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Clint Eastwood

Was John Wayne Seriously Almost Dirty Harry?

The world of film, much like comic books (and really any other media, not that I mention it) is a very much “monkey see, monkey do” deal, where one hit film can suddenly spawn a legion of imitators and that was certainly the case with 1971’s Dirty Harry, which starred Clint Eastwood as “Dirty” Harry Callahan, a “loose cannon” cop back when “loose cannon” cops were not actually a film genre of their own.

The film, which is primarily about Callahan hunting down a serial killer, is still extremely well known for a scene early in the film where Callahan breaks up a bank robbery while on his lunch break. He shoots one of the robbers and then trains his gun on the other robber, bluffing him into surrendering with the iconic lines, “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’ve kinda lost track myself. But being 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 you, punk?”

This started a whole new genre of action films starring loose cannon cops (four of the films in this genre were Dirty Harry sequels alone!) but the film had a surprisingly complicated pedigree and its complicated pedigree is what has made the question of who was offered the title role over the years very complicated, as well.


The finished film was directed by Don Siegel, who had directed Coogan’s Bluff, Eastwood’s first major American starring role (Eastwood famously was a TV star on Rawhide, a series about cattle drivers, for eight seasons, as well as doing a few supporting film roles and small Western films before becoming a major star in Italy for his “The Man With No Name” Western films with director Sergio Leone. He was one of the only American actors to already be an international film star before he did a single major starring role in an American film production, as the “Man With No Name” films had just been released in the United States before Eastwood returned to the States to continue his film career in his late 30s). Coogan’s Bluff was also a famously violent film, much like Dirty Harry, which is likely what got Siegel the gig. The film was based on a screenplay by husband/wife writing team, Harry Julian Fink and Rita M. Fink.

The Finks’ screenplay was called Dead Right, about a New York Cop named Dirty Harry Callahan who skirts the law in an attempt to bring a serial killer to justice. That’s basically the plot of Dirty Harry, as well, although Dead Right was much more about questioning where we draw the line in society when it comes to protecting ourselves – how willing are we to give into fascism if it keeps us safe? It was here where the role of Dirty Harry, then a much older detective at the end of his time as a cop, was offered to John Wayne, who turned it down.

Since producer Jennings Lang couldn’t get Dead Right produced, he ultimately cut a deal with ABC Television with the intent of turning the concept into a TV series. ABC Television, though, had too much trouble adapting the level of violence in the script into a regular TV series, so it then sold its option to Warner Bros., who again planned to turn it into a movie (as noted, by this point, Coogan’s Bluff had been a hit and the cultural zeitgeist was perhaps more accepting of a film this violent).

With Dirty Harry still an older man at the time, Warner Bros. approached Frank Sinatra, who had recently starred as a detective in the hit 1968 film, The Detective (as I noted in an old Legends Revealed, that film was based on a Roderick Thorp novel and Thorp’s sequel to that novel was also later adapted into a surprising hit action film). Sinatra turned the role down, as well.

It was then offered to a couple of other older actors (including Robert Mitchum) before the filmmakers decided to go younger and cast Eastwood and the rest, as they say, is history.


However, this casting process has led to a number of confusing reports over the years over whether John Wayne turned down Dirty Harry or not. It is true that he turned down the character of Dirty Harry, but it was before the character had evolved to being the character that he became in the film, Dirty Harry, and Dead Right and Dirty Harry are two very different films and Wayne was never offered a role in the second film.

Wayne himself muddied the waters, as he was quoted in Michael Munn’s 2001 book John Wayne: The Man Behind The Myth as saying about Dirty Harry, “I turned it down for what seemed to me to be three very good reasons. The first is that they offered it to Frank Sinatra first, but he’d hurt his hand and couldn’t do it. I don’t like being offered Sinatra’s rejections. Put that one down to pride. The second reason is that I thought Harry was a rogue cop. Put that down to narrow-mindedness because when I saw the picture I realized that Harry was the kind of part I’d played often enough; a guy who lives within the law but breaks the rules when he really has to in order to save others.”

