26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2002
"You've got to ask yourself, do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?" - This film is just superb, from the excellent camera work showing of the San Francisco location well, to the genius of Lalo Schifrin's soundtrack. For me, Clint Eastwood is not a great actor, but in this role he excels. His character is humourous yet serious, and has a dark side that you just have to take notice of. Andy Robinson is the crazy 'Scorpio' who holds the city at ransom. The plot is far fetched, which is no great surprise, but you're hooked until Scorpio is disposed of. I own this on VHS also, but the DVD is a must for the picture and sound quality. Don't buy the special edition, save yourself some cash and buy the regular version - the extra 30 minute documentary is not worth paying for. But the film is definately worth the money, buy it, watch it and savour it.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2002
What can I say? DIRTY HARRY is a classic, slick action masterpiece which started off the renegade cop genre. Some may argue that it was THE FRENCH CONNECTION, but DH is a better film, as it's more exciting, humorous and offers more food for thought regarding its protagonist. Inspector 'Dirty' Harry Callahan is a San Francisco cop, relentless, bitter, jaded and extremely tough, who never lets anything get in his way when he's hunting criminals. Whether it be shooting a would-be rapist armed with a butcher knife or injuring a murder suspect in order to extract a confession from him, Harry immediately dispenses with the 'niceties' of the law so that he can get results. My favourite scenes of the film are when Harry foils a bank robbery with his awesome .44 Magnum handgun, when he chases mad killer Scorpio to the football ground and the action-packed finale featuring the timeless ' do you feel lucky?' line. I was amazed to find out that John Wayne, Steve McQueen, Bob Mitchum, Frank Sinatra and even Paul Newman were offered the role of Dirty Harry. With the right amount of wit, cynicism and all-out hardness, this is Clint's role. Andy Robinson did a sterling job as well, portraying the twisted psychopathic gunman, dubbed 'Scorpio'. He must be one of THE most imitated bad guys in the history of action thrillers. These days, they don't come any better than this.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"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. There's nothing romanticized or tidy about Dirty Harry's world.
And a lot of that comes from Eastwood himself. His performance as Callahan is the stuff of cinematic legend -- he's an anti-hero with nerves like barbed wire and eyes like steel buttons, and he cares far more about justice than law. What matters most to him is saving innocent lives and stopping the killer, and sometimes he has to step outside the law to do so.
And while Eastwood starts off as a simple cop protagonist, his presence grows more imposing as the story winds on. This isn't hurt by the demonstrations of his badassery -- such as threatening a robber with the legendary "Do ya, punk? question", then strolling off on a bloodied leg.
Director Don Siegel gives the movie a gritty, slightly grimy feel, with Callahan drifting through sleazy strip clubs, abandoned rock quarries and the occasional rooftop with a suicidal person clinging to it. And it has a strong feeling of realism, even during the more "Hollywood" scenes -- when Harry leaps off a bridge onto the roof of a schoolbus, it doesn't look like a stunt. It looks REAL.
He also injects a note of shocking horror into some of the scenes, such as when Robinson's Scorpio begins crazily threatening children when they start freaking out. It's especially scary because we've seen innocent people killed by this maniac, so we know he's perfectly capable of hurting the children.
"Dirty Harry" became an instant classic for a reason -- not only does it introduce us to the gritty anti-hero cop, but it let the world know that Clint Eastwood was a legend. Harrowing, brilliant and bloody.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
It's true to say Clint Eastwood has had a fine film career, but he's had a few hit and miss efforts over the years.
His two most important performances also arguably influenced the genre's he portrayed first with his "Man with No Name" westerns which dared to wander off the clean cut cowboy image most films were portraying.
Here Don Siegel and Eastwood again challenge the conventional mould with the "Harry Callahan" character which spawned a number of films, yet the first remains the best by some margin (the second installment being quite good though)
Harry Callahan is perfectly played by Eastwood, the no nonsense hardened Homicide Inspector with the San Francisco Police Department who is assigned to track down the serial killer "Scorpio" played very well by Andy Robinson. Evidently the film is very loosely inspired by the case of the "Zodiac killer".
