Clint Eastwood. There is no greater living legend still working in Hollywood and his latest film, The Mule, is an incredibly moving piece of cinema that tells one hell of an outlaw story.
In a career that has spanned more than 50 years, Eastwood has become the go-to-guy for hard charging outlaws and so with the impending release of The Mule, on January 24, we are running down our list of five films you need to see before you watch it:
A Fistful Of Dollars – 1964
For the Eastwood legend this was where it all began as he rode in on a mule, dressed in his trademark poncho and cowboy hat, cigar gripped between his teeth, six shooter at his side, determined to raise hell. Directed by cinematic legend Sergio Leone, A Fistful of Dollars was the first part of the legendary Dollars Trilogy and introduced cinema audiences to Eastwood’s own take on the anti-hero character, and created with it a cinema icon. As the man of few words named Joe, Eastwood was quick on the draw and played off two warring gangs for his own profit. The Coffin Scene is still one of the coolest scenes ever filmed and if you want to know where it all began for Eastwood then A Fistful of Dollars needs to be on your list.
Dirty Harry – 1971
If you wanted justice then Detective Harry Callahan was the man to give it to you. He might have been wearing a badge, but this lawmen certainly didn’t play by the book as he tore across San Francisco in a desperate bid to stop a dangerous serial killer’s killing spree. Armed with his trademark .357 Magnum, Eastwood would deliver one of cinema’s greatest ever monologues in a tense standoff and which ended the film with a bang. He sure might have had his own way of doing things, but when things got bad and you needed someone to get the job done you could count on Dirty Harry.
Every Which Way but Loose – 1978
Eastwood has made a career playing dependable outlaws, and as his career continued he looked to shake things up and this led him to the delightful
Every Which Way but Loose. While the film might not have carried a heavy body count, it did show Eastwood as the ever dependable big rig trucker turned bare knuckle prize fighter Philo Beddoe who along with his pet orangutan Clyde was determined to stand-up for the little guy. Boasting a chiselled wiry physique and two personal hand cannons in the form of his fists, Eastwood took out a bunch of nefarious types with-in the ring while chasing love at the same time in his own distinctive outlaw style.
In the Line of Fire – 1993
As the decades wore on Eastwood certainly never stopped working and this hard-charging graft led him to take on the role of burned out Secret Service operative Frank Horrigan in this high-stakes adrenaline rush. In the Line of Fire was a different change of pace for Eastwood, but it certainly delivered on the thrills. Here the legendary actor played cat and mouse with a dangerous psycho (John Malkovich) and the ending definitely had me on edge. It’s a nail-biting watch from beginning to end and is a great example of Eastwood’s outlaw heroism come full circle.
Gran Torino – 2008
As the decades rolled forward Eastwood continued to act and direct, earning acclaim for both, and his 2008 feature Gran Torino was a very emotional watch. As the bigoted Korean War veteran and widower Walt Kowalski, Eastwood portrayed a grumpy old-man who the world had seemingly forgot until his new immigrant neighbours, who he initially despised, came to see him as a hero after he unintentionally saved one of their own. While Gran Torino is an incredibly sad watch, its moving narrative wraps you up in its heavy emotions and is once again another example of a master filmmaker at work, and Eastwood’s trademark outlaw cool was still present in every frame.
The Mule will be released in cinemas on January 24.