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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 »
2,799 ( 7)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Killer (as Andy Robinson)
John Mitchum ...
Mae Mercer ...
Mrs. Russell
Lyn Edgington ...
Bus Driver
William Paterson ...
Liquor Proprietor
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


Detective Harry Callahan. He doesn't break murder cases. He smashes them. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

23 December 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead Right  »

Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Uncredited screenwriter John Milius wrote his draft of the film inspired by Akira Kurosawa's studies in lone-gun detectives, while director Don Siegel tackled the material from the viewpoint of bigotry. See more »


Some considerable time after the first shooting, the police have arrived and Callaghan has climbed up to the roof from where the shooting took place. Yet when he looks down to the rooftop swimming pool, the blood in the pool is still only in one small area, instead of having been dispersed in the water. See more »


Harry Callahan: You from around here?
Gonzales: Yeah, but I went to school at San Jose State.
Harry Callahan: You play ball?
Gonzales: Uh, no, I boxed. Light heavyweight.
Harry Callahan: Just what I need, it's a college boy.
Gonzales: You haven't found one thing you like about me?
Harry Callahan: Well, it's early yet. Get your degree?
Gonzales: Sociology.
Harry Callahan: Sociology? Oh, you'll go far. That's if you live.
See more »


Spoofed in Joe Somebody (2001) See more »


Old MacDonald Had a Farm
Written by Traditional
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Eastwood And Siegel: A Masterpiece
24 May 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Spoilers Ahead:

From the first scene, Eastwood dominates the movie and carves out Harry chewing up the scenery, kicking butts and taking names. The mayor, played by John Vernon, who usually dominates in his roles, watch ANIMAL HOUSE, does not have a chance against Eastwood. What are you doing, well for the last three quarters of an hour I have been sitting on my ass waiting on you. This is Dirty Harry; he takes crap from nobody. The counterculture's only cop hero and he quits in the end. They would have fired him anyway. This is the best of the series; the rest are crap next to this one. It features the best villain SCORPIO played by Andrew Robinson and nobody did crazy, with the exception of Bruce Dern, like Andy. You will love hating him; you will look forward to seeing him get what he so richly deserves. Kids, women Andy doesn't mind torturing and killing anybody. His dialogue is so well written, no don't pass out on me yet you rotten oinker!!!

The most famous scene, where Harry foils a bank robbery, while chomping on a hot dog, is drop dead funny. "seeing this is a 44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off…" Please, enough said, watch the movie. This film is non stop action with great comedy thrown in to lighten the grim story. The scene with the jumper on top of the roof; well, Harry is probably the world's worst social worker. It is also one of the funniest scenes in his films. Harry within the 'get the man' COOL HAND Luke era is a rebel like the hippies in the theater. The establishment does not work it is broken; Harry goes outside the rules like Luke. He has nothing but contempt for officialdom with a babbling idiot DA, played by Josef Sommer, prattling on about the rights of raving, murderous psychos.

This fits so well with COOL HAND Luke, the counterculture hero fighting the rules 'get the man' Harry is the same. This is why it shot Eastwood to the moon; the perfect role at just the right moment of American History. The hippies fighting the 'man' all piled into the cinemas a rebel cop showing us how the 'man's system' was broken. At the end, Harry looks at his badge contemptuously and flings it away. Want to know how Eastwood became an Icon? Watch this Movie!!!

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