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Dirty Harry (1971)

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



(screenplay), (screenplay) (as R.M. Fink) | 3 more credits »
2,973 ( 292)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Killer (as Andy Robinson)
Mae Mercer ...
Mrs. Russell
Lyn Edgington ...
William Paterson ...
Maurice Argent ...
Sid Kleinman (as Maurice S. Argent)


In the year 1971, San Francisco faces the terror of a maniac known as Scorpio- who snipes at innocent victims and demands ransom through notes left at the scene of the crime. Inspector Harry Callahan (known as Dirty Harry by his peers through his reputation handling of homicidal cases) is assigned to the case along with his newest partner Inspector Chico Gonzalez to track down Scorpio and stop him. Using humiliation and cat and mouse type of games against Callahan, Scorpio is put to the test with the cop with a dirty attitude. Written by commanderblue

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


do you feel lucky punk? See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 December 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead Right  »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$28,153,434, 31 December 1972
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?


Glenn Wright, Clint Eastwood's costume designer since Rawhide (1959), was responsible for creating Callahan's distinctive old-fashioned brown and yellow checked jacket to emphasize his strong values in pursuing crime. See more »


Near the end of the movie, Scorpio directs the mayor to provide an airplane for his escape at Santa Rosa airport. When he hijacks the bus, he directs the bus driver to exit the 101 northbound at Sir Francis Drake Blvd - which makes no sense, as Santa Rosa Airport is some 50 miles north of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. See more »


Liquor Store Owner: [noticing Scorpio's battered face] What the hell happened to you?
The Killer: My wife's brother. I hit her, so he hit me... several times.
See more »


Referenced in Kiss of the Tarantula (1976) See more »


Old MacDonald Had a Farm
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Something wild about Harry
29 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

Don Siegel's highly polished .44 magnum-opus, with Clint Eastwood as the daddy (or should that be mutha?) of all maverick cops. Given an A-picture budget by Warners, Siegel delivered a tremendously taut thriller, as provocatively amoral as anything he had done in his 20-year career of expert B-pics like The Killers.

Dirty Harry also gave Eastwood a definitive Hollywood identity after leaving spaghetti westerns behind. It may lack the humour of Siegel and Eastwood's first collaboration, Coogan's Bluff, but it packs a much more uneasy political punch.

Inspector Harry Callaghan is the taciturn, laconic spokesman of Nixon's Silent Majority, elevated to iconic status. His dialogue with criminals is delivered behind the barrel of a devastatingly phallic Magnum hand-gun. "Feel lucky, punk?" he taunts one wounded miscreant in a famous line he repeats at the end of the film.

There's just enough moral ambiguity about Harry in this film to escape it being an endorsement of vigilantism – but if it poses resonating questions about how a liberal society can be held hostage by those outside the law, it also contrives a worryingly two-dimensional picture of psycho-killer Scorpio (Andy Robinson) - and of Harry, himself – with which to frame those questions.

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. Siegel uses Bruce Surtees' always serviceable photography of San Francisco locations with flair (years before, he had shot the low-budget but excellent The Line-Up there). The swooping helicopter shot out of the baseball stadium, as if to rush the audience away (either as witnesses or as voyeurs) as Eastwood presses his foot on Scorpio's wounded leg, shows Siegel's smooth mastery of the medium.

Siegel made the insouciant Charley Varrick with Walter Matthau next, after which his career went into slow decline.

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