Sinatra was offered the role in the film Dirty Harry, but not Dead Right, so Wayne was recalling the timeline incorrectly. At the same time, people who say that Wayne was never offered the role in Dirty Harry, while correct, are still a bit inaccurate, in that Wayne WAS offered the role of Dirty Harry…just not in Dirty Harry.

Once Dirty Harry was a hit, Wayne did two “loose cannon” cop movies of his own, 1974’s McQ…

and then 1975’s Brannigan…

The legend is…

STATUS: False for Dirty Harry, but True for Dirty Harry, which is a hilarious sentence, right?

Be sure to check out my archive of Movie Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the world of film.

Clint Eastwood

“He was too expensive”: Clint Eastwood Starred in ‘Dollars Trilogy’ After Director Couldn’t Afford Another Oscar Winning Actor With $15000 Salary

In today’s day and age, Clint Eastwood’s name is one that echoes with terms such as legendary and brilliant. His ability to be expressive as an actor without having to say too many dialogues was one admired by many. Not only his skills as an actor, but being a talented director helped build his reputation in the best way possible.
Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)

Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
During his days as an actor, there were many films offered to him. Some he let go of, others he grabbed as soon as he could. One of his most iconic works is the Dollars Trilogy with director Sergio Leone. Despite the massive amount of fame that he got from it, there was an unfortunate yet slight chance that Eastwood would have lost out on the role because Leone wanted another actor altogether.
Sergio Leone’s Initial Choice for His Trilogy was not Clint Eastwood
One of Clint Eastwood’s biggest movie trilogies, the Dollars trilogy was something that came along his career, giving him a boost the actor never knew he needed. The year 1964 saw a rise in his fame from then on. However, as per BBC (via Farout Magazine), Eastwood was not Sergio Leone’s first choice for the film.
James Coburn
“I really wanted James Coburn, but he was too expensive,” Leone stated. “The Italian cinema is very poor. We got Clint for $15,000, Coburn wanted $25,000.”
The director revealed that because of the budgetary limitations that they had, there was no way possible for him to get James Coburn for the role. The actor wanted $10,000 more than what Eastwood had settled on, making it an absolutely impossible choice for them to hire Coburn. He elaborated on how being in the Italian cinema at that time did not give him flexibility with the budget. Due to this, Eastwood became his ideal choice and that in turn benefitted his career.
Clint Eastwood Almost did not Join Sergio Leone
Clint Eastwood’s career has been a rising climb for decades now. One of the reasons for this is his credible fame because of the Dollars trilogy. However, there was a slight chance that the actor would have given up on the role. According to a BBC documentary (via Farout Magazine), the actor was hesitant about saying yes.
Clint EastwoodClint Eastwood
 “I was doing Rawhide, and I was coming to a hiatus,” Eastwood remembered. “I took three months off, usually around February, March and April every year, and my agent in Los Angeles called me up and asked me if I’d like to go to Europe and make an Italian, German, Spanish co-production of a remake of a Japanese film [Yojimbo] in the plains of Spain.”
The actor/director stated that he was asked to make a film in a rather peculiar setting right after he was coming back from a three-month-long break. His reply to the same had been a rejection. In the end, he warmed up to the idea.

