Dirty Harry (1971) - Action, Crime, Thriller

Hohum Score



When a madman calling himself "the Scorpio Killer" menaces the city, tough as nails San Francisco Police Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan is assigned to track down and ferret out the crazed psychopath.

IMDB: 7.7
Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Andrew Robinson
Length: 102 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 29 out of 331 found boring (8.76%)

One-line Reviews (190)

I find it fascinating how in the opening scenes when they read out who wrote the letter, they tell everyone they'll be searching for people's birthdays between October 24th and November 22nd.

The storyline is good enough to keep you on the edge of your seat in suspense.

Perhaps some of the sequels had more interesting plots and situations and had more action,but Dirty Harry remains a terrific pared-to-the-bone thriller which is still extremely gripping.

He's a very unpredictable and psychotic character, that no one is safe for.

If I were to compare this to, say, "Gran Torino" (Eastwood's latest and perhaps last movie) I'd say that I preferred "Gran Torino" more because there seemed to be more sustained excitement in it, whereas "Dirty Harry" (because Callahan is an active cop) has a few more mundane scenes, since it has to portray the system in which Callahan works.

It has a terrific plot, great actors, and it is definitely not short of action sequences, all of which are intense and powerful.

but it's darn entertaining, and it's certainly hard not to agree with Harry's cause.

Eastwood's cop is boring and has hardly any character.

It's fast paced with also plenty of excitement and action in it.

They really draw you into this movie and tells a riveting story.

Nevertheless, it is an immensely entertaining action thriller that solidified Clint Eastwood as the ultimate action hero of the 70's.

The film itself is just as concerned with the slower moments as it is with its moments of action, all of which are done in a typical stand-off type of style which thankfully places more emphasis on tension than schlocky 'shoot 'em 'up' splendour, and there's a real, slightly revisionist grit underlying the narrative that's got something to say and isn't afraid to say it.

Scorpio is somewhat less scary than Zodiac, but his methods are so unpredictable, anyone's a target if they go outside.

This formula thriller will appeal to Harry Callahan series enthusiasts , because of the tension, unstopped action , exciting edition , chills abound in this original entry .

It also ranks high for me because I am a native San Franciscan, so seeing my city for a story such as this is breathtaking.

You see Harry on the job, whether dealing with daytime bank robberies or looking on as the victims of his protagonist (the serial killer, Scorpio) are dragged lifeless from the Bay at dawn.

Get ready for a blood messy and thrilling action movie!

At times, it can feel slightly clichéd and a bit predictable as you know he will eventually catch Scorpio.

It achieves this narrative fully with original characters and performances, as well as the clever and exciting way the killer sets Harry up to get the ransom.

The Scorpio obviously isn't a criminal mastermind (he re-uses the same rooftop twice, he seeks medical attention in the hospital across the street of where he lives, …) but a convincingly dangerous and unpredictable psycho.

However for me it's the thrillingly compelling performance of Andy Robinson, that elevates this film to the next level and the series never had a more effective antagonist.


It's a simple story about a maverick cop's pursuit of a serial killer and for that reason has a timeless quality that makes it just as enjoyable for today's audiences as it was for those who saw it in the 1970s.

This is one of the most harrowing, suspenseful, and dynamic sequences ever filmed, as hero, villain and .

Yet these faults are inconsequential in the end, because every scene is generally enjoyable and in following Callahan the viewer is provided a likable character to support.

Unlike the majority of today's movies, this one's ending is just as compelling as its individual scenes, and this final sequence serves to punctuate the film even further.

There are quite a few suspenseful scenes where I was sitting tight, shaking, wondering if what I thought was going to happen truly WAS going to happen.

Not only dirty, but gritty and gripping milestone in a genre.

Harry's general contempt for authority made many of his scenes with The Mayor and The Chief very enjoyable.

' 'Dirty Harry' is also a well-paced story with lots of thrills, twists and gripping moments: Scorpio sending Harry Callahan run all over town to see if he's bugged, his brutally spanking him, the chilling sequence at the stadium where Harry shows just how much he wants justice, and the final action sequence at the school bus, make sure this movie is never boring!

The four sequels, while enjoyable, don't even start to come near the quality of this masterpiece.

Now the danger was unpredictable, irrational - and solitary.

