Clint Eastwood is a legend. After putting together an acting reel that would easily make him a first-ballot Hall of Famer (if such a thing existed), he gave directing a try. Five decades and 41 feature films later, his work behind the camera may somehow be more impressive than his acting. This week marks the release of his latest work, “Richard Jewell,” so we thought it would be a great time to discuss your favorite Clint Eastwood films.
When he started directing in the 1970s, his name was largely associated with Westerns, so it makes sense that that has been a theme throughout his career. Two of his earliest films, “High Plains Drifter” and “The Outlaw Josey Wales” helped establish him as a director. That brand would continue to grow with “Pale Rider” in 1985, but would peak in 1992 with “Unforgiven.” “Unforgiven” would go on to win Best Picture and Best Director for Eastwood and solidify him as an acclaimed auteur.
Another thread that has run throughout Eastwood’s career are films featuring historical figures. The first of these was “Bird,” which covers the tragically brief life of Jazz legend, Charlie “Bird” Parker. Others in this same lane include “Invictus,” which features Nelson Mandela and “J. Edgar,” which chronicles the career of the famed FBI director.
Lately, Eastwood has begun to choose stories based on real events, but where the details of the protagonists are not always as well known. These include “Sully,” “The 15:17 to Paris” and this week’s “Richard Jewell.” Each of these raised the profile of real life heroic acts in a way only movies can.
He has also made a number of war movies, going all the way back to “Heartbreak Ridge” in 1986. Since then, he has given us the paired WWII dramas “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters From Iwo Jima,” as well as 2014’s “American Sniper.” “American Sniper” is the biggest commercial hit of his career, making nearly $550M at the global box office.
These motifs leave out classic films like “The Bridges of Madison County,” “Mystic River,” “Million Dollar Baby” and so many more. He has worked with everyone from Angelina Jolie to Robert Duvall. His film canon stands respectably next to anyone. He has made so many films that could be your favorite, but we want to hear from you!