WolfmanOz at the Movies #15

Inspector Callahan

Or Dirty Harry, is one of Clint Eastwood’s most iconic film characters, along with The Man With No Name.

There were five films produced between 1971 and 1988 featuring the San Francisco Police Department Homicide Division Inspector Harry Callahan; in which the character became notorious for his unorthodox, violent and utterly ruthless actions against criminals and killers he had been assigned to apprehend.

The series also contained many scenes and lines which have become iconic film moments.

The first film was Dirty Harry, released in 1971, in which Callahan pursues a psychopath killer, clearly modelled on the Zodiac Killer.

The film caused huge controversy when it was released, inciting debate over issues ranging from police brutality, the nature of law enforcement and victims’ right.

Now it is regarded as a classic police thriller in which there is not an inch of fat in its’ depiction of Harry’s relentless pursuit of the psychotic killer.


A sequel was inevitable and in 1973

Magnum Force was released where Harry investigates a serious of murders of criminals in which it is revealed are being conducted by a renegade group of vigilante cops.


Unfortunately after the first two outstanding films, the series tended to drift off into being predictable police thrillers spiced by one or two excellent set pieces.

In The Enforcer (1976) Harry is assigned a female partner as they take on a terrorist ring. It’s mostly routine, but, there’s always at least one memorable scene to enjoy.


Then in 1983 we had Sudden Impact, which was directed by Eastwood himself. A rather nasty police thriller in which Callahan is sent to a small town to follow up a lead in a murder case which leads to a case of revenge.

But, of course the film is notable for one of cinema’s most famous catchphrases:


The final film in the series The Dead Pool was released in 1988 in which Harry finds he is among the subjects of a game betting on the deaths of celebrities. A rather lame end to a series that started off so well.

One thing is for sure today, they won’t be making films like Dirty Harry or Magnum Force anymore as the woke brigade would have nightmares about it.


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Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
April 8, 2022 8:19 am

I reckon that if you like Dirty Harry and Magnum force, you should probably also check out the terrific Charley Varrick and The Outfit, both of which have absolutely stellar casts of American B-Movie guns.

April 8, 2022 9:03 am

And let’s not forget the selection panel scene where Harry encounters the future in the form of the battle-axe sent from city hall charged with overseeing the diversification of the police force, i.e. the replacement of “dinosaurs” like him.

April 8, 2022 9:50 am

I love the Dirty Harry movies Wolfie. True, the last couple may not have been as good as the first three, but better than anything produced these days. When my son turned 13, I rented all five and we had a Dirty Harry fest over the next few days. Dunno if that was good parenting but I felt that he should be aware of the bloke he was named after.

Tintarella di Luna
Tintarella di Luna
April 8, 2022 9:58 am
April 8, 2022 9:59 am

Yes memorable scene Roger. Was always a HUGE Clint Eastwood fan. Very disappointed he went with the tiny tyrant though. Even The Mule was a beaut film.

April 8, 2022 10:23 am

I was only a wee lad in 1973. Went to see Magnum Force at the flicks with some school mates. We all thought the scene of the topless girls in the Hollywood Hills pool (just before they got shot!!) was the highlight!! Pathetic, I know….

April 8, 2022 10:45 am

Clint as a director is just as good as he is as an actor. Some of my favourites:
High Plains Drifter,
The Outlaw Josey Wales,
Pale Rider,
Heartbreak Ridge,
A Perfect World,
Absolute Power,
Letters From Iwo Jima, and
Gran Torino.

April 8, 2022 1:30 pm

One thing is for sure today, they won’t be making films like Dirty Harry or Magnum Force anymore as the woke brigade would have nightmares about it.

I also enjoyed The Dirty Harry character. The first movie is an absolute classic.

The series itself was actually introducing woke in a very subtle manner. Look at his partner list a Mexican, a black dude, a woman and then the Asian bloke.

Warwick Townsend
April 8, 2022 5:09 pm

Get 3 coffins ready……my mistake ,4 coffins.

Ed Case
Ed Case
April 8, 2022 5:13 pm

Somehoo I don’t think Ol’ Harry would get away with wasting 14 Aspiring Rappers in 2022.

vlad redux
vlad redux
April 8, 2022 8:42 pm

The last one was very weak.

April 8, 2022 9:12 pm

Gran Torino

A morality tale with (yet) another legendary line.

No prizes for guessing it.

Louis Litt
Louis Litt
April 8, 2022 9:50 pm

Fave was the guy who was going to commit suicide by jumping from the roof of an apartment building. He told him go ahead and jump after he took his name and address,
The suicider calls Mr Callahan a sob, takes a swing and collapses.
Mr Callahan fellow officer says “ your all class Callaghan”.

Louis Litt
Louis Litt
April 8, 2022 9:54 pm

Oh yes – sudden impact – the punks in the lift mouthing off at Mr Callaghan.
Grabs the mouth pushes up against wall, calls him g
Dog shit, it can get stepped on squished on and blown away in the wind.
Loved it.

Bruce in WA
April 8, 2022 10:20 pm

Been a fan since his Rawhide days. As a teen, being carted around in the back of the car, I would watch my reflection in the mirror, trying to perfect that famous lip curl.

Here’s one of my favourites little anecdotes about him as a director. Of course, the fact it contains one of my lust goddesses doesn’t hurt one bit.

April 8, 2022 11:34 pm

Eastwood is one of the best Americans ever.

Charles Bronson is another favorite. I actually made the two-hour-plus trip to Vermont to pay my respects.

April 9, 2022 10:28 am

Charles Bronson is a legend.


Once upon a time in the West.


April 9, 2022 10:31 am

Another Bronson anecdote:

Ingmar Bergman wanted to make a film with Bronson but the actor turned him down. “Everything is weakness and sickness with Bergman,” he said.

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
April 9, 2022 10:32 am

I think he also tended to drag others along on his coat tails. I’ve often thought David Soul got his go in Starsky & Hutch due to Magnum Force, where he was a chillingly bad cop. S&H were staples in the household of young Bruce of an evening, as were Dirty Harry movies when they came onto the TV.

It’s nice that Mr Eastwood is still making movies: small stories of life and people. They seem to do well, filling a niche of fillums that other directors now don’t do (except for woke pretentious rubbish that endlessly bomb at the box office).

Pedro the Loafer
Pedro the Loafer
April 9, 2022 12:02 pm

Clint’s Unforgiven is one of two of the greatest Westerns ever made.

The other is John Ford’s The Searchers starring John Wayne.

Both fairly dark versions of the genre, both brilliantly done.

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Oh, you think that, do you? Care to put it on record?x