One of the greatest figures in film history turns 90 on May 31. He is one of the few who has seen able to straddle the twin worlds of directing films as well as acting in them. And while his characters on screen have more often than not been tall, mysterious and quiet outsiders, he is associated with some of the most popular lines in film history.
So, as Clint Eastwood turns 90, we pay tribute to the Man With No Name who could be a Dirty Harry for a Few Dollars More but was never Unforgiven by his fans, because he was never shy of being In the Line of Fire, even if he was a Million Dollar Baby driving a Gran Torino, by compiling ten of the best known dialogues from his film career:
1. “I know what you’re thinking, punk. You’re thinking “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Now, to tell you the truth, I’ve forgotten myself in all this excitement. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and it will blow your head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself a question: ‘Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?…” – Dirty Harry
The unflappable Harry Callaghan breaking up a robbery in broad daylight, while still munching breakfast. When a robber attempts to reach for his weapon, “Dirty Harry” says these famous lines. He repeats the lines in the climax as well, but it is their first utterance that is most famous.
2. “You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.” – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The big shoot out has happened. The bad guy is dead. But the treasure has not been found yet. Does The Man With No Name (Eastwood’s character is never named in the film) help his former friend dig it out? Not when he himself has a gun handy!
3. ”You see, my mule don’t like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you’re laughin’ at him. Now if you apologize, like I know you’re going to, I might convince him that you really didn’t mean it.” – A Fistful of Dollars
Eastwood’s character rides into town on a mule. The local baddies drive away the mule by firing at his hooves, making the animal panic. Eastwood walks back into town, tells a coffin maker to “get three coffins ready” (that line almost made it to this list), and then asks the “gentlemen” to apologise to his mule. PETA would have loved him!
4. “Dying ain’t much of a living, boy.” – The Outlaw Josey Wales
Eastwood plays a wanted criminal Josey Wales. A person turns up to arrest him. Wales ask if he is a bounty hunter. He responds by saying, “A man has got to do something for a living these days.” Wales reply is a classic, and also a song by Bon Jovi!
5. ”I’ve killed just about everything that walks or crawled at one time or another. And I’m here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you did to Ned. You boys had better move away.” – Unforgiven
In this almost anti-cowboy film (it deglamourised violence like few had the nerve to), Eastwood plays William Munny, a reformed hitman who takes on a final assignment to try and pay for his farm. A friend joins him, and when that friend is tortured and killed by the sheriff, Munny unleashes hell. In typical deadpan direct, Clint Eastwood fashion.
6. “Go ahead, make my day.” – Sudden Impact
Another Dirty Harry film, another epic line. Eastwood walks into a cafe, only to discover (thanks to a very sugary coffee) that a robbery is in process. Of course, he shoots his way into and out of it. One of the robbers takes one of the cafe staff hostage and threatens to kill her. Dirty Harry’s response is epic. He uses the line once more in the film, towards the end, but this is the instance in which it is more remembered.
7. ”Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn’t have f***ed with? That’s me.” – Gran Torino (2008)
Eastwood was 78 by the time Gran Torino was released. Could he not just stare down but actually threaten a bunch of hoodlums trying to harass one of his neighbours? Of course, he could.
8. “You have. Rendezvous with my a**, motherf***er!” – In the Line of Fire
Eastwood plays an agent who is part of the security of the US President. He finds out about a plot to assassinate him, and even finds out about the assassin. Hell, he even talks to him on the phone. “I have rendezvous with death,” says the assassin. “And so does the president.” Eastwood’s reaction is so Dirty Harry, even though this is not a Dirty Harry film.
9. “When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher knife and a hard-on, I figure he isn’t out collecting for the Red Cross.” – Dirty Harry
The “do you, punk” line might have got most of the attention, but the first Dirty Harry film had some memorable exchanges, almost tailor-made for Eastwood’s deadpan delivery. One of the most spectacular was when the mayor exhorts Eastwood to not cause any disturbance, because that is his policy. Eastwood responds by saying that “when an adult male is chasing a female with intent to commit rape, I shoot the bastard; that’s my policy.” The mayor promptly asks how Eastwood guessed the intent of the person. Cue classic Dirty Harry. With a straight face.
10. “You know, you’re going to look awfully silly with that knife sticking up your ass.” – High Plains Driter
There’s a shoot out going on in town, and someone with a knife sneaks up behind you. What do you do if you are Clint Eastwood? Elementary, and not at all Sherlock!
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines