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Clint Eastwood

7 Underrated Movies Directed by Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood is one of the most recognizable stars in American cinema history and is continuing to make movies into his 90s. He had a few small roles as far back as the 1950s before getting recognition as a TV actor in the late ’50s and early 1960s, with his profile blowing up thanks to his role in the iconic Man With No Name trilogy in the mid-60s. From there, he’s been a staple of pop culture, and beyond acting, he started a successful directing career in the early 1970s.
Frequently, Eastwood has directed and starred in many of his films and even taken on other roles, like occasionally composing music for his movies. With over 40 directing credits to his name, and many of those films being good to great in terms of quality, it’s understandable that a few have gone under the radar. These aren’t his most well-known movies, but they’re all good films worth watching for anyone who likes Eastwood’s work as a director or an actor.
‘Richard Jewell’ (2019)

Richard Jewell - 2019

One of Eastwood’s more recent films—and probably his best of the 2010s—Richard Jewell tells the story of a man who helped thwart a bombing at the 1996 Olympics, only to be accused of being one of the perpetrators behind the attack. The film looks at the impact the accusation had on Jewell and his mother, exploring how the media can essentially put a person on trial—forgoing any sense of “innocent until proven guilty”—and showing how the justice system can let individuals down.
Granted, the film is not perfect. It took some liberties with the story and some real-life people in it, which may have influenced its less-than-stellar box office performance. It also might be a tad overlong, but beyond the flaws, there are some fantastic performances and engaging, biting commentary about the media and the criminal justice system. It shows that Eastwood still has it as a director, as the story, acting, and overall presentation are (flaws aside) quite strong.

‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ (1976)

Outlaw Josey Wales 1976

There are so many Clint Eastwood Westerns that he starred in or directed (or did both!) that there’s a chance of them all starting to blend after a while, especially once you’ve seen a decent number of them. This could lead to some being overlooked, and truth be told, there are a handful of Clint Eastwood Westerns that aren’t exactly great movies and maybe can be glanced over… but The Outlaw Josey Wales certainly isn’t one of them.
Even by Eastwood’s standards, it’s gritty and quite grim, being a far cry from the sorts of Westerns popular in Hollywood before Eastwood was established as a big-screen star of the genre. In The Outlaw Josey Wales, Eastwood plays one of his best Western anti-heroes; a vengeful man is righting the wrongs in the Wild West using his violent methods, eventually standing up for the oppressed. It’s good stuff and, in hindsight, a very natural precursor to his even better (and just as gritty) Unforgiven, made some 16 years later.

‘Space Cowboys’ (2000)

Space Cowboys - 2000

Space Cowboys does sound a little silly at first, given the title, but don’t let it put you off. Far from being about literal cowboys in space (or something like Cowboy Bebop, which uses Western tropes in a science-fiction setting), it’s actually about a group of elderly ex-astronauts who—some 30-40 years past their prime—get the opportunity to travel to space on a dangerous mission to repair a satellite.
It’s not exactly a comedy, but it has a fun, adventurous tone for a good deal of its runtime, though naturally isn’t without more serious moments when it comes to themes of getting old and having regret about one’s life not turning out the intended way. It might not be the best or most consistent late-era Eastwood film, but it has plenty of good qualities (and a strong cast) to make it worthwhile for fans of the actor-director.

‘Letters from Iwo Jima’ (2006)

Letters From Iwo Jima - 2006

Letters from Iwo Jima is one half of a pair of films Eastwood made about the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II, with the other being Flags of Our Fathers. Interestingly, the two depict the same battle but from two different points of view, with Letters from Iwo Jima showing events from the Japanese army’s point of view (complete with mostly Japanese dialogue, despite it being an American-produced film) and Flags of Our Fathers showing the perspective of the U.S. army.
The two parts would make for a powerful war film epic if viewed back-to-back, though the intensity and ferociousness of the combat scenes—and the sadness at the loss of life on both sides would make such a double feature very taxing. They’re both good movies, but Letters from Iwo Jima emerges the stronger of the two, thanks to it being a far more sensitive, even-handed exploration of the Japanese army than most American WWII movies and also due in part to their side of the story arguably being even more impactful and harrowing. It’s an uncommonly humanizing and sympathetic American war film that seeks to understand and acknowledge a side that was very much America’s enemy during the conflict.

‘The Bridges of Madison County’ (1995)

The Bridges of Madison County - 1995

With The Bridges of Madison County, Clint Eastwood had a shot at making a tear-jerking romance, and he pulled it off pretty well. It tells the story of a short but passionate love affair between Clint Eastwood’s and Meryl Streep‘s characters, with the kind of great performances you’d expect from actors of their caliber.
Now, it’s possible that the film gets a tiny bit too sappy for its own good, or at least by modern standards. It also has a strange framing device from the start that robs the story of having much by way of surprises and does feel its length. However, as an example of Eastwood tackling the romance genre and getting the core relationship at the core of the film believable and feeling right (which is probably the main thing), The Bridges of Madison County is ultimately a success.

‘A Perfect World’ (1993)

A Perfect World - 1993

Clint Eastwood appears in A Perfect World, but only in a supporting role (and this didn’t end up being the only time he did this; see also Million Dollar Baby in 2004). The film’s star is Kevin Costner, an escaped prisoner on the run from the law who forms a surprising bond with the boy he kidnaps, all the while, Eastwood plays the main lawman on his tail.
It’s a difficult premise, but A Perfect World mostly makes it work, with its rather outlandish story developing well, leading to a film that’s among his most underrated works. The fact it followed up his hugely successful Unforgivenwithout being quite as great may have had something to do with that, unfortunately; given Unforgiven is arguably his best-directed film, the follow-up was always going to have big shoes to fill.

‘Play Misty for Me’ (1971)

Play Misty For Me - 1971

Play Misty for Me was the first film Clint Eastwood ever directed, and it made for quite a striking directorial debut. It involves Eastwood playing a disc jockey who has to deal with an obsessive, potentially dangerous female fan, played by the late Jessica Walters in one of her first major roles (she became best-known for playing Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development).
For a debut, it’s pretty solid. It works well as a tense psychological thriller, though it’s far from perfect, with the film overall being a little too simple and the narrative occasionally outlandish. But as a first film, it’s quite good, and it’s worth watching to see Eastwood’s beginnings as a director and for Walters’ compelling and menacing performance.

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Clint Eastwood

Marty Robbins Died Today in 1982: Relive His Time on Screen with Clint Eastwood in ‘Honkytonk Man’

Marty Robbins did a lot during his time on earth. From singing, songwriting, stock car racing, playing instruments, and even acting, Robbins’ resume was impressive. It also includes stepping in for legendary actor Clint Eastwood.

Perhaps Robbins’ most memorable role was in “Honkytonk Man” alongside Eastwood. Clint Eastwood produced, directed, and starred as Red Stovall in the classic. Robbins was cast as one of Stovall’s band members named Smoky. Eastwood’s son, Kyle, also stars in the film as Stovall’s nephew, Whit.

The storyline features Stovall’s dream of making it to the Grand Ole Opry in the Great Depression era. Stovall finally arrives in Nashville after a cross-country journey with his nephew and gets his chance to perform in front of Grand Ole Opry scouts.

However, Stovall can’t escape a coughing fit that’s brought on by his tuberculosis illness. This is where Robbins, the side guitarist, steps in for Eastwood.

His true talent shines while Smoky unintentionally steals the spotlight. Watch the scene below.

“Honkytonk Man” was released on December 15, 1982. Robbins passed away seven days earlier, making this his final appearance on the silver screen. He was 57 when he died on December 8, after suffering his third serious heart attack.

More About Marty Robbins

Robbins was one of the most popular and successful country-western singers for most of his nearly four-decade career that spanned from the late 1940s to the early 1980s. 

Over the course of his career, Robbins’ resume continued to grow. Classic Country Music cites that he recorded more than 500 songs and 60 albums and won two Grammy Awards. Furthermore, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and was named the 1960s Artist of the Decade by the Academy of Country Music.

Robbins was obsessed with El Paso, both the name and the town grown-up. So naturally, he sang a song titled “El Paso.” The lyrics paint a vivid picture of a love s story. Robbins went on to win a Grammy Award in 1959 for his signature song.

Not only did Robbins love the sound of music but he loved the roar of a stock car machine. His success in country music allowed him to fund his NASCAR team. Robbins had 6 top-ten finishes in his career, with a personal best top 5 finish at the 1974 Motor State 360 in Michigan.

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood: Here’s How the Cowboy Icon Landed His First Role in a Western

Arguably one of the best actors to ever grace Western cinema, Clint Eastwood is an icon. His work in Westerns over his career has been outstanding. But, how did he get his start in that particular part of the industry?

It is fascinating how Clint Eastwood landed his first role in a Western. However, the first Western that the legendary actor was in was an uncredited role in a little-known movie. He played a ranch hand in the 1955 movie called Law Man, which is also known as Star in the Dust.

While the role was small, it got Clint Eastwood excited about the prospects of acting in Westerns. As everyone knows today, it seems that he was destined to play a cowboy in his career. As a tough-looking, tall, handsome man, he fits the role exceedingly well.

Clint Eastwood Got His First Role in a Western Almost By Accident

According to IMDb, Eastwood got into Western movies because he looks the part. Reportedly, he was visiting a friend at the CBS studio when an executive spotted him. During the exchange, Eastwood was told that he “looked like a cowboy.”

Even though this is absolutely true and fits the role to a tee, it is impressive that’s how he landed a role. The first credited movie that he was in because of this exchange was a 1959 Western television show called Rawhide.

Clint Eastwood was cast as Rowdy Yates in the show. Rawhide ran from 1959 to 1965, and Clint Eastwood was in the show for its entirety. In fact, he had the most episodes of anyone in the show. This is somewhat surprising, considering his extensive cinema work outside the show.

Rawhide essentially launched his Western movie career. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly was filmed in 1966, certainly a direct result of his work on the television show.

So, it is safe to say that the CBS executive who pegged him as a man fit for Western’s was definitely correct. You can thank that man for the wonderful work that Clint Eastwood has done ever since.

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood Once Survived a Crash Landing: Here’s What Happened

Clint Eastwood has continually crashed through the entertainment industry with a number of standout performances.

He has made a name for himself as an actor, director, composer, producer, and all-around filmmaking extraordinaire. Some of his roles include “Unforgiven,” “Mystic River,” Million Dollar Baby,” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

While Eastwood has landed himself gracefully in the entertainment industry, not all of his landings have been smooth in that sense. In fact, Eastwood once survived a nearly tragic crash landing.

Here’s what happened and how he managed to survive it.

Clint Eastwood Survives Crash

The crash landing he survived had nothing to do with filming.

Instead, Eastwood was in a Douglas AD bomber plane. It was during the 1950s when he was in the Korean War. According to Work and Money, 21-year-old Eastwood was traveling to Seattle to spend time with his girlfriend and his parents.

While up in the air, the door opened and wouldn’t stay shut. Eastwood was able to use some basic survival skills to rig the door shut with some nearby loose cables.

The pilot then made the decision to fly over an oncoming storm. By making this decision, both Eastwood and the pilot had to suffer through the air thinning out. To make matters worse, Eastwood’s oxygen mask wasn’t working.

That right there is three strikes against Eastwood and surely should have ended poorly. However, the plane decided to make matters even worse and started to run out of fuel. The pilot had no choice but to maneuver his way into a crash landing at sea.

In the first lucky occurrence of the ride, the landing was successful. Clint Eastwood and the pilot ended up swimming to shore through the shark-infested waters of Point Reyes. It was also frigid cold water at the time. The odds of getting eaten by a shark after being involved in an emergency plane crash are extremely low, luckily.

In fact, the odds of being eaten by a shark are 1 in 11.5 million and the odds of getting into a plane crash are about 0.007%.

That didn’t stop the sheer terror Eastwood felt in the moment. Luckily, he didn’t know it was a shark breeding ground until years later.

“What was going through my mind was just a stark fear, a stark terror because first place, I didn’t know anything about aviation at that particular time I was just hopping a ride,” Eastwood said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

‘Sully’ Eastwood Movie

The event has some connections to one of Eastwood’s future films called “Sully.” Eastwood was the director for this 2016 biographical drama.

The movie itself was not in any way based on what happened to Clint Eastwood that day. Although having first-hand knowledge and the emotions that circulate around a plane crash probably was useful in many ways.

“Sully” is based on the autobiography “Highest Duty.” It follows the story of Chesley Sullenberger’s emergency landing of the U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. Miraculously, he was able to save the 155 passengers and crew members on the plane.

Tom Hanks plays Sullenberger in the movie. It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound Editing in 2016. At the time, others in Hollywood believed that there wasn’t a movie to be told in the story, rather more like a documentary. Eastwood always had faith in the film though.

“I definitely did think about it when I was shooting this. I’m probably the only director who’s actually been in a water landing. But it had no bearing on me making this movie. I would have shot this movie anyway,” Clint Eastwood said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The plane crash may not have been his reason behind making the film, but that day surely was running through his head while filming. The plane that crashed was never found. Fast Company reports that a team from Berkeley, California is setting out to look for it as of 2018. They said, “We’re going to find that plane.”

The OpenRov CEO, David Lang, has been using the storytelling platform called Open Explorer to share research regarding the location of the plane.

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