Keeping up with Clint: 6 of our favourite Eastwood movies
Iconic movie star Clint Eastwood isn’t just a powerhouse in front of the camera (he’s got over 50 films to his name), he’s a master in the director’s chair too. Here’s a taste of the Dirty Harry star’s work to stream right now.
American Sniper (Showmax)
This biographical drama explores the life of Chris Kyle, aka the most dangerous man ever to wear US military fatigues. Clint is no stranger to guns (he’s famous for using a double-action Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 calibre Magnum revolver – “the most powerful handgun in the world”) in his Dirty Harry movies, but he let a bulked-up Bradley Cooper take this role as US Marine soldier Chris.
It’s one of those humbling stories that reveals the effect war and killing for your country has on a man. Chris by all means was a tough soldier, but the sniper (with 160 confirmed kills during four tours) struggled with PTSD when he returned home. And having put his life on the line for his fellow countrymen, it’s heart-breaking to know how his life ended.
Did you know? While Chris’s family approved the script, which was based on Chris’s autobiography, they refuse to speak to Clint or anyone associated to the movie as they feel betrayed and that Chris was portrayed badly.
Richard Jewell (Showmax)
This biographical movie directed by Clint and based on the 1997 Vanity Fair article American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell tells the story of an honest, hard-working, everyday Joe who went from obscurity to global news headlines in 1996. But not for the right reasons.
Richard (played by Paul Walter Hauser) was working as a security guard at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games in the US, and during a routine patrol discovered an explosive device at the Centennial Olympic Park visitor attraction. While Richard managed to warn people and get most to safety, there were injuries and one death when the device exploded.
The problem is that fake news, led by journalist Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde) from the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, saw the FBI and other law enforcement agencies stop their investigations into credible leads and turn their attention to an innocent Richard, hinting that he planted the bomb himself, then “discovered” it to cash in on the fame. In the end, the police realised their mistakes and searched for the actual would-be domestic-terrorist during a six-month manhunt.
Did you know? Clint was publicly called out for going too far with creative licence – one scene shows Kathy offering sex to a cop in exchange for information about the search for the bomber. Richard died in February 2007 from severe heart disease, while Kathy overdosed on morphine in 2001.
Escape From Alcatraz (Netflix)
Clint plays real-life criminal Frank Morris in this 1979 action movie based on the 1963 novel by J Campbell Bruce. Frank is a prisoner sentenced to life in infamous San Francisco prison Alcatraz. Thing is, Frank is a genius, and having escaped from countless prisons before, this time he has a challenge on his hands because it’s basically impossible to escape from the facility that’s built on an island in the San Francisco Bay area.
Despite being told that he’ll die trying to flee, Frank has an escape plan in mind from day one, and it starts with him stealing a pair of the prison governor’s nail clippers and getting thrown in The Hole aka Alcatraz’s solitary confinement section as he kickstarts his escape.
Did you know? The movie and novel are loosely based on a real-life escape from Alcatraz – the five inmates who managed to break out of their cells in 1962 were never found, leaving experts still arguing to this day on whether they managed to row or swim to safety or if they drowned in the icy bay waters.
In the Line of Fire (Netflix)
Clint continues his devil-without-a-care cop stereotype in this 1993 action movie as dour Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan. He’s caught up in a counterfeiting ring that is actually a cover for a terrorist group plotting to assassinate the US President aka Frank’s boss. That brings back troubling memories for Frank – he was a bodyguard for US President John F Kennedy and we know how that turned out. So when Frank realises what’s going on, he starts an off-the-books investigation into the cartel who’re planning the hit, as well as putting together a masterplan to not only stop the President’s assassination, but to get to the hitmen before they can make their move.
Did you know? The Air Force One plane set cost $250 000 to build in 1993 – that’s R6.5 million. Clint was also digitally added to the original JFK assassination video footage and was even given a digital haircut by the animators to make him look younger.
Sad Hill Unearthed (Netflix)
This doccie film sees Clint interviewed alongside music conductor Ennio Morricone and heavy metal band Metallica and centres on Sad Hill Cemetery in Santo Domingo de Silos, Burgos, Spain, which featured heavily in Clint’s iconic movie The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from 1966.
The cemetery was built by the Spanish Army in 1966 (when the movie was made) and is the setting for the movie’s final showdown scene. Seeing the smile on Clint’s face as he remembers filming there is priceless, as is the behind the scenes info on the cemetery itself, as well as showing how it was rebuilt for the doccie in 2017.
Bonus pick: The Outpost, starring Scott Eastwood (coming soon to Showmax)
The Outpost is Rotten Tomatoes’ second-best-reviewed Action and Adventure film of 2020, with a 93% critics’ rating. As the critics’ consensus says, “Told with gripping realism, The Outpost is a thrilling technical feat and a worthy tribute to military heroes.”
As members of a small team of American soldiers outnumbered by the Taliban in Afghanistan, Teen Choice Award winners Orlando Bloom (The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean) and Clint Eastwood’s son, Scott Eastwood (Suicide Squad, Fast and Furious 8, Pacific Rim: Uprising), co-star with Caleb Landry Jones (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), who was nominated as Best Actor: Action at the Critics Choice Super Awards for the role. The Outpost was also nominated as Best Action Movie at the 2021 Critics Choice Super Awards.