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Clint Eastwood

“I got to take her, and I still remember that”: Clint Eastwood Had A Personal Reason To Cherish His Oscar Win Despite His Anti-Semitic Comments Against Academy

Clint Eastwood is a legendary figure in Hollywood, not only because of acting prowess but also because he is a brilliant storyteller. From countless nominations to multiple wins, the Dirty Harry star has had enough accolades to his name, proving that he is every bit deserving of the fame he has received all these years. However, despite his immense fame, the actor has said some very concerning things in the past.
Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood
Years ago he had made some alleged antisemitic remarks about the Academy Awards committee but when he won his first Oscar, the actor-director accepted and enjoyed the experience for a very personal reason.
Clint Eastwood’s Reason For Cherishing His First Oscar
eastwood with his late motherEastwood with his late mother
Also Read:  “He was too expensive”: Clint Eastwood Starred in ‘Dollars Trilogy’ After Director Couldn’t Afford Another Oscar-Winning Actor With $15000 Salary
It has been decades since Clint Eastwood made his debut in Hollywood and ever since then he has been unstoppable. A recipient of numerous accolades and maker of multiple successful movies, the actor-director once had expressed his reservations about Academy Awards, even before he won his first-ever nomination.
While certain people labeled him as anti-semitic because of his Academy-related comments, he went on to get his first-ever nomination just sometime later at the age of 62. It was his movie Unforgiven that gave him an Oscar each for Best Picture and Best Director and a nomination for Best Actor.
Despite his earlier comments, the actor enjoyed his first nomination and win for a very personal reason which was being able to take his mother Ruth Wood to the ceremony (via Parade).
“It was nice, I guess. The nicest thing was that I got to take my mother to the Oscars. I’d been successful as a movie director and actor but not as successful in that kind of hoopla. So that was fun. I got to take her, and I still remember that. The trophies are tucked away in the house somewhere.”
Stated the director when asked if he even cared at that point about awards like the Oscars for he was already a pretty successful filmmaker at that point.
What Alleged Anti-Semitic Comments Did Clint Eastwood Make?
Clint Eastwood in UnforgivenClint Eastwood in Unforgiven
Clint Eastwood was 62 when he received his first Oscar nomination. Even though he lacked an Academy Award before, he was already a successful filmmaker and actor, having acted and directed several fan-loved movies.
However, before he ever won or was nominated for an Oscar, the actor was said to have stated in the book Clint: The Life and Legend of Clint Eastwood, a biography of his life written by Patrick McGilligan,
“I will never win an Oscar and do you know why? First of all, because I’m not Jewish. Secondly, because I make too much money for those old farts in the Academy. Thirdly, and most importantly, because I don’t give a f**k.”
His comments were understood by many as anti-semitic. However, things began to change for soon he went on to earn multiple Oscar nominations in the subsequent years after his first win with Unforgiven.
Unforgiven can be streamed on HBO Max.

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Clint Eastwood

It’s a Clint Eastwood – Hot News

Tarantino’s films, beyond the taste of each person, doses of violence and references to other titles, are in their scripts and dialogues which, in some cases, like Pulp Fiction, are more than the film itself. In the almost endless list of the best phrases in the history of cinema, Tarantino has his favorite. And this one is uttered by an expert in giving us many phrases in his films: Clint Eastwood.
This can be one of the best lines from the Dirty Harry movies, like his famous “come on, make my day” (Sudden Impact), or Clint Eastwood’s lines of dialogue in the Dirty Harry scene where he said: “I know what. you’re thinking. Did I fire all six bullets or just five. The truth is that in all this fuss and confusion I also lost count. But this is a 44 Magnum, the best revolver in the world, capable of blowing your brains out with one shot, don’t you think you’re lucky?
Or something from Unforgiven, like “when you kill someone you not only take everything they have, but also everything they can be”; When it comes to Tarantino, it’s harder for him to choose a sentimental or romantic phrase from The Bridges of Madison like “I don’t want to need you because I can’t have you.” But no.
Tarantino’s favorite phrase in the history of film belongs to the movie The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and was uttered by Clint Eastwood: “The world is divided into two categories: those with loaded guns and those who dig.” You dig.”

Tarantino has never hidden his weakness for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. In addition to recently including the film directed by Sergio Leone in his list of the 10 best westerns in history, in 2020 he chose The Good, the Bad and the Ugly among his 12 favorite films in history movie theater

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