Add in the famous bank robbery sequence – ending with Eastwood's "lucky" speech – and a supporting cast of tough guy actors fitting their roles like a glove and you have one very famous, enjoyable classic.

But apart from this line giving it legendary status, Dirty Harry is actually a very impressive and entertaining piece of film-making for a number of reasons.

This remains to be one of the most entertaining experiences in classic movie history.

Aside from that,the violence and the language used also takes it into a new level of action as it becomes is still one of the most enjoyable films you could hope to sit down with for a couple of hours.

Formula thriller plenty of action , crisply edition , tension, suspenseful and lots of violence .

The movie remains fairly entertaining throughout, though we do know that no creep or punk will escape Harry's .

The killer is played well enough but it's just so cartoonish a role that it's hard to take the movie too seriously, and considering the gritty, hard message the movie presents, it's a real problem that the villain is a cliché.

I might be overthinking this movie but it is a fascinating rumination on grey morality and how it's not always easy to tell who to root for.

But one thing that gets me is the justification of freeing Scorpio for the third act that comes off as pure propaganda: would any police department really free someone in a mask who shot at them so freely?

Gritty, suspenseful cop drama .

Overall very entertaining, climatic ending, and tells the story of Dirty Harry to the world true, and with fervor.

It is a very enjoyable crime film that contains both thrilling scenes and also some stellar action sequences, it has a nice mix of both and neither feel overused.

Dirty harry is initially quiet entertaining work.

Whether it's the hard cop, psychologically-thrilling villain or unscrupulous police department, it's clear Scorpio is menacing San Francisco.

The pacing is excellent, with few scenes evoking any boredom in the viewer.

Academy Award-winner Clint Eastwood ("Unforgiven," "Million Dollar Baby") stars as "Dirty Harry" Callahan in this riveting action film that spawned several blockbuster sequels.

The character Dirty Harry, the protagonist in the film, is a very cliché character.

Coolest scenes: The scene at the stadium which has an intense and uncomfortable torture and ends with a great zoom out (via helicopter), the final face-off, and (of course) the first "Do ya feel lucky?

Factual error: When Harry finds the empty cartridge case atop the building, it's a .

He is portrayed by Andrew Robinson, and does a stunning job as acting as Dirty Harry's first nemesis in the film.

This was possibly not the first cinematic portrayal of a bleak, jaded man,whose morals are sometimes at odds with the law (even though he's the one who is supposed to enforce it), but it is surely the most compelling.

Sure, it's (arguably) based entirely on the idea that, though the American justice system is made to ensure that said justice is done, the bad guys punished and the good guys safe from them is ineffectual and can only be achieved by going beyond said law, making said justice system seem somewhat pointless...

The music is amazing, especially in its exciting percussion and its incorporating of background effects.

"Dirty Harry" seems languid and hollow by comparison.

He did not at all look like himself then, in fact he was surprisingly bland and uninteresting at that age.

who later gave birth to the influential media lobbying groups which turned Hollywood into a propaganda organ of the political right wing with such movies as "Missing in Action" and "Rambo II.

Solid, enjoyable, iconic - Dirty Harry .

Sure, it has a solid foundation and I do like the midpoint twist concerning the fate of the killer, but it is also a bit on the slow side and the runtime could be cut down quite significantly.

To be honest some of the racism and prejudice of Eastwood's character now dates the film badly, but this is still the classic cop film and just was enjoyable now as it was the first time you saw it.

Ultimately this was the Don Siegel-Clint Eastwood show that teamed up to bring a fast paced entertainment that looks as good today, as when it was shot.

For viewers who like crime genre films, and for those who like Clint Eastwood, this film probably will be worth watching.

Not perfect, not quite Oscar quality, but still, a combination of terrific acting by Eastwood, Robinson, and the supporting cast, use of cinematography and music (excellent by 70's standards), and a suspenseful story line make this a movie to remember.

By and large this film is a tremendously entertaining thriller and one with a lot on its mind.

But this one I found to to be boring.

one thing was i thought it was a bit slow in spots,not enough to make a huge difference in quality,just enough to notice.

It's intriguing throughout; the 'Scorpio' character is as creepy as it gets.

With eerie sound effects, this sequence is quite suspenseful.

It is a fun and riveting film with a climax that will have you on the edge of your seat.

I had forgotten what a cliché-riddled piece of garbage this movie really is.

