Box art for Dirty Harry

Dirty Harry

action & adventure, thrillers

Academy Award-winner Clint Eastwood ("Unforgiven," "Million Dollar Baby") stars as "Dirty Harry" Callahan in this riveting action film that spawned several blockbuster sequels.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
1 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
5 out of 5
4 out of 5

'70s rebel-cop classic is way too edgy for kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that while this classic police thriller inspired a video game and numerous other PG-13 Hollywood cop-opera shoot-em-ups, it was intended as a very adult film, with frank swearing and occasional full-frontal nudity -- often in the context of a decadent community crawling with degeneracy and lawlessness. Violence includes bloody shootings, stabbings, and even schoolchildren threatened. For all the action, the movie doesn't exactly make police work appealing as a career path (especially the bitter last scene).

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about a theme in the film, that the law -- in the post-1960s, post "civil rights" era -- protects lawbreakers, not victims, and that a dedicated policeman like Harry can't even do his job. Do you agree?
  • Is this movie still relevant? Do teens feel that modern police officers face similar challenges?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 1
    see all Dirty Harry reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews


- Shannon J. Harvey, Sunday Times (Australia), Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

What a landmark of American cinema! Clint was already a star by this point, but this just pushed his career even further. There's a lot to like and love about this girtty, hard-edged crime thriller. The gritty location shotting looks awesome, as do almost all urban crime films from this era. The shot of Harry (from the back) looking at the Golden Gate Bridge in the dusk is a fine example of this. Featuring strong performances, a gripping story, good direction, and wearing the cynical sensibilities and atmosphere of the day on its sleeve, I can see how this film has become so influential, especially due to the infamous speech about one of the most bad ass of all film weapons. This is really Clint's show, but John Vernon is good as the mayor, Reni Santoni is decent as Chico, and Andy Robinson is outstanding as the creepy and menacing Scorpio. Shockingly enough, I had never seen this or any of the sequels until now, and I was pleasantly surprised by the humor. A lot of it (and Eastwood's general mannerisms/characterization) later came up in some of Eastwood's more recent films, which I think is just great. Gran Torino had me cracking up at times, and now I know where it comes from. The music is good too, although there were scenes where I think it would have been nice to hear it where there wasn't any music. However, one scene in question (when Harry goes from phone booth to phone booth) stands out as a little more tense because of the lack of score (which makes things a bit more realistic. One thing I like about this and other similar films from the 70s is how it's more than just entertainment. There's a lot of substance here. You could come up with all kinds of analyses about the effectiveness of police brutality, anti-heroes, racism, being macho, violence, etc. Many already have, but it's not like the well will likely run dry very soon. If you haven't seen this one yet, you definitely need to see it-it's a stone cold classic (despite not being wall-to-wall action and mayhem).

- cosmo313, Thursday, July 8, 2010

4 stars

"I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .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?" A San Francisco cop with little regard for rules (but who always gets results) tries to track down a serial killer who snipes at random victims. REVIEW Eastwood made cinematic lore out of laconic San Francisco renegade cop Harry Callahan known more for his intolerance of the bureaucratic legal system and his firm belief in justice through violent means necessitated by righting wrongs. In the first of the series he's faced with a psycho serial killer named Scorpio (grinning looney toon Robinson) just begging to be noticed. Directed by Eastwood's long-time mentor Don Siegel the film acts as a parable of the system strangle-holding society and still remains an indictment of how bad things still are. Classic Clint.

- mrpopcorn, Wednesday, May 5, 2010

3 stars

the film is not without its problems, but its so much fun that this is one of those films where the problems dont matter as much. its great to watch eastwood lug around that massive gun and dust people.

- sanjurosamurai, Monday, May 3, 2010