A hard but mediocre cop is assigned to escort a prostitute into custody from Las Vegas to Phoenix, so that she can testify in a mob trial. But a lot of people are literally betting that they won't make it into town alive.
Alcatraz is the most secure prison of its time. It is believed that no one can ever escape from it, until three daring men make a possible successful attempt at escaping from one of the most infamous prisons in the world.
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
In the opening scene, the camera pans over Market Street, and a bulldozer can be seen driving up Powell Street. This was due to the construction of the Powell Street BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station. Construction continued all through the film's shooting. See more »
Harry Callahan is referred to several times as Inspector 71 but when we see his badge at the end of the film it clearly says Inspector 2211. However, many police departments have set radio IDs for certain positions (e.g. Homicide detectives), and these have nothing to do with the badge number of the person filling that role. See more »
[Harry is getting a dressing-down for his most recent arrest]
District Attorney Rothko:
You're lucky I'm not indicting you for assault with intent to commit murder.
District Attorney Rothko:
Where the hell does it say that you've got a right to kick down doors, torture suspects, deny medical attention and legal counsel? Where have you been? Does Escobedo ring a bell? Miranda? I mean, you must have heard of the Fourth Amendment. What I'm saying is that man had rights.
Well, I'm all broken up about that man's rights.
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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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