I love comedies. I love dramas. And I love movies that have guns in them.
I mean, really big guns.
Sometimes, more than anything, you need a really good movie with a big, big gun…
A gun being held by a really big star.
Yep, big guns and the coolest people in the world pointing them! Let’s go!
Dirty Harry – 1971.
San Francisco faces the terror of a maniac known as Scorpio – who snipes at innocent victims and demands the city pay him a ransom to stop him from killing again. Inspector Harry Callahan- who is known as Dirty Harry due to his reputation for handling all the “dirty” job nobody else wants – must track down Scorpio and stop him. Using cat and mouse games against Callahan, Scorpio is put to the test with the cop with a dirty attitude.
DO YOU FEEL LUCKY, PUNK?
One of the most iconic scenes in movie history – when Harry disrupts a bank robbery and shoots one of the bad guys, who he tracks down and ponders the situation:
Harry Callahan: I know what you’re thinking. “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?
The film is controversial for its position on police violence – and the tactics Harry uses to find the killer.
[Harry Callahan has to explain why he shot a man]
Harry Callahan: Well, when an adult male is chasing a female with intent to commit rape, I shoot the bastard. That’s my policy.
The Mayor: Intent? How did you establish that?
Harry Callahan: When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher’s knife and a hard-on, I figure he isn’t out collecting for the Red Cross!
[walks out of the room]
The Mayor: He’s got a point.
Serial killer Scorpio was loosely based on the Zodiac killer, who used to taunt police and media with notes about his crimes, in one of which he threatened to hijack a school bus full of children. The role of Harry Callahan was loosely based on real life detective David Toschi who was the chief investigator in the Zodiac case.
Check out David Fincher’s excellent film “Zodiac” starring Robert Downey Jr for a definitive look at the real-life case.
According to terrific trivia on IMDB, Clint Eastwood directed the scene with the suicide jumper (Bill Couch). However, it is often claimed he directed the scene only because Director Don Siegel was ill. This is inaccurate. Siegel was indeed ill, and wasn’t on the set, but Eastwood had always been scheduled to direct that scene, due to the difficult logistics of getting the actors, director, camera-man and sound-man all together on the top of a small ledge. In the shooting schedule, 6 nights had been set aside for the shooting of the scene. Eastwood told the studio he could shoot it in two nights. In the end, he shot the entire scene in one night.
Clint and Siegel had a long and productive working relationship, with Siegel directing all of the Eastwood movie’s below…
Coogan’s Bluff (1968)
Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)
The Beguiled (1971)
Dirty Harry (1971)
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
The Director also did a cameo as a Bartender in Eastwood’s excellent directorial debut “Play Misty For Me!”
Siegel also directed John Wayne’s last movie, “The Shootist” (1976) – about a gunslinger with cancer who can’t escape his violent past. A great movie co-starring Jimmy Stewart and Ron Howard.
Get Carter. In 1971 Michael Caine tore up the screen as London gangster Jack Carter. Heading “up north” to get to the bottom of the recent death of his brother, he runs afoul of the local color, who don’t appreciate his meddling. Not content to accept the police report of suicide, Carter begins investigating.
He encounters the local mob boss, his sleazy chauffeur with eyes like “piss holes in the snow,” and the lovely town porn star. Naturally, he kicks alot of ass and takes names later. This is a pure 70′s piece of action/art, but well worth checking out!
She only made a few movies, but has received legendary status in sexploitation circles, and this is her masterwork…
A young woman, muted after a sexual assault as a child, is trained to seek violent revenge on those who have wronged her after being kidnapped and forced to work as a prostitute.
Quentin Tarantino called it “the roughest revenge movie ever made!” and he’s not far off…this is exactly what a grindhouse movie is all about: non-stop sex and violence.
Christina Lindberg is Sweden’s gift to the US: an exploitation beauty who made only a handful of films, but can be found on thousands of websites – the iconic image of her with an eyepatch and a shotgun is everythign grindhouse stands for…
Straw Dogs. In 1971 Director Sam Peckinpah delivered one of the cinema’s most controversial films, and turned Dustin Hoffman into an action star! Wait, WHAT???
Well, kinda…the film is a very controversial meditation on violence, and what it takes to make someone capable of killing.
“Straw Dogs” is based on the novel “The Siege at Trencher’s Farm” – and tells the story of a mild-mannered Mathematician who visits his new wife’s old home – stirring up passion among the locals.
Actress Susan George plays the sex-kitten who takes her new bookish husband back to her local English town, where everything spirals out of control. She does a great job in a very difficult role…
Warning: this has a number of very controversial scenes, so be warned…
The Getaway. Take notorious Director Sam Peckinpah, add the toughest – and coolest – action star of the time in Steve McQueen, who was just about the biggest star in the world at the time….
Then, add the huge new star of “Love Story”, Ali McGraw, and you have a dynamite action film from 1972 that is as entertaining today as the day it was released.
Master thief Doc McCoy knows his wife has been in bed with the local political boss in order to spring him from jail. What he doesn’t know are all of the double-crosses that will sour the deal once he’s on the outside – and pulling off the ultimate robbery.
Carter ‘Doc’ McCoy: “Punch it, Baby!” And punch it they do!
This is filled with iconic scenes, and so much cool it will put a chill on your living room!
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. This 1974 action film is a classic, criminally overlooked Clint Eastwood heist movie – Jeff Bridges was Oscar-nominated for his role here – and it is directed by Michael Cimino, who would go on next to do “The Deer Hunter.”
That’s right, Jeff Bridges was Oscar-nominated for this, and he is terrific as always! Clint Eastwood plays a bank robber par excellence with a flair for explosives who is being hunted by his former partners, who think he has their loot from their last job.
Bridges is his eager apprentice and sidekick, who helps him escape; when Eastwood finally makes peace with his hunters, Bridges convinces them to try a daring robbery–but things inevitably go awry. Well worth the effort to find this one!
There you go, some big stars with their big guns!
Tags: Action thrillers, christina lindberg, Clint Eastwood, crime movies, Dirty Harry, dustin hoffman, Get Carter, harry callahan, hollywood, Michael Caine, Steve McQueen, Straw Dogs, The Getaway, They Call Her One-Eye, Thunderbolt & Lightfoot