Tough Guy: Clint Eastwood

“Go ahead, make my day.”

The Eastwood FactorNow in realm of cliché, this may be the signature line of a unique American filmmaker.

Clint Eastwood (1930-) is known for a variety of accomplishments in film and television, both as an actor (Rowdy Yates, The Man With No Name, Detective Harry Callahan, Josey Wales, Philo Beddoe) and as a producer/director (Unforgiven, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino). He has served in the U.S. Army, composed music, been elected mayor, starred in a Chrysler commercial and recently saved a man from choking.

His film work spans most genres: comedy (Every Which Way But Loose, Any Which Way You Can), drama (Play Misty For Me), western (Hang ‘Em High, Pale Rider), action (Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Escape from Alcatraz), romance (Bridges of Madison County), historical (Bird), mystery (Blood Work) and war (Where Eagles Dare, Letters from Iwo Jima).

Over the years, Clint Eastwood has achieved an extraordinary level of independence as a filmmaker. Only John Wayne comes to mind as another Tough Guy who for decades was able to chart his own successful course through the movie business. Arguably, Eastwood’s range, quality and quantity of work in maturity surpasses that of Wayne.

Check out some of Eastwood’s movies and other material on his life and work.

Try The Eastwood Factor, a DVD from 2010.  Morgan Freeman narrates an 88 minute documentary directed by film historian Richard Schickel who reveals “the easygoing and thoughtful man behind the magic.”

sudden impact

The “Go ahead, make my day” line is from Sudden Impact (1983). Eastwood, as Detective “Dirty Harry” Callahan, delivers it confronting an armed robber who ruined Harry’s morning cup of coffee.

Matt Pettit

Matt is a Public Service Specialist for the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. His areas of responsibility include outreach library services to nursing homes, senior, retirement and congregate living centers; service to homebound library users; the Kansas Talking Books service; Book Group in a Bag program and the history and sports neighborhoods of the library’s nonfiction collection.