Dirty Harry
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FAQ Contents


The following FAQ entries contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Dirty Harry can be found here.

There are 5: (1) Dirty Harry (1971), (2) Magnum Force (1973), (3) The Enforcer (1976), (4) Sudden Impact (1983), and (5) The Dead Pool (1988).

Opening shot: The memorial to police officers killed in the line of duty seen in the opening shot of the film is located in the San Francisco Hall of Justice, located at 850 Bryant Street. Today, this building continues to serve as the SFPD's base of operations as well as the San Francisco County Superior Court.

Sniping position: In the opening scene, Scorpio (Andrew Robinson) is shooting from the roof of the Bank of America Center, located at 555 California Street. Today, 555 California Street is no longer owned by the Bank of America, but by the Vornado Realty Trust.

Sniping victim: Scorpio's victim (Diana Davidson) is swimming on the roof of the Holiday Inn Select Downtown and Spa, located at 750 Kearny Street, two blocks away from 555 California Avenue. Today, 750 Kearny Street is owned by Hilton Hotels, and known as The Hilton San Francisco Financial District Hotel.

City Hall: Both the interior and the exterior of San Francisco City Hall, located at 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, are seen several times in the film. For example, after Scorpio has kidnapped the children, the film fades to an exterior shot of the building. Earlier in the movie, Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) is approaching the main door of the building when he sees Lt. Bressler (Harry Guardino) on the balcony. Harry enters the building, passes through the rotunda, and meets Bressler on the main stairway. Additionally, all of the scenes in the Mayor's (John Vernon) office were filmed over a three day weekend in the real office of Mayor Joseph Alioto. Today, San Francisco City Hall continues to serve as the city's Mayoral offices.

Police interiors: All interiors in the police station were shot in the PG&E building at 77 Beale Street. Today, the building is still owned by Pacific Gas and Electric.

Second sniping: Scorpio's aborted second sniping attack was shot overlooking Saints Peter and Paul Church, located at 666 Filbert Street. The church is still in use today. The building on which Scorpio takes position is the Dante Building, 1606 Stockton Street. Between the Dante Building and the Church is Washington Square Park.

Suicide jumper: The scene where Harry saves the suicide jumper (Bill Couch) was shot at California Hall, 625 Polk Street. In 1971, California Hall was primarily used as a live music venue. Today, it is the second campus of the California Culinary Academy.

Ransom run begins: Scorpio first speaks to Harry and gives him instructions for the subsequent ransom run at the East Harbor of Marina Green.

Run continues: Harry next enters the Forest Hill Station on Laguna Honda Boulevard, where he boards a train.

Next stop: Harry gets off the train at the corner of Church and 20th Streets, near Dolores Park, located in the Mission District. He runs across 20th Street to the phone booth on the corner of the park and Church & 20th.

Harry enters tunnel: After speaking to Scorpio again, Harry enters the Fort Mason Tunnel at Laguna Street and Marina Boulevard. He then emerges at the hamburger stand located on Van Ness Avenue, in the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Today, the Fort Mason Tunnel is closed off, although there are plans to reopen it.

Harry enters park: Harry next enters Mount Davidson Park at Lansdale Avenue and Dalewood Way. The fight between Scorpio and Harry then takes place at Mount Davidson Cross above Portola Drive.

Harry shoots Scorpio: Harry shoots Scorpio in Kezar Stadium, 755 Stanyan Street. The scene was shot shortly after the 49ers' last game there. In 1989, the stadium was demolished and rebuilt with a smaller capacity.

Dead girl: The body of Ann Mary Deacon (Debralee Scott) is found off Conzelman Road, located in the Marin Headlands.

Harry watches Scorpio: The scene where Scorpio watches children playing in a small park, whilst Harry is closely monitoring him was shot at Portsmouth Square in Chinatown.

Harry follows Scorpio at night: Scorpio heads to a strip-club called the Roaring 20s, which is found at 552 Broadway Street, North Beach. The Roaring 20s is still in business today.

Liquor store: The liquor store where Scorpio gets a gun was located at 148 The Embarcadero. Today, the building is the Hotel Griffon, and the liquor store is a Perry's restaurant.

School bus: Scorpio boards the school bus at 15th Avenue and Noriega, Golden Gate Heights, Marin County.

Harry boards bus: Harry is waiting for Scorpio on the train tracks going over Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Marin County. The tracks were taken down in 2003, although the trellises remain.

Finale: The closing scenes of the film were shot in a quarry called Larkspur Landing Circle, located on Old Quarry Road, Marin County. Today, the quarry is a shopping centre.

See this site for more information on the locations used in the making of the film, including stills from the film and photographs of the locations from the present day.

No. He fires six, but one of the shots is heard only, it is not seen. Here is the complete list of shots as they occur:

Shot 1: Hits the first bank robber (Albert Popwell) as he emerges from the bank

Shot 2: Fires at the second bank robber (in black leather jacket) as he runs to the getaway car. This shot misses.

Shot 3: Fires at the car itself as the robbers speed off. This shot cannot be seen, as we are inside the car when Harry shoots. However, if one listens carefully, the unmistakable sound of his .44 Magnum can clearly be heard on the soundtrack (the gun sound effect is substantially different to the sound effects of the robbers' guns). This shot also seems to miss.

Shot 4: Hits the windshield of the getaway car, also hitting the driver.

Shot 5: Again hits the windshield and the driver as the car crashes.

Shot 6: Hits the robber in the leather jacket and sends him crashing through the shop window.

When Harry confronts Scorpio he knows whether there is either a live or expended round in the chamber when he gives his 'Do you feel lucky?' speech because he cocks the hammer on his 44 Magnum, allowing him to see whether or not the rear of the bullet has already been struck.

The ranking system in the SFPD is the same as in most other major PDs, with the term "Inspector" simply replacing the better known term "Detective".

When Dirty Harry is moving through Mount Davidson Park towards the Cross, he encounters a young man (David Gillum) who says he is called Alice. Most fans interpret this scene as suggesting that Alice is a male prostitute who has mistaken Harry for a john. His comment, "If you're vice, I'll kill myself," seems to confirm this, whilst his comment "I'll take a dare," seems to suggest he is open to sexual experimentation.

When Scorpio is initially arrested in the film, there is a wealth of evidence against him. The leg wound proves that he is indeed Scorpio, as it matches the leg wound which Harry inflicted at Mount Davidson Cross a few hours prior to his apprehension. As such, he could also be charged with assaulting a police officer, attempted murder and embezzlement. Additionally, the sniping rifle he used to shoot the swimmer and the young boy is captured, and, as Harry points out, ballistics would be able to match the gun to the bullets which killed them. Basically, there is plenty of evidence to prove beyond all doubt that the man in police custody is indeed Scorpio. However, despite all of this plain evidence condemning him, Scorpio is released by the police. Why? Basically, because of procedural negligence on Harry's part.

Important in understanding exactly what is going on here is the scene immediately after the body of Ann Mary Deacon is found. Harry is in District Attorney William T. Rothko's (Josef Sommer) office and is told by Rothko, "you're lucky I'm not indicting you for assault with intent to commit murder. Where the hell does it say you've got a right to kick down doors, torture suspects, deny medical attention and legal council? 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." An unrepentant Harry responds to this by saying, "Well, I'm all broken up about that man's rights." Rothko then retorts "You should be. I've got news for you Callahan; as soon as he's well enough to leave the hospital, he walks." A stunned Harry asks "You're letting him go?", to which Rothko responds "We have to, we can't try him [...] I'm not wasting half a million dollars of the tax payers' money on a trial we can't win. The problem is, we don't have any evidence." Indicating Scorpio's rifle, Harry asks "What the hell do you call that?" to which Rothko answers, "I call it nothing, zero [...] This rifle might make a nice souvenir, but it's inadmissible as evidence." Harry demands, "Who says that?" and Rothko tells him "It's the law." Rothko then introduces Judge Bannerman (William Paterson), who tells Harry "In my opinion, the search of the suspect's quarters was illegal. Evidence obtained thereby, such as that hunting rifle for instance, is inadmissible in court. You should have gotten a search warrant [...] The court would have to recognize the police officer's legitimate concern for the girl's life, but there is no way they can possibly condone police torture. All evidence concerning the girl, the suspect's confession, all physical evidence would have to be excluded [...] Without the evidence of the gun and the girl, I couldn't convict him of spitting on the sidewalk. The suspect's rights were violated under the fourth and fifth and probably the sixth and fourteenth amendment." Harry then bitterly asks "And Ann Mary Deacon, what about her rights? She's raped and left in a hole to die, who speaks for her?"

