A Perfect World

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Mark Johnson, David Valdes
  • Writers: John Lee Hancock
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Laura Dern

The film is set in Texas in the fall of 1963. Robert “Butch” Haynes (Kevin Costner) and Terry Pugh (Keith Szarabajka) are convicts who have just escaped from a Huntsville prison. Fleeing from the clutches of the law, the pair stumble into the kitchen of a house where eight-year old Phillip Perry (T. J. Lowther) lives with his devout Jehovah’s Witness mother and two sisters. Needing a hostage to aid their escape, Butch grabs the boy, who meekly accompanies them. The trio