What makes this police film somewhat different is the way Callahan is portrayed, far removed from the "by the book" Police Office Harry is quite happy to break the rules if needed, and do what's needed to get the job done, even if it's not to the approval of his superiors. His trademark Smith & Wesson Model 29 "Magnum '44" is remembered for it's extreme stopping power and long barrel it's presence on screen is designed to augment the Callahan image ultimate force when required. The film is well paced with some excellent sequences, including the memorable moment Harry confronts a number of bank robbers in sequence few will forget where the wounded robber has to make a choice, and ponders if he "fired six shots or only five?"
But Dirty Harry is more than just a big gun disgruntled cop film, there are lighter moments in some scenes, supporting cast is good with John Vernon as the Mayor, Reni Santoni as his partner Inspector Chico Gonzalez, John Larch as the police chief. But it's Eastwood who dominates the screen during his time, though it has to be said Andy Robinson is every bit the "crazy killer" an actor could be asked to play, both work well together and there is a convincing feeling about the acting.
The story does side-line a little with other "smaller cases" that highlight Callahan's police style, but it's the Scorpio case that pushes the main plot.
At the time quite a controversial film which many felt didn't portray the police service in a very flattering light (quite the reverse) But Sigel and Eastwood dare to take a different path and the results is a film which few will forget. There is an obvious "70's" feel with the jumpy drum beat music though it's suits the film well, direction is solid and so is camera work though the performances lift this above the normal cop v bad guy film.. For me the most interesting part is Callahan's disillusionment with the "system" (which is questioned throughout the film) ending in the last scene with him throwing his badge into a river.
No doubt one of the most important roles for Eastwood and a firm favourite among film fans, this important production had a huge impact police style films an only added to Eastwood's "quiet but tough" image which he later used to good effect in other films.
Not to be missed, dated but still a gem.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2014
A crazed sniper calling himself "Scorpio" shoots a girl in a swimming pool and then demands $100,000 from the Mayor or he'll murder a catholic priest or a African American.Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan gets involved with the case from the start and can't believe that the mayor and the chief of police are willing to play this psychopaths game,fearing that more people are going to be killed.As the police force have helicopters surveying the sky's for any possible suspects they come across a man acting suspiciously and command him with a loud megaphone to stop what he's doing just in time to prevent another murder.The cat and mouse games continue until Callahan has had enough and takes matters into his own hands.This is an iconic film superbly directed by Don Siegel,with a superb score from Lalo Schifrin.It was considered groundbreaking upon its release and catapulted Clint Eastwood to stardom,amazingly Eastwood wasn't first choice to play the role there were several others considered ahead of him including John Wayne and Frank Sinatra.Andy Robinson is also superb as the crazed Scorpio as is the the whole cast.The scene where Harry is torturing Robinson as to the whereabouts of a missing girl is the standout scene for me as the camera pans away into the sky as Harry stands over his subject.An iconic classic one not to be missed.Thanks for reading and I hope that you enjoy the film.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
They say first is always best and never has that been more true than here. Four progressively inferior sequels follow DIRTY HARRY, charting not only a decline in script quality but also in the general believability of a character who ends up being little more than a one-note lethal weapon rather than the maverick detective who, finding himself up against the SFPD's interminable bureaucracy, prefers to let his Magnum .44 do at least some of the talking. Okay, THE ENFORCER and MAGNUM FORCE just about hold their own but Clint's age is beginning to show by the time SUDDEN IMPACT appears and, frankly, the less said about THE DEAD POOL the better.
There's so much in this film that bears repeated viewings. It's certainly a brutal affair, and definitely non-pc, with director DON SIEGEL blurring the distinctions between cop and killer to the point where it's not always easy to tell one from the other by behaviour alone. But thanks to a brilliant turn by ANDY ROBINSON as the lip-quivering psychopath SCORPIO, it's somewhat less difficult to brush aside any misgivings about Harry Callahan's unorthodox methods. Not so much 'cake and and eat it' as knife and twist it.
Great support from RENI SANTINO assigned to be yet another of his initially indifferent colleague's 'unlucky' partners, CHICO, taking the bullets in the superbly choreographed bloodbath set in Golden Gate Park. Surviving the machine-gunning, he is clearly wiser after the event as to the type of lawman Callahan represents, re-affirming just what the 'Dirty' prefix means as a bottom line definition.
The fast-paced direction ensures that there's a very real sense of tension in the race to rescue a young girl (kidnapped and subsequently buried alive by Scorpio) and prevent her from dying by suffocation. The fact that Harry is frustrated in his attempts and ultimately fails - leading to the discovery of her pallid corpse - only increases his determination to sidestep the law-enforcement 'establishment' and go after Scorpio in the way he knows gets results - much to the dismay of media-courting and increasingly irritable Mayor (JOHN VERNON) and Callahan's own exasperated boss, Lieutenant Bressler (HARRY GUARDINO). A terrifically downbeat ending is a reminder that those who are supposed to protect and serve occasionally cross the line and that sometimes it simply has to be that way. Depends how lucky a person feels on the day, I suppose.
QUOTED ENDLESSLY BECAUSE IT'S SO DAMN GOOD:
"...I know what you're thinkin', punk. You're thinkin', 'Did he fire six shots or only five?' Now to tell you the truth, I've forgotten myself in all this excitement...but being this is a forty-four Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and will blow your head clean off...you've gotta ask yourself a question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya...PUNK?!!"
MOST POWERFUL SCENE(S): in the football ground under the floodlights as Harry steps on Scorpio's bullet wound to the leg; Scorpio's smashed-to-a-pulp face as he demands "every penny's worth..." of the beating he's arranged in order to frame his never-far-from-sight nemesis.
BLU-RAY PICTURE QUALITY: Superb, with a lot of detail not present on the regular DVD - you really get to know about a person's skin complexion via this format. There is still, however, a small amount of grain visible in the darker scenes, but that only adds to the gritty nature of the film as a whole and is not an issue.
BLU-RAY SOUND QUALITY: Excellent, bright and punchy in uncompressed 5.1. Brings to the fore composer LALO SCHIFRIN's cool and very 70's score.
A brilliant film, in it's best possible showcase. And Clint has never been more magnetic. Don't miss it.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The film opens with a shot of a memorial wall in praise of the San Francisco Police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty, a SFPD badge is prominent as the camera scrolls down the ream of names on the wall. Cut to a rooftop sniper shooting a girl taking a swim in a swimming pool, cut to the coolest looking cop you have ever seen making his way to the rooftop scene, he stands and surveys the whole of the San Francisco bay area, this is, his area, and we know we are in for a very special film indeed.
Dirty Harry is now something of an institution, the film that pushed the boundaries of cops versus bad guys movies, some of the film's dialogue became part of modern day speak, and it's the film that propelled Clint Eastwood into the stratosphere of super stardom. Often tagged as a fascist film, I think it's more a cynical look at the rights of criminals because Harry is everyone who has ever been a victim of crime, he will do what it takes to take down the criminals festering in society, you break the law and Harry will get you any way he can. Here Harry is on the trail of Scorpio, a ruthless sniper killing at random, Scorpio kidnaps a teenage girl and demands $200.000 from the city or she will die in the hole he has her buried in. Harry is just the man for the job of delivery boy and this sets the wheels in motion for what becomes a personal crusade for Harry to take Scorpio down at all costs.
Director Don Siegel crafts a masterpiece here, creating a western within the big city landscape, the pace is energetic at times yet reeling itself in to provide genuine suspense when needed. Siegel should also be praised for sticking by Andy Robinson as Scorpio, for it's an insanely great performance from him. Yet it might never had happened since Robinson was petrified of guns, but Siegel stood by him and coaxed him through it. The result is a maniacal turn that scares and amuses in equal measure - witness his mad singing during a bus kidnap scene, you will not know whether to laugh or be afraid.