As Richard Schickel points out on his DVD commentary, this scene is vital to understanding the political ethos of the film; specifically, the issue of the rights of victims versus the rights of the accused. To fully understand this, some of Rothko's references need to be explained in more detail, specifically his references to Escobedo and Miranda. Escobedo refers to the 1964 court case Escobedo v. Illinois. This case involved Danny Escobedo's involvement in the murder of his brother, Manuel, on January 19, 1960. On January 30, the police obtained a witness who said that he had seen Escobedo's involvement in the crime, so the police arrested Escobedo, and began to interrogate him. During the interrogation, Escobedo asked to speak to an attorney, but when the attorney arrived at the police station, he was refused access to Escobedo until after the interrogation was over. Ultimately, Escobedo implicated himself as an accessory in the murder, and was convicted for aiding and abetting. Escobedo appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, which initially held the confession inadmissible and reversed the conviction. Illinois petitioned for a rehearing and the court then approved the original conviction. Escobedo then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned Escobedo's conviction and recognized a suspect's right to an attorney during police interrogation. In 1963, the case of Gideon v. Wainwright had determined that a suspect had a right to an attorney after indictment, but the result of the Escobedo v. Illinois case gave a suspect the right to an attorney prior to indictment as well. With this in mind then, Scorpio's confession to the murder was elicited from him without the presence of an attorney, and as such, was inadmissible in court, as it violated his rights.

The other case to which Rothko refers is the 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona. In March 1963, Ernesto Arturo Miranda was arrested for robbery. During his interrogation, he confessed to raping an 18 year old woman. During the trial, the prosecution offered as evidence both Miranda's confession and the victim's positive identification of Miranda. He was found guilty and convicted of rape and kidnapping, and sentenced to 20 to 30 years imprisonment on each charge, with sentences to run concurrently. After the conviction, Miranda's attorney, John J. Flynn, appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court, where Chief Justice Earl Warren ruled that no confession could be admissible under the Fifth Amendment self-incrimination clause and Sixth Amendment right to an attorney unless a suspect had been made aware of his rights (right to an attorney, right to remain silent etc) and had specifically waived them. Miranda had not been informed of his rights, and as such, the conviction was overturned. Miranda was retried, and this time the prosecution did not use the confession. Instead, they relied on witnesses and other physical evidence. Miranda was again convicted in 1967 and again sentenced to 20 to 30 years. Following the Miranda decision, all police departments were required to inform suspects of their rights under the new ruling. Again, as with the Escobedo case, Harry Callahan does not follow the rules laid down by the Miranda case. He never informs Scorpio of his rights prior to Scorpio's confession, and as such, his confession is inadmissible.

With all of this in mind then, Harry makes four mistakes, which combine to ensure Scorpio can go free; he illegally searches Kezar Stadium (i.e., he does not obtain a search warrant), he interrogates Scorpio without the presence of an attorney, he does not inform Scorpio of his rights prior to that interrogation, and he tortures a confession out of Scorpio (by standing on his wounded leg).

In 1971, the Escobedo and Miranda decisions were still extremely hotly debated issues. Miranda in particular had generated a great deal of criticism, with many (including President Richard Nixon) feeling it was unfair to inform suspects of their rights, as it was essentially an invitation for them to purposely frustrate interrogation. Many felt that the Escobedo and Miranda decisions were essentially offering protection for the accused, and that police could find themselves unable to take immediate action, even when faced with incontrovertible evidence, lest the entire case be invalidated in court.