There is a bit of one-on-one, cat-and-mouse intercourse between the cop and the crook, but unlike say Insomnia, Seven, or Eastwood's own In the Line of Fire, Scorpio is by no means a sophisticated mastermind.

The story is stupid--full of dubious logic (the cops let Scorpio walk even after they KNOW he's killed people) and boring characters.

To be honest, even for the time period it dragged and dragged.

Clint Eastwood plays "Dirty" Harry Callahan, sneering a lot and playing off the machismo dream (and how most men would love to walk through fire, talking tough in a gravelly monotone).

Take away the advertised scenes, and it was frankly dull.

This is an original cop-movie, and an enjoyable cult-actionmovie.

But Harry's back on his tail, and this time he won't just put him under simple arrest… The screenplay is quite rudimentary, but nevertheless highly compelling, slick and surprisingly realistic.

Dirty Harry really is a riveting cop movie UP until an hour into the movie.

The action scenes are pretty exciting but the movie has long, boring stretches (the sequence where Scorpio has Harry running all around San Fran goes on forever).

Thoroughly competent action and chase sequences, gripping and layered screenplay that enfolds with appealing characters and revealing concepts are the high points of the feature.

It's thrilling throughout and the upbeat tempo ensures there's never a dull moment.

The music is amazing, especially in its exciting percussion and its incorporating of background effects.

Siegel's next film, Charley Varrick is more entertaining.

It is a film worth watching if you like crime-thrillers with some action.

This film is entertaining if you don't mind a certain amount of violence.

Andrew Robinson plays the role of the psychopath to a tee; his character is intriguing and genuinely creepy.

It is a very thrilling piece that keeps the viewer on the edge of their seats.

Reactionary propaganda.

Overall this is a really good action movie, so I highly recommend it.

A much better approach is to just sit back, relax and enjoy a classic hard, sleazy and thrilling piece of 70's cinema.

And so ensues an exciting and violent game of cops and robbers.

The sleazy world that both Harry and Scorpio inhabit makes the viewer uneasy, and yet at the same time riveting in it's depiction.

So common is it to sit through an apparently soundly constructed, intriguing movie, only to be vastly disappointed by an incongruent or nonsensical ending, to ultimately cheapen or destroy the film.

This is among the most intense and exciting police thrillers I've seen and beats easily most of its imitators and miserable commercial efforts copying this original and incorruptible classic.

A Deserving, Thrilling Classic .

Extremely entertaining "Dirty Harry" is a very manipulative movie which leads us to cheer on a vigilante cop who's virtually breaking the law to bring in his murderer.

Empty barrels!

While not being particularly incredible, "Dirty Harry" is a solid, enjoyable and at times iconic picture.

A characteristically taut and tense piece of film-making from Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Shootist, Escape from Alcatraz), it also remains a fascinating slice of American pop culture.

Harry Callahan is both more openly scornful of the law, an equal opportunity bigot and, thanks to Eastwood's perfectly calibrated performance, more compelling an individual, than Siegel's earlier neo-vigilantes.

Eastwood is at his very best here in what is probably his most intense role ever.

"Dirty Harry" is an exciting cop thriller with plenty of action, sharp dialogue and a great deal of moral ambiguity.

That aside, I MUST say the guy who played the baddie was really completely 100% worth watching and FUNNY cos basically if acting sucks there's still salvageable bits (tho whoever it was that said the part he acted in the liquor store was good--yam you're completely right), ESPECIALLY his reaction to getting stabbed in the leg.

" The robber wisely surrenders but tries his luck again by asking Callahan is he had one round left or if the gun was empty.

This was the first of the always-entertaining "Dirty Harry" cop series and it was a good one - maybe the best of the series.

I'm a sucker for anything that's been filmed in San Francisco (always a picturesque backdrop)and Lalo Schifrin's music is so evocative of the era.

But at the same time the story is a gripping game of cat and mouse between cop and psycho killer that transcends the setting and time period.

The West Coast love-in scene and the gay 'boom', together with McQueen's "Bullitt", raised awareness of San Francisco as an exciting liberal city with a photogenic skyline.

Don Siegel's direction is terse and suspenseful.

Half of the crime movies made since copy it - the idea of the renegade tough guy cop with nothing to lose who's maybe just as crazy as the perps he's chasing simultaneously allows for great action scenes, intriguing characters and social commentary.

