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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.


Don Siegel


Harry Julian Fink (screenplay), Rita M. Fink (screenplay) (as R.M. Fink) | 3 more credits »
3,833 ( 143)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Clint Eastwood ... Harry
Harry Guardino ... Bressler
Reni Santoni ... Chico
John Vernon ... The Mayor
Andrew Robinson ... Killer (as Andy Robinson)
John Larch ... Chief
John Mitchum ... De Giorgio
Mae Mercer Mae Mercer ... Mrs. Russell
Lyn Edgington Lyn Edgington ... Norma
Ruth Kobart ... Bus Driver
Woodrow Parfrey ... Mr. Jaffe
Josef Sommer ... Rothko
William Paterson William Paterson ... Bannerman
James Nolan ... Liquor Proprietor
Maurice Argent 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


Clint Eastwood is "Dirty Harry." And boy, does he get all the dirty jobs. See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

23 December 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dead Right See more »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$28,153,434, 31 December 1972
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Malpaso Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The Scorpio killer's rifle is a 7.7 Arisaka Type 2 Paratrooper Takedown rifle fitted with a Hiram and Maxim suppressor, chambered in .30-06. See more »


The District Attorney tells Harry that his search of Scorpio's dwelling was illegal and violated the Fourth Amendment, making all evidence inadmissible. Harry's search is entirely legal under Exigent Circumstances, as someone's life was in imminent danger. Additionally, Scorpio is stated to be living in Kezar Stadium under the consent of the grounds-keeper. However, the grounds-keeper, in all likelihood, does not have the legal standing to grant that kind of permission, making Scorpio a squatter and thus not protected by the Fourth Amendment. See more »


Harry Callahan: There must be something you can get him on.
Judge Bannerman: Without the evidence of the gun and the girl, I couldn't convict him of spitting on the sidewalk.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, the word "Dirty" in the title is in brown as opposed to the rest of the credits' yellow. See more »

Alternate Versions

The 5.1 remix on all DVD and Blu-ray releases replace a number of the original gun sound effects along with other sound effects that differ from the original mono version. See more »


Referenced in R.I.P.D. (2013) See more »


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Written by Traditional
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Harry Callahan's first entry in which is sent to chase vicious series murderer killing and kidnapping children
25 July 2011 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Effective first installment in ¨Dirty Harry¨ series and followed by various sequels still gripping and stirring . The film starts with a prologue : ¨In tribute to San Francisco Police officers who gave their lives in the line of duty¨ . Iconoclast Harry Callahan(Eastwood) attempts to detain vicious killers who are robbing a bank , he takes on criminals determined to bring them to justice, even if he has to break some rules . This time has a young partner who is assigned when his ordinary pal is wounded . The rock-hard inspector is accompanied by a Mexican cop (Reni Santoni) and they track down a nasty series killer (Andrew Robinson) .The psychotic murderer is detained but is freed on legal technicalities and Harry takes the law into his own hands. Harry wielding a revolver Magnum 44 ( in fact, as is titled the second entry, Magnum force) returns his unorthodox means ; facing off ominous murderous that is threatening the city of San Francisco. Harry in troubles as habitual with his chiefs (Harry Guardino , John Larch) and the District Prosecutor (Josef Sommer) because his methods lead abuse the criminal's civil rights and a pile of death in clod blood along his wake. Harry pursues the revenge-obsessed murderer and encounters he has more problems with him than he expected. Rule-breaking Callahan strides grimly throughout San Francisco in pursuit the murderous , including an exciting final on a school bus . Whatever your reservations about Harry's expeditious methods we know he'll always vanquish , shooting in cold blood with his pistol .

Formula thriller plenty of action , crisply edition , tension, suspenseful and lots of violence . Clint Eastwood's good performance as two-fisted Harry Callahan , the tall and taciturn inspector who utilizing his Magnum 44 pistol kills baddies and , as always , he says some original phrases . Well written by Harry and Rita Fink ; it packs intrigue , violence, action-filled and is a really effective film . It turns out to be interesting and plenty of vivid action , suspense and thrills. Good secondary cast gives effective performance as John Larch , Harry Guardino , Josef Sommer as the prosecutor and John Vernon as the Mayor. Good use of locations filmed in Panavision and Technicolor , by cameraman Bruce Surtees , son of prestigious photographer Robert Surtees , reflecting splendidly the streets of San Francisco , ordinary scenario of the series . Adequate and atmospheric musical score by usual Lalo Schifrin , including a classic jazzy leitmotif . Taut and expert direction by Don Siegel who formerly directed him in ¨Coogan's bluff¨ and subsequently in ¨Escape from Alcatraz¨ and well financed by the usual, Robert Daley as executive producer from Malpaso Company . Followed by ¨Magnum Force¨ by Ted Post with Robert Urich and David Soul , ¨The enforcer¨ 1976, by James Fargo with Tyne Daly, Harry Guardino, ¨Sudden impact¨1983, Eastwood with Sandra Locke , Pat Ingle and ¨Dead pool¨ 1988, by Buddy Van Horn with Liam Neeson and Jim Carrey . This formula thriller will appeal to Harry Callahan series enthusiasts , because of the tension, unstopped action , exciting edition , chills abound in this original entry . Well worth seeing for Clint Eastwood fans and it's a cool companion for the action genre followers . An entertaining and amusing film , mounted for its maximum impact and with several scenes that'll have you on the edge of your seat

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