Celebrated actor, producer and director Clint Eastwood becomes the 24th recipient of the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award. Co-hosted by Jim Carey and Rene Russo, this special features many highlights from Clint's life and film career. Seated with his mother, his wife, his son Kyle and his daughter Alison, Eastwood is honored with tributes by his friends and colleagues including Steven Spielberg, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and Quentin Tarentino and features clips from his films including "A Fistful of Dollars", "For a Few Dollars More", "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", "Play Misty for Me", "Dirty Harry", "Magnum Force", "The Enforcer", "The Outlaw Josey Wales", "Every Which Way But Loose", "Bird", "Unforgiven" and "The Bridges of Madison County". Written by
"The American Film Institute Salute to Clint Eastwood," as it aired on ABC-TV in May 1996, is a very entertaining hour hosted by a respectful, if still hilarious, Jim Carrey whose best moment is probably his imitation of Frank Sinatra as a singing Dirty Harry. When a wrist injury forced Ol' Blue Eyes off the project, Eastwood, Carrey said, axed Sinatra's songs, not wishing to repeat the debacle of "Paint Your Wagon." Don Rickles, Eastwood's co-star in "Kelly's Heroes," was hilarious describing the guest of honor as a man who likes "to sit on the back of his pickup truck and watch his dog bark." Dylan McDermott, Forest Whitaker, co-host Rene Russo, and Steven Spielberg also offered testimonials in between clips from "A Fistful of Dollars," "Dirty Harry," "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot," "Bird," "In the Line of Fire," "Unforgiven," "The Bridges of Madison County," and even TV's "Rawhide." Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, Pierce Brosnan, Ed Harris, Quentin Tarentino, Nicolas Cage, Faye Dunaway, Donald Sutherland, Kevin Spacey, and Quincy Jones were all in attendance, but where, I wondered, was Meryl Streep (from "Bridges"), Kevin Costner (from "A Perfect World"), and the co-stars of "Unforgiven"? Eastwood makes his entrance to the accompaniment of Ennio Morricone's "The Ecstasy of Gold" (from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly") and gives a very modest, appreciative acceptance speech that proves what I have long suspected: he's not only a cinema giant, but one of the film world's most decent men. A longer (2 hour) version of this tribute later played on the Arts and Entertainment channel, and was superior to the edited commercial broadcast. The highlight of the entire evening (cut out of the ABC version) can be found there: Donald Sutherland reminiscing about the ordeal of filming "Kelly's Heroes" in Yugoslavia, and of Eastwood's making it so much easier than it would have otherwise been.
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