Dirty Harry | Rotten Tomatoes (2024)

89% Tomatometer 55 Reviews 90% Audience Score 50,000+ Ratings Cop Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) attempts to track down a psychopathic rooftop killer before a kidnapped girl dies. When he is found Harry abuses the murderer's civil rights putting him back on the streets. Once he is released he hijacks a school bus and Harry must go after him again. The only way to stop this vicious killer is in cold blood. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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Dirty Harry

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Critics Consensus

As tough and taciturn as its no-nonsense hero, Dirty Harry delivers a deceptively layered message without sacrificing an ounce of its solid action impact.

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Critics Reviews

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Dirty Harry | Rotten Tomatoes (1) Edward Porter Times (UK) Its star’s growling charisma demands to be enjoyed. Aug 22, 2022 Full Review Dirty Harry | Rotten Tomatoes (2) Derek Malcolm Guardian Siegel shouldn't have had to shout so much to make himself heard, nor should Eastwood, otherwise excellent, be quite so determined to maintain a star's steely dignity. But a lot still manages to get through about violence and the loner's path. May 31, 2022 Full Review Dirty Harry | Rotten Tomatoes (3) Alexander Walker London Evening Standard Dirty Harry is a film meant to wring the already well wrung and mangled conscience of the liberal. Which it succeeds in doing with engrossing efficiency. May 31, 2022 Full Review Dirty Harry | Rotten Tomatoes (4) Eddie Harrison film-authority.com …Dirty Harry was, and still is a powerful movie as a one-off…amidst the 70’s lens flare and urban machine-gun action, Harry is doing his best in a world gone mad, and that’s a tune that almost anyone can whistle, regardless of their politics... Rated: 5/5 May 19, 2024 Full Review Dirty Harry | Rotten Tomatoes (5) Sean Axmaker Stream on Demand In real life he would be up on charges, and justifiably so. In the movies he’s just the kind of cowboy these mean streets call for. Aug 19, 2023 Full Review Dirty Harry | Rotten Tomatoes (6) Madeleine Harmsworth Sunday Mirror (UK) Excellent thriller of the tough cop variety. May 31, 2022 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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William Outstanding Clint Eastwood movie. Jump started his movie career in America! Rated 5/5 Stars • Rated 5 out of 5 stars 10/30/21 Full Review Benjamin H The to-the-point and exciting Dirty Harry is elevated by the presence of Clint Eastwood, however that doesn't stop the film from being somewhat predictable, occasionally over-the-top and rushed at the end. Rated 3.5/5 Stars • Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 06/10/24 Full Review Jay H "A friend of mine was up about 20 floors with a jumper a few years ago. The jumper grabbed him, they went off, 20 floors down. Just mashed 'em all to bits. You couldn't tell which legs were which, you couldn't tell which arms were which, it was a terrible mess." Rated 4/5 Stars • Rated 4 out of 5 stars 05/27/24 Full Review Audience Member Extremely slow paced and minimum dialogue. Not good. I expected more. Rated 1.5/5 Stars • Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 04/24/24 Full Review Alec C This cop takes every dirty thing that comes along, and has no problem dishing it out as well! Harry Callahan is on the trail of the deranged Scorpio, a sad*stic murderer who has the town of LA playing to his whims, and must go above the law in order to ensure that justice is served. You should feel lucky to watch this movie one time in your life, because Clint Eastwood is packing heat and action in equal measure! Rated 5/5 Stars • Rated 5 out of 5 stars 04/17/24 Full Review Matthew D Ultra cool style with brutal action!Director Don Siegel's action thriller Dirty Harry (1971) is the pinnacle of 1970's gritty crime films. Siegel takes advantage of perilous scenarios and haunting shadows to make the city seem terrifyingly dangerous. Siegel's direction is peerless and swift with outstanding shootouts and fun encounters. He is critiquing Dirty Harry's vicious police brutality, while simultaneously upholding that an experienced officer needs to do things sharp and shrewdly to solve certain cases. Siegel knows how to get a riveting performance out of Clint Eastwood and puts bombastic jazz underneath all of Harry's career exploits.Writers Harry Julian Fink, Rita M. Fink, and Dean Riesner craft a tale of a mad sniper on rooftops terrorizing the city for a ransom and his own sad*stic pleasure. Dirty Harry has interesting questions about the ethics of appeasing criminals seeking money or how far do you go to make an arrest. I like that Dirty Harry is a tough and cunning cop that does anything to get to the villain. He goes over the top in violence, but since Dirty Harry is a movie, it is all the more exciting to see Clint Eastwood fire off rounds.Clint Eastwood is amazing and riveting as the ultra cool and ruthless Inspector Harry Callahan. Clint looks handsome, fearless, mean, and skeptical of everyone. Eastwood brings Dirty Harry to life with a dry wit for hilarious jokes and a fierce scowl as he glares at everyone else. Harry Guardino is great as the no nonsense Lieutenant Al Bressler. Reni Santoni is likable as the amiable new partner for Dirty Harry named Chico Gonzalez. John Vernon is excellent as the Mayor of San Francisco. Andy Robinson is unhinged as the trigger happy sniper creep Scorpio.Editor Carl Pingitore keeps Dirty Harry's pacing fast with slick cuts that trim all the fat. It's crime to crime and lets Dirty Harry feel competent and cunning, like he's solving crimes quickly. Cinematographer Bruce Surtees uses super stunning close-up shots of Clint Eastwood that are as beautiful as the far wide shots of the city's skyline. The crafty perspectives and angles are constantly engaging with steady camera panning and tilts. Dirty Harry is so perfectly shot with some mesmerizing shots. Every shot of Clint pointing his long barrel handgun is iconic.Art director Dale Hennesy uses dirty city streets and heavy shadows to build up a gritty visual atmosphere. Set decorator Robert De Vestel puts all manner of props around from guns to evidence for realism. The huge stunt team flip cars, fire guns, and wreck the city in vicious fights and violence encounters.Composer Lalo Schifrin's upbeat jazz film score is moody and dazzling. He sets a dark, yet playful tone for Dirty Harry. The hyper jazz drumming is wicked and enthralling alongside the eerie synths, choir, and horns. Sound designers William Randall, Dan Wallin, and Sergio Reyes craft a regular city soundscape. The police sirens, car horns honking, people chatting in the background, car tires scraping, to buses honking. Makeup artist Gordon Bau gives everyone raw appearances and Clint Eastwood a clean cut manly look. Hairstyling from Jean Burt Reilly gives Eastwood the coolest flowing 70's big hair.In all, Dirty Harry is awesome and remains a fun watch with its hard boiled characters, ruthless police brutality, and killer action. Clint Eastwood is fantastic and captivating for all of Dirty Harry's 102 minute run-time. Rated 5/5 Stars • Rated 5 out of 5 stars 11/29/23 Full Review Read all reviews

Dirty Harry

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Cast & Crew

Don Siegel Director Clint Eastwood Harry Callahan Harry Guardino Bressler Reni Santoni Chico John Larch Police Chief Andrew Robinson Scorpio Killer
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Dirty Harry

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Movie Info

Synopsis Cop Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) attempts to track down a psychopathic rooftop killer before a kidnapped girl dies. When he is found Harry abuses the murderer's civil rights putting him back on the streets. Once he is released he hijacks a school bus and Harry must go after him again. The only way to stop this vicious killer is in cold blood.

Don Siegel

Don Siegel

Harry Julian Fink, Harry Julian Fink, Rita M. Fink, Rita M. Fink, Dean Riesner

Warner Bros. Pictures

Production Co
Warner Brothers, Malpaso Company


Action, Mystery & Thriller, Crime, Drama

Original Language

Release Date (Theaters)
Jan 1, 1971, Wide

Release Date (Streaming)
Aug 15, 2008

1h 43m

Sound Mix

Aspect Ratio
Scope (2.35:1)
Most Popular at Home Now
Dirty Harry | Rotten Tomatoes (2024)


What is the famous line from Dirty Harry? ›

Instead of backing off, Harry points his . 44 Magnum revolver into the man's face and dares him to shoot, saying with clenched teeth and in his characteristic rough grumble, "Go ahead, make my day,'" meaning that if the robber attempts to harm Loretta in any way, Harry would be happy to dispatch the robber.

Why do they call you Dirty Harry quote? ›

Harry Callahan : Now you know why they call me Dirty Harry: every dirty job that comes along.

What does the ending of Dirty Harry signify? ›

The final scene, in which Callahan throws his badge into the water, is supposedly an homage to a similar scene from 1952's High Noon. Eastwood initially did not want to toss the badge, believing it indicated that Callahan was quitting the police department.

What is Clint Eastwoods' famous quote? ›

If something doesn't come up the way you want, forge ahead. If you think it's going to rain, it will.

Who turned down the role of Dirty Harry? ›

Paul Newman initially turned down the role of Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry but recommended Clint Eastwood for the part. Newman declined the role due to his liberal beliefs, and Eastwood's portrayal of Callahan differed from Newman's perspective, but both respected each other.

Why is Dirty Harry controversial? ›

Critics of Dirty Harry argue that his willingness to break the rules, engage in police brutality, and act as judge, jury, and executioner undermines the very principles of justice he claims to uphold. By taking the law into his own hands, he disregards the due process rights of suspects, setting a dangerous precedent.

What serial killer is Dirty Harry based on? ›

'Dirty Harry' Takes On the Zodiac Killer, More or Less. Image via Warner Bros. A woman is shot dead while swimming in a rooftop pool in San Francisco. The killer, referred to as 'Scorpio' (Andy Robinson), leaves behind a letter demanding $100,000, or else he will kill more people.

Why is he called Dirty Harry? ›

Harry is called dirty because he hates everyone, one person explains. Another says he got the name because he always gets the dirty end of the stick, only dirty isn't the word he uses. Whatever, Harry pursues criminals with a demonic passion.

Who is Clint Eastwood's favorite actor? ›

Famous for Westerns like A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, one would expect the actor to name someone like John Wayne or Gary Cooper. It turns out, according to an interview with the Play Misty for Me star, gangster movie actor James Cagney ruled the roost.

Did Clint Eastwood serve in the military? ›

The acclaimed actor was also in the military. In 1951 Eastwood was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He was a swimming instructor at Fort Ord, California. Clint Eastwood in his Army uniform during the Korean War.

Is the Outlaw Josey Wales a true story? ›

Josey Wales is a fictional character created by author Asa Earl Carter (writing under the pseudonym Forrest Carter as a supposedly Cherokee writer) for his 1973 novel The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales (republished in 1975 as Gone to Texas).

What are the most famous movie lines? ›

How many have you seen?
  • "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Gone with the Wind (1939) ...
  • "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." The Godfather (1972) ...
  • "You don't understand! I coulda had class. ...
  • "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." The Wizard of Oz (1939) ...
  • "Here's looking at you, kid."

What did Dirty Harry call his gun? ›

"Dirty" Harry Callahan famously used a 44 Remington Magnum in the form of a Smith & Wesson Model 29 to dispense justice on the streets of San Francisco. We all remember Eastwood's soliloquy about the 44 Magnum being the most powerful handgun in the world, and that it ... "would blow your head clean off ..."

Do you feel lucky punk full quote? ›

44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?” That is one of those great classic lines from Clint Eastwood's “Dirty Harry” movie role.

What is the Dirty Harry term? ›

Noun. (figuratively) A police officer who is reckless, disregards practices and policies, or who practices vigilantism, or has a questionable use of force and officer involved shooting incidents.

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