Well, he laughs believably once -- when he pulls the trigger on an empty chamber of the cannon he carries around and Albert Popwell, who would have been on the receiving end, quails in horror.

Whether he's snarling at the Mayor, egging on a jumper, or facing off against the Scorpio killer, Callahan is a fascinating treat to watch.

Fink, relates the gripping story with exceptionally tight and precise narrative economy, builds a considerable amount of gut-wrenching tension (the climax with Scorpio abducting a bus full of kids is especially strong and nerve-wracking), and stages the rousing action set pieces with tremendous expertise.


" This is his signature role for good reason - he's perfectly cast as Inspector Harry Callahan and the movie is both exciting and interesting and has a realistic feel to it.

Clint Eastwood gives such an intense portrayal of a cop over the edge that we, the audience, are as scared of him as a criminal should be.

In short the movie "Dirty Harry" was really a propaganda film for less laws and more power for those in power.

But the story was pretty engaging and had good action scenes.

The story is gripping and would make you think about the legal justice system,cause dirty harry is not hesitant to break a few laws to get the job done.

No part of this movie peaked my interest, from the throw away plot, to the flat acting, to the uninteresting cinematography.

Dirty Harry shies away from being a cliché crime movie as it displays a multidimensional killer; one that is knowledgeable and cunning--necessary qualities to deceive the whole public.

The mystery begins immediately when the Scorpio strikes at the beginning of the film, grasping the audience's attention and leading to one suspenseful scene after the other as Dirty Harry tries to track down Scorpio.

Clint Eastwood oozes badass charm as "Dirty" Harry Callahan, an unconventional, gritty police officer with an intense and personal hatred of crime and vice and a tendency towards disobedience of his superiors.

The movie leads up to a pretty exciting ending with the school bus hijacking, and Callahan's last statement of contempt for the system in which he works.

The movie makes evocative use of its San Francisco locations as cop Harry Callahan (Eastwood) tracks the elusive "Scorpio killer" who has been terrorizing the city by the Bay.

The action is non-stop, breathtaking at times.

Ignoring the red tape and restrictions of his department Harry goes on a single man crusade determined to free the girl Scorpio has captured and to deliver some well needed justice to Scorpio The intense burning desire placed in the viewer for law and order created so well actually wishes Harry would would just be done with it and shot Scorpio dead.

The key scene is the one in the football field, which culminates in one of the greatest shots ever done - a stunning helicopter pull-back of Harry grinding his heel in the killer's stab-wound to extract the information he wants, fading into a murky grey as the line between hero and villain is quite literally blurred.

Everything he does is predictable, which completely disarms him as a real threat.

Intriguing message sent with movie, which is pretty timeless.

Harry truly meets his match in the Killer; they are on a collision course that is so compelling because it is so believable.

Some segments, while enjoyable on their own, fail to contribute to the film as a whole.

This movie kept you on the edge of your sit right from the beginning.

Highly enjoyable - not to mention influential - police thriller .

It spawned four sequels and countless imitators, redefined a genre, brought in millions at the box office, and was both hailed as one of the best action movies in years and derided as fascist propaganda.

Very well acted and quite thrilling, Dirty Harry is a very enjoyable movie that I would recommend to anyone looking for a good crime film or thriller.

As an 'Inspector' he definitely appears to figure stuff out good in those streets like at one point he and partner 'maneuvers' through alleys and buildings like strategy to know where the badguy is to show up which is fascinating.

Without exaggeration, "Dirty Harry" is positively one of the most influential and incomparably entertaining films ever made and no one interested in cinema can afford to miss it.

Regardless, the film is still worth a watch and the random jokes scattered throughout make it very entertaining!

What I find most fascinating about the movie is what I see as essentially a right wing subtext.

Harry's gun is empty.

An unmistakable product of the early 70s, the film features some wild camera-work, Clint sports flowing hair, a snappy jacket and cool shades, and a groovy Lalo Schifrin score really adds to the atmosphere.

All in all a great movie I highly recommend it.

The ending is very well directed and is very gripping.

Limited as it is by a rudimentary plot and by-the-book characters, the film manages to be thoroughly enjoyable and easy to engage with.

Because what we have in this film are incredibly well written characters and a simple yet engrossing story.

Technically the film is well-done and packaged but it's slow, reactionary garbage that panders to the audiences worst instincts.

