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Dirty Harry (1971)

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.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) (as R.M. Fink) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

do you feel lucky punk? See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 December 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead Right  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The opening sniper scenes were shot from atop San Francisco's Bank of America Building located at 555 California Street. The sniper's target is a girl swimming in the pool on the roof of the then Holiday Inn Chinatown, located at 750 Kearny Street, and since about 1995, renamed Hilton San Francisco Financial District. 750 Kearny Street is located on a straight line five blocks north (about 1600-1700 feet) of BoA Tower. Since the BoA Tower is considerably taller than the hotel, the vantage point is looking down at the rooftop pool at the hotel, and would be a relatively easy shot for a trained marksman. Since the Hilton takeover of the hotel, the pool is no longer open/operable. See more »

Goofs

The Washington Square sniping scene takes place during the daytime, but the subsequent chase takes place at night. See more »

Quotes

The Killer: Drop the gun, freeze! I'll blow his brains out! DROP THE FUCKING GUN!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Smallville: Vengeance (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Row, Row, Row Your Boat
(uncredited)
Written by Traditional
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of "The" films of the 1970s
27 April 2005 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

Don Siegel's "Dirty Harry" was arguably the start of the serial killer/cop genre inherent in so many mainstream American movies released today. Setting the stage for countless rip-offs and sequels, "Dirty Harry" was one of the true first of its kind--not only in regards to its genre influence but also in terms of its content. (Full frontal nudity, heavy vigilante-style violence and strong language.) It is, in fact, one of the quintessential 1970s films--capturing the very essence of the typical gritty '70s film style we're all familiar with. If "Midnight Cowboy" began the trend, "Dirty Harry" extends it.

Clint Eastwood delivers one of his finest performances as the titular "Dirty" Harry Callahan. He's got just the right amount of cocky cynacism and inset sense of self-justice and importance to make the character realistic and likable, despite his flaws.

The plot almost seems routine now, but back in '71 it was controversial stuff: Harry is a tough cop trying to track down a mad serial killer in San Francisco, who is murdering victims in an effort to receive ransom money. When he kidnaps a young girl, Harry makes it his mission to disobey direct orders and take on the killer by himself.

It's easy to point at this now and say, "I've seen this already." In many cases film classics can only be graded well for nostalgic purposes, because their imitators have improved upon the original material.

Not here. The original really does still remain (one of) the best.

Siegel would later follow up "Dirty Harry" with another examination of criminals and cops, and would also team up again with Clint Eastwood. This is probably his best film, which is saying a lot. Its reputation precedes it, but in this case, the strength of the film itself really is deserving of its popularity. The final speech is awesome stuff.


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