Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” series of films are some of the most iconic American action movies ever made. Spanning two decades and five films, the “Dirty Harry” franchise looks at America’s changing attitude toward law enforcement and justice.
The first film, “Dirty Harry,” was released in 1971 and was an instant classic, spawning four sequels over the next two decades. While each film is excellent in its own right, there is a clear progression in how America is depicted, from a place of hope and optimism in the first film to a much more cynical and jaded outlook by the fifth film.
The story of all the movies revolves around a San Francisco Police Department inspector, “Dirty” Harry Callahan, played by Clint Eastwood. If you are a fan of action-packed cinema, you should watch “Dirty Harry” movies.
So without wasting any more seconds, Join us as we take a retrospective look at all the “Dirty Harry” movies in order of their release date.
Dirty Harry Series in Order of Release Date
Here are all the movies in order of release year.
- Dirty Harry (1971)
- Magnum Force (1973)
- The Enforcer (1976)
- Sudden Impact (1983)
- The Dead Pool (1988)
Let’s dive into all the films one by one
Dirty Harry (1971)
The first film was released in 1971, written by Harry Julian Fink and Rita M. Fink, and directed by Don Siegel was an instant hit among the audience. The movie is set in the backdrop of crime-ridden San Francisco during the 60s, inspired by the real-life case of the Zodiac Killer.
Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) is tasked with tracking down a comparable vicious psychopath named “Scorpio.”
The police receive a letter from Scorpio demanding another ransom, or else he will kill Ann Mary Deacon, a teenager who has been kidnapped. Harry has to do whatever it takes to find Scorpio and save the girl’s life.
The film is filled with intense action sequences, quotable one-liners, and iconic moments that would come to define the Dirty Harry character.
Later in 2012, “Dirty Harry” was chosen for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
The film not only did well with the critics but also was a box office success, making $36 million against its production budget of around $4 million.
If you are a fan of old action-packed movies, you should watch “Dirty Harry.”
Magnum Force (1973)
Clint Eastwood returns as Inspector Harry Callahan in “Magnum Force,” the second movie in the Dirty Harry films, released in 1973.
The story starts when a mobster acquitted of mass murder, Carmine Ricca, is killed by an SFPD Officer on a remote road. This sets off a series of events in which a vigilante group executes criminals who have been let free due to legal technicalities.
Directed by Ted Post, this time, Harry Callahan is up against a group of vigilante cops who are taking the law into their own hands. Eastwood is always magnetic in the role, and the film cracks with suspense.
The action sequences are well executed, and the plot is twisty and entertaining. “Magnum Force” is another excellent entry in the “Dirty Harry” franchise, and it’s sure to please fans of tough guy action movies.
The film managed to do well at the box office, making $39 million. While not quite as successful as its predecessor, “Magnum Force” is an excellent example of 1970s action cinema.
The Enforcer (1976)
Released after three years of “Magnum Force,” “The Enforcer” is the third movie in the “Dirty Harry” series. The film was directed by James Fargo, with the leading cast of Clint Eastwood as Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan, Tyne Daly as Inspector Kate Moore, and DeVeren Bookwalter as criminal mastermind Bobby Maxwell.
In the film, Dirty Harry Callahan is teamed up with a new partner, Inspector Kate Moore, played by Tyne Daly. The two are tasked with investigating a series of bombings by a radical group called the People’s Revolutionary Strike Force (PRSF).
The terrorist group uses a woman in a remote spot in Mill Valley to lure two gas company men and get them killed by Bobby Maxwell. The PRSF steals the men’s uniforms and ID cards and uses them to access the gas company’s refinery. They then proceed to plant a powerful bomb inside the facility.
With time running out, Callahan and Moore have to track down the terrorists and stop them before they can destroy the refinery. “The Enforcer” is another solid entry in the “Dirty Harry” movies. The action is tense and exciting, and Eastwood is again excellent in the lead role.
Though not as well-remembered as the first two films, it still managed to make $46.2 million at the box office against its budget of $9 million.
Sudden Impact (1983)
“Sudden Impact” is the fourth movie in the Dirty Harry series. It is the only film in the entire series directed, produced by, and starring Clint Eastwood ( Dirty Harry Callahan)
The film tells the story of a victim (Locke) who decides to seek revenge ten years after the attack by eradicating them.
When Inspector Callahan and Sondra Locke (Jennifer Spencer) investigate a series of murders, the perpetrator seems to have precise targets: all men who raped her ten years ago.
As Callahan finds the killer, he also uncovers a much larger conspiracy. It is another excellent entry in the “Dirty Harry” franchise, and it’s sure to please fans of tough guy action movies.
The film was a box office success, making $150 million at the Box office against its production budget of around $22 million.
“Sudden Impact” is considered the best entry in the “Dirty Harry” movie series, thanks to its excellent story and Eastwood’s outstanding performance.
The Dead Pool (1988)
The series’s fifth and last “Dirty Harry” story is “The Dead Pool.” Once again, Clint Eastwood returns as Inspector Callahan. This time he’s up against a group of celebrities a killer is targeting.
The film also stars Liam Neeson, Patricia Clarkson, and Jim Carrey, directed by Buddy Van Horn. The plot revolves around a game called “The Dead Pool,” in which people guess who will die next. When celebrities start turning up dead, it’s up to Callahan to track down the killer.
“The Dead Pool” is a fitting end to the “Dirty Harry” series. It’s an exciting and suspenseful thriller, with excellent action sequences and a great cast.
The last “Dirty Harry” movie is the least performing film in the franchise, making $37 million at the box office. However, it was still a success given its production budget of $31 million.
However, “The Dead Pool” is a fitting end to the “Dirty Harry” movies. It’s an exciting and suspenseful thriller, with excellent action sequences and a great cast. While not as well-remembered as the earlier films, “The Dead Pool” is still a perfect example of 1980s action cinema.
The “Dirty Harry” movies are some of the most influential action movies ever made. They showcase America’s changing attitude towards law enforcement and justice and are still highly entertaining today.
If you’re looking for good old-fashioned action movie fun, you can’t go wrong with the “Dirty Harry” film series. Thanks for joining us on this retrospective look at all the Dirty Harry movies in order of release date.
FAQs about the Dirty Harry Films
How many “Dirty Harry” movies are there?
There are five “Dirty Harry” movies released to date; the first Dirty Harry movie was released in 1971, and the last one in 1988.
Which is the best Dirty Harry movie?
There is no specific answer to this question; all the Dirty Harry movies have different stories and plots, and you can watch Dirty Harry movies in order of release date.
Did Clint Eastwood serve in the military?
The highly-esteemed actor Clint Eastwood also had a stint in the military. In 1951, Eastwood was drafted into the Army to serve during the Korean War and was stationed at Fort Ord, where he worked as a swimming instructor.
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