This movie is boring, cinematic trash.

The music is amazing, especially in its exciting percussion and its incorporating of background effects.

I'd rather they stick with the, possibly cliché, story of Dirty Harry hunting down Scorpio, rather than try to make the plot more complicated.

Clint at his most iconic in a still gripping cop thriller .

A Thrilling Crime Drama .

It may lack at points but it's certainly entertaining throughout.

More importantly, he fired four rounds from his revolver yet he's empty when he asks "Do you feel lucky?

Totally preposterous, cliché-riddled garbage .

Early in the movie, another detective says of the title character (played by Richard Widmark), "Madigan doesn't always go by the book, but he's a good cop," thereby spelling out the cliché referred to in the opening paragraph, which is inept, dramatically speaking.

Everything about this movie is well done and entertaining.

Sure, there are a few moments interspersed where we see that Harry is still a good cop who cares for the people of San Francisco, despite his harsh exterior, but the game Scorpio has Detective Callahan play (the most intense of which involves getting from one phone booth to another in a limited amount of time) ratchets up the intensity with each "move" they make.

But what really kills this film, is lack of pace (too slow), very bad cinematography (what does one expect in the 'sex n drugs n rock 'n roll 70's?

The movie is predictable and clichéd but the iconic performance of Eastwood makes it engaging and entertaining.

Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a good movie when it first came out over 45 years ago and it remains very entertaining even today.

This has to be the finest example of the "bad cop out on the edge" movie going.

But rather than just get its protagonist correct, Dirty Harry contains a string of impressive and entertaining themes and scenes that all work together to produce a good film.

An entertaining and amusing film , mounted for its maximum impact and with several scenes that'll have you on the edge of your seat

Easily the best film in the Dirty Harry series - the follow up suffered from very weak, 2 dimensional bad-guys and the progressively more boring sub-plot of Callaghan's continual clashing with his superiors.

The squinty eyed star is perfect in this action packed and sometimes disturbing hit.

Made by the veteran director in the same year as Hollywood-new wave young gun William Friedkin shot The French Connection, it's just as coolly authoritative and exciting.

A great, spacious sounding soundtrack by the legendary Lalo Schifrin is another one of those delightful technical details, which enhances the power of this already suspenseful movie.

Otherwise, "Dirty Harry", a character study of an unusual cop, is a highly suspenseful film that is well constructed.

Rule-breaking Callahan strides grimly throughout San Francisco in pursuit the murderous , including an exciting final on a school bus .

If you can handle the fact that it seems cliché NOW, after so many movies have followed in its footsteps, then go for it.

This movie might have been a breath of fresh air back in 1971 but today it's just a cliché factory.

Effective first installment in ¨Dirty Harry¨ series and followed by various sequels still gripping and stirring .

To top it all off Dirty Harry also has a very exciting finale with one of the best closing lines to a film that I've ever seen.

Robinson is scarily brilliant as the anything-goes killer who keeps evading justice until the thrilling climax in which he and Eastwood finally face off.

This is probably the most well known and finest of all Eastwood's performances, Robinson is also brilliant as the gibbering psycho, Siegel directs this film very stylishly to make all action scenes very exciting along with great use of the Golden Gate locations, a must-see crime thriller.

Politically incorrect but entertaining .

Non of it matters because Dirty Harry is such a compelling new character.

Bloody, nasty and quite enjoyable....

Gonzalez was just a bland and boring character.

As a film Dirty Harry has possibly lost a little of it's edge now because many subsequent similar films have been much more action packed and violent,the action scenes in this film are fairly quick and to the point-no extended shoot outs here.

The title character of "Dirty Harry," Inspector Harry Callahan, is a well-known cliché in the movies: a police detective who chafes under all the rules and regulations that get in the way of his catching criminals.

There is a fascinating example of how primitive criminal profiling was back in 1971.

Harry stumbles over a garbage can or two but even they are empty and appear steam cleaned.

It's barely held together by the search for the Scorpio killer, who is a boring antagonist and is in no way a match for Eastwood.

So the film certainly starts off slow.

Still enjoyable.

It looks like it's going to be a completely self-explanatory, ostensibly obvious and pretty painful watch with as predictable a development as the ending would be.

Lalo Schifrin's intriguing jazzy musical score completes the package, an exhilarating and entirely fitting concoction once again far ahead of its time.