DIRTY HARRY (1971)

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Elizabeth (spoilers!)

Dirty Harry might be as nearly perfect as you can get when it comes to badass cop movies.

Fortunately, I really didn’t know much about the movie before we watched it, and we got to see it at a special screening in theaters, so that was awesome. The story follows cop Harry (Clint Eastwood) while he tries to track down and catch a serial killer, Scorpio (Andy Robinson). That’s really all there is to the plot, but let’s dig deeper, shall we?

I love Harry because he’s steely while still being sympathetic. I don’t like movies about seemingly invincible cops, or cops who seem just as cold as whomever they’re trying to catch. Harry comes off as fairly cold, but he’s really not. He’s constantly risking his life for other people, some he knows, some he doesn’t. When someone is murdered, Harry feels it. When the bag is lifted from the head of a young boy whose face was shot off, Harry doesn’t just stare back at the body coldly; he flinches, he’s disgusted, and he’s angry. He’s like Liam Neeson’s character in Taken, except he won’t just kill everyone who gets in his way (even if maybe he wants to). He has morals and rules, even if they’re sometimes just forced on him by the police force. But still, they’re there. Also, Harry single-handedly foils a bank robbery with one gun while eating a hot dog. FUUUUUUUUCCCCCKIN COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!

I also love how Dirty Harry keeps you guessing, but in an unexpected way. Even though we don’t really know anything about Scorpio, he’s revealed to use pretty early on in the movie. So the first half of the movie is about Harry trying to catch Scorpio, even though we know who and where Scorpio is. So when Harry does catch Scorpio not too far into the movie, I wasn’t really sure what the plot was going to be after that. Which I loved! Because then the movie became a broader version of the original story; Harry caught Scorpio, but without a warrant and Scorpio is let go. So now Harry has to try to keep Scorpio from killing, all while trying to abide by the rules of the police force, which is not as easy as you would think. Harry’s character is really shown to us in this second half, because he takes it upon himself to stop the killer, whether the police department is going to help him or not. And he does stop the killer, of course, and it’s awesome.

Dirty Harry is also really funny and super scary. I’m really glad I didn’t watch it when I was younger. What makes Scorpio so scary is that he seriously doesn’t give a shit about whom he kills: men, women, children, black, white, gay, straight, even a priest . . . it doesn’t matter who he’s going for, just that he’s going to kill someone. And of course, he also kidnaps, rapes, and murders a 14 year old. We don’t see any of that, just the aftermath, but that’s bad enough. Poor Andy Robinson. What a total creep. But to counter that, the movie is really legitimately funny and it mostly comes from Eastwood. Harry does not give a fuck, for better or for worse, and it’s entertaining no matter what.

I’m sure most people have seen Dirty Harry, but it’s worth watching either way. SOOOO GOOOOOOOD!!

Christopher (spoilers!)

This is the third time I’ve watched Dirty Harry and even though some of the plot was difficult to believe, I still think this is such a great cop film. I remember watching this when I was really little, I’m not sure why my parents let me even watch it actually because the killer horrified me. There were many sleepless nights due to him. Then, I ended up watching this movie again in high school and from that experience I remember thinking that it was such a 70s film because of all the shakey zoom in/out shots. Watching it as an adult I think what I loved most about the film is how it’s kind of in two different parts. The first half is the killer doing his thing, killing, and Harry trying to catch him, but after half the movie, the killer is caught by Harry but allowed to be free because of Harry’s “do as he pleases” attitude. From there it’s all about Harry trying to catch the killer mess up.

This movie will be a classic forever and I feel rightly so. I’m not sure if they are supposed to be good, and I feel like I have seen at least one other, but I think the plan is for Elizabeth and myself to watch the sequels soon. We’ll keep you posted.

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