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Dirty Harry (1971)

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2:52 | Trailer
When a mad man calling himself 'the Scorpio Killer' menaces the city, tough as nails San Francisco Police Inspector Harry Callahan is assigned to track down and ferret out the crazed psychopath.

Director:

Don Siegel

Writers:

Harry Julian Fink (screenplay), Rita M. Fink (screenplay) (as R.M. Fink) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
2,012 ( 53)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clint Eastwood ... Harry
Harry Guardino ... Bressler
Reni Santoni ... Chico
John Vernon ... The Mayor
Andrew Robinson ... Killer (as Andy Robinson)
John Larch ... Chief
John Mitchum ... De Giorgio
Mae Mercer Mae Mercer ... Mrs. Russell
Lyn Edgington Lyn Edgington ... Norma
Ruth Kobart ... Bus Driver
Woodrow Parfrey ... Mr. Jaffe
Josef Sommer ... Rothko
William Paterson William Paterson ... Bannerman
James Nolan ... Liquor Proprietor
Maurice Argent Maurice Argent ... Sid Kleinman (as Maurice S. Argent)
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Storyline

In the year 1971, San Francisco faces the terror of a maniac known as Scorpio- who snipes at innocent victims and demands ransom through notes left at the scene of the crime. Inspector Harry Callahan (known as Dirty Harry by his peers through his reputation handling of homicidal cases) is assigned to the case along with his newest partner Inspector Chico Gonzalez to track down Scorpio and stop him. Using humiliation and cat and mouse type of games against Callahan, Scorpio is put to the test with the cop with a dirty attitude. Written by commanderblue

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Clint Eastwood is "Dirty Harry." And boy, does he get all the dirty jobs. See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

18 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 December 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Harry, el sucio See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$28,153,434, 31 December 1972
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Malpaso Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Such was the success of the film that Clint Eastwood and Don Siegel found themselves invited to address police gatherings. See more »

Goofs

When Scorpio pays a man to beat him up, there is a moment when the man wishes to stop the beating. We see Scorpio's face, and he is severely disfigured. The man hits him a few more times and then the beating ends. When he arrives in hospital, Scorpio's entire face is in bandages. However, only a few weeks later, Scorpio is released from hospital with only a small plaster across the bridge of his nose. The severity of the injuries seen when he is getting beaten would not have dissipated in only a few weeks, indeed, they would almost certainly lead to permanent disfigurement, yet other than the plaster, Scorpio appears unblemished. See more »

Quotes

Doctor: Sure, Harry. We can save the leg.
[takes out some scissors]
Harry Callahan: What are you going to do with those?
Doctor: Going to cut your pants off.
Harry Callahan: No. I'll take them off.
Doctor: It'll hurt.
Harry Callahan: $29.50, let it hurt.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, the word "Dirty" in the title is in brown as opposed to the rest of the credits' yellow. See more »

Alternate Versions

When screened on the cable TV channel, AMC, the first shootout was edited in such a way as to create a continuity error with Harry's "Did I shoot five times, or six?". In the edited version, his third shot is missing, as is his sixth shoot (which sends the robber crashing through a window). Thus, he only fires four times, not six, as he does in the unedited version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mississippi River Sharks (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Old MacDonald Had a Farm
(uncredited)
Written by Traditional
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

"Harry Hates Everybody!"
14 February 1999 | by stryker-5See all my reviews

How radically different cinema history, and our collective consciousness, would have been if Frank Sinatra hadn't injured his hand before shooting started on "Dirty Harry". Sinatra was due to play Harry, but had to withdraw, clearing the way for Clint. Given Sinatra's unique brand of self-loathing, Harry would have been an uglier personality than Clint made him. As it is, Lieutenant Callaghan is an ornery anti-liberal cuss of a guy, but he is straight and likeable. Arguably, it was this characterisation which made Eastwood a megastar.

San Francisco in 1971 was ready for stardom itself. The West Coast love-in scene and the gay 'boom', together with McQueen's "Bullitt", raised awareness of San Francisco as an exciting liberal city with a photogenic skyline. The film's funky score by Lalo Schifrin is perfectly-judged, and spawned numerous imitators.

The central narrative concerns a lone nut who is trying to hold the city to ransom. He starts by murdering citizens to extort money from the mayor, then progresses to kidnapping children. This plays cleverly on the inchoate anxieties of Middle America, where law-abiding people were puzzled and alarmed at the 'crime wave' and the threat it posed to them and their families. Crime in the decades before the Kennedy assassination had been compartmentalised by Hollywood. Gangsters were bad, but they killed other gangsters. Now the danger was unpredictable, irrational - and solitary. The lone madman was as likely to strike against me or you as against an institution. Only a single-minded strong man, operating on the fringes of the rules, could combat this new terror.

Harry is a paradox. In one sense, he is an 'outlaw'. He has little respect for formal authority (in the opening minutes, we see him being rude to the mayor) and he carries a strictly non-regulation monster of a gun. Harry is openly racist and mutinous. And yet he is also deeply moral. He conforms to an unarticulated ethical code that is anglosaxon American. He protects the weak and confronts the wrongdoers, no matter how the odds are stacked against him. Indeed, the cowardly bureaucrats who will never reward him or promote him are able to exploit his profound decency. They send him on all the difficult, dirty jobs because they know that his sense of right and wrong won't allow him to walk away.

Early in the film, the famous bank robbery scene occurs. This has become so familiar that it hardly needs elaborating here, but to summarise, Harry foils an armed robbery using icy courage and grim humour - and his magnum handgun. The special brand of Eastwood humour recurs throughout the story (eg, the suicide jumper and the gay called 'Alice'). White anglosaxon America is encouraged to laugh at the undergroups which supposedly threaten it.

When the bad guy 'Scorpio' is cornered, he immediately starts bleating about his civil rights. This is meant to arouse our fury, because we have seen him callously destroying the lives of others, and here he is exploiting the protection of the state. To make matters worse, the state agrees with him. We see the DA and a judge explaining to Harry why the cogent evidence against Scorpio is inadmissible. Just exactly why the DA would call a meeting with a lowly policeman in order to explain department policy is far from clear, but the scene is thematically necessary. Scorpio is using the System against the decent, godfearing people who own it. The liberal apparatus is skewed if it lets a killer walk away scot-free.

There are some illogicalities about the plot. Such an important event as the cash drop is left to two cops working alone, when in reality there would be a massive covert operation. When Scorpio beats the rap, there is no public outcry or media storm, and he is allowed to get on with his anonymous existence virtually untroubled.

However, this hardly matters since the main thrust of the story is the coming showdown between Harry and the bad guy. As the climax approaches, Harry drops out of the police operation. Scorpio is at his manic worst on the hi-jacked school bus, alienating us nicely and suppressing any liberal twitches we may still be feeling. Then we see Harry, standing as upright and sturdy as the Statue Of Liberty ....


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