As such, the political debates at the time were almost entirely focused on the rights of the accused, and the film poses an extreme example of how the legal system could be so concerned with these rights (rather than the rights of the victim), that it could allow a known killer to walk free; Scorpio is protected by the very legal sanctions which were set up to protect the victims. As he says above, Harry is more concerned with the rights of Ann Mary Deacon than with the rights of Scorpio, and in this sense, his line "Well, I'm all broken up about that man's rights" is paramount. Clint Eastwood has always maintained that the main reason he did the film was because he felt that in all the discussions concerning the rights of the accused, the rights of the victim had been forgotten about, and he felt the film went some way to return those rights to the public eye. No scene is more important in this sense than the scene between Harry, Rothko and Bannerman. All three know that the man Harry arrested is a serial killer, and there is ample evidence to support it, but because Harry did not abide by the decisions of the Escobedo and Miranda cases, Scorpio's obvious guilt becomes irrelevant, and he is allowed to walk free.

As such, many interpret the film as a manifestation of the frustration which was felt due to the recently established laws which seemed to make it easier for criminals to get away with criminal behavior and harder for police forces to convict them. The film shows the world from Harry's perspective, and it explicitly deals with his frustration in his attempts to dispense justice only to be rendered impotent by the red tape of the system he is sworn to uphold; technicalities getting in the way of what most people would consider justice. He is frustrated with a system that can overlook the victim due to the attention it is paying to the accused (this is why he throws his badge away at the end). The fact that Scorpio can walk free despite everyone knowing he is a killer is an illustration of how the system can actually hinder the police and aid the criminal.

Interestingly however, on his DVD commentary, film critic and Clint Eastwood biographer Richard Schickel questions whether the release of Scorpio is really accurate or not, hypothesizing that the film's depiction of the police letting him go without any surveillance whatsoever despite the ample evident isn't entirely realistic, and despite Harry's breaking numerous laws and ignoring several of Scorpio's right, no police force in the world would release such a man on his own recognizance.

Yes, Michael Mann is a huge fan of the film, and has included several homages to it in his work over the years. Perhaps the most obvious reference is to be found in the Starsky and Hutch episode 'The Psychic', which Mann wrote. A major part of the plot of this episode involves Hutch racing from phone booth to phone booth as per the instructions of a kidnapper who holds a young girl's life in the balance. Another direct homage is found in Heat. As Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) arrives at the murder scene of a young prostitute, he encounters the dead girl's mother (Hazelle Goodman). This is very similar to a scene in Dirty Harry, where as Harry arrives at the scene of the murder of a young boy, he too encounters the victim's mother (Mae Mercer).

Both the R1 US Two-Disc Special Edition DVD, released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in 2008 and the R2 UK Two-Disc Special Edition DVD, released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (UK) in 2008 contain the following special features:

Feature length audio commentary with film historian and Clint Eastwood biographer Richard Schickel

'Dirty Harry's Way'; a 7 minute promotional featurette for the film, made in 1971

'Dirty Harry: The Original'; a 30 minute featurette made in 2001 looking at the making of the Dirty Harry series

Interview Gallery; featuring interviews with Patricia Clarkson, Joel Cox, Clint Eastwood, Hal Holbrook, Evan C. Kim, John Milius, Ted Post, Andrew Robinson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert Urich.

Trailer Gallery; featuring theatrical trailers for all 5 Dirty Harry films

'The Long Shadow of Dirty Harry'; a 26 minute featurette made exclusively for the 2008 DVD, which examines the lasting influence of the film

'Biography: Clint Eastwood: The Man from Malpaso'; a 56 minute TV documentary made in 1993, which offers an overview of Eastwood's career

NOTE: There are multiple DVD versions of this film available. See here for more details.

Yes it is. It is available as both a stand-alone release and in a Dirty Harry boxset. The stand-alone US edition and UK edition both include all of the DVD extras plus a HD documentary called Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows. As for the box sets, the US Dirty Harry Ultimate Collector's Edition contains the same special features as the stand-alone release, plus a 42 page Dirty Harry series retrospective booklet, a replica Harry Callahan wallet, a map detailing Harry's hunt for the killer, six collectible art cards, and a series of production letters. The version in the UK Dirty Harry Collection is a bare bones release, with no special features whatsoever, and contains none of the collectibles from the US set.

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