agit-prop fascist garbage.
Last night (3/24/04), while editing a novella I'm polishing, I watched "Dirty Harry" on The History Channel. THC (hmmm... Read more
Published on May 8 2004 by William Sommerwerck
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Cop Drama Ever Made
Without "Dirty Harry", there wouldn't no "Die Hard", there wouldn't no "Lethal Weapon", and there probably wouldn't have been a "Naked Gun",... Read more
Published on April 8 2004 by anthony nasti
5.0 out of 5 stars Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?
My mother said I could only watch the "cleaned up" version on TV when this movie came out as it was too violent back in the 70's. Read more
Published on April 5 2004 by smoothjazzandmore
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Best Cop Action flick -period!
Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry is the quintessential man's man and tough cop. He defines the archtype. Read more
Published on March 14 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Clint Eastwood at his best
This was truly Clint Eastwood's finest moments. Dirty Harry is a cop who will do anything to stop the killer he's after. Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by Mr. Bey
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