Yet as good as Robinson is, he gives way to a seamless piece of magnificence from Eastwood as Harry Callahan, note perfect and enthusing the role with the right amount of dynamic cool and gusto, it's no surprise that the character became a cinematic legend after such a great acting performance. Finally I must mention the wonderful score from Lalo Schifrin, jazz/electro/beat combinations segue perfectly into each scene with maximum impact to cap off one of the finest films of the 70s, and if you don't believe me then you can go argue with Harry. 9/10
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2012
Dirty Harry exploded into the 70s with smash and forged it's place as one the most iconic movies of the period. In one of Clint Eastwood's most memorable roles he plays a cynical cop trying to hunt down a psychotic sniper killer (loosely based on the real-life Zodiac killer). Nowadays Dirty Harry has become a bit of cliché: a cop at odds with his superiors who is a "loose cannon" has been replicated many times but Dirty Harry hasn't dated a bit in it's violence or intensity. I am not a fan of cop films but Dirty Harry is a welcome exception with it's fast-paced gripping plot and Don Siegel's gritty directing style. Apparently John Wayne was seriously considered for the Dirty Harry role I'm glad he didn't get it, even though I am fan of his films he just wouldn't have been right for the role. What is surprising is the killer's similar psychotic behaviour to the Joker in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, Nolan must have been influenced by it. The films boasts some nice action and tension set pieces especially the stadium and nerve-shredding bus scene. Unfortunately the film was followed by four totally unnecessary and disappointing sequels.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This for me is the best Clint Eastwood movie ever made, I love the part when the killer hijacks a school bus, and when the bus turns a corner you see harry standing in the distance on a bridge, this sent shivers down my spine, wonderful direction. The Scorpio Killer who is played by Andrew Robinson he was just brilliant, he was pure evil, he was that evil he received a number of death threats(dumb people) after the first showing of this film . This for me is a brilliant film, and the first of its kind.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
In the 70's, movies were getting a bit more violent, and moving towards action rather than the 60s western, where the good guys always won. Don Segal decided to focus on cops that were not prepared to follow the new policing rules, and handled things in their own way. Bring on Inspector Callahan, a no nonsense cop in a crazy world, where drugs, muggings and bank robberies were a daily occurance in San Francisco. Harry wasn't ready to let it all go to hell, he was ready to fight.
This is the first outing for Harry, and the first few minutes of the movie show us that Harry isn't going to back down or "go soft", just because they mayor wants him to stop pulling out his Magnum 45, a very powerful handgun, and start laying down the law, and bringing the state police a lot of charges to them. So his boss Bresslier has just had enough, and places him with rookie cop Chico Gonzalez, who's more suited to a classroom than to the confinment of police life. The guys are sent out on a mission to arrest a crazed man who's going to kill a child or a black person for $1million, so Harry has to act quick.
The film follows Harry as he makes his investigations of crimes, like when Scorpio kills a child on the beach, shoots a black man in the middle of a green and the threats he keeps sending them through the San Francisco Cronicle.
Gonzarles finds out why Harry's called "Dirty Harry", because he has to do every bad job around, as he gets called to a guy ready to jump. Of course, Harry gets him down, but it's not usual methods he uses.
The film has great scenes, like when Harry goes up to one of the gunmen after the bank robbery and makes his legendary speech; which makes the man very scared because he's playing Russian Roulette with his life. Harry knows well what's going on, but he likes to use fear to make people do what they have to do. Another example is when he makes it to the football ground and finds Scorpio, and runs to the middle of the field, and threatens to shoot him if he doesn't help him find the little girl.
The music is excellent in this film, Lalo Schifrin, with his jazzy and funky soundtrack which illustrates the highs and lows. The music compliments the pictures, and brings a certain mood to the picture. The instrumentation is excellent, and the use of strings to bring preasure is just perfect.
The film also brings in a lot of personal feelings, like when Scorpio uses the media to make him look like the victime, this is quite a new skill used by Don Segal, and was quite revolutionary. Also Harry's attitude is well documented, with his masterpiece scene in the DA's office "What about that girl's rights?" He brought up quite a few things to think about, which is always good in a movie of this genre.
In conclusion, this film is great, the scenes are well done and well filmed for their time; and the remastering brings a lot of colour to the screen and texture to the soundtrack. Listening to this in 5.1 surround gives it a whole different angle, which is amazing. Also the script is of a high class. If you don't get this, you're missing out on the best cop movie ever made. Clint Eastwood and Andrew Robinson made the movie what it is, great direction from Don Segal. You won't regret this purchase.