Clint Eastwood has had an immense career in Hollywood as both an actor and director. He started out in westerns before moving onto tough crime dramas. Arguably, he is now more revered for his directorial career which tends to focus on hard hitting drama.
The Dollars Trilogy
Eastwood first gained a large amount of attention due to these three spaghetti westerns. He plays an unnamed wanderer who is an extremely accomplished gunman. This series includes A Fistful Of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More. The most successful installment is the final one titled The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. It is still considered one of the very best examples of the western genre.
The Dirty Harry Series
“Dirty” Harry Callahan is the most iconic character of Eastwood’s career. He is a no-nonsense San Francisco cop who does not hesitate to shoot criminals. There are five films in the franchise. Eastwood himself directed the fourth installment, Sudden Impact. Despite being an important character in popular culture, Dirty Harry has also been criticized as a fascistic figure. The film critic Barry Norman has stated that Harry is popular because the villains he fights are even worse than him.
Where Eagles Dare
As Eastwood became more well known, he was offered high profile roles. One of these was as an American secret agent in the espionage film, Where Eagles Dare. He teamed up with a British soldier played by Richard Burton. This movie is one of the most violent in Eastwood’s entire career. In several scenes, he takes on entire waves of Nazi soldiers by himself.
In 1992 he returned to the western genre with Unforgiven. This film takes a more realistic look at life during the Wild West era. This is in contrast to earlier westerns, which tended to romanticize this time period. As well as directing Unforgiven, Eastwood also stars as the main character, a retired criminal. He decides to come out of retirement and exact bloody vengeance on his enemies.
The Iwo Jima Films
Perhaps his most ambitious project was a double bill focusing on the Battle of Iwo Jima. By this point he had already been established as one of the biggest names in Hollywood. In fact, news sites such as the Daily Mirror had labeled him a legend in the industry. These two war movies show the fierce battle from the perspective of both sides.
Despite being in his senior years, Eastwood continued to take on large scale projects. In Gran Torino he plays an old man who wants to help his young neighbor. The ending can be seen as a swan song to Eastwood’s whole career. Despite this, he has directed and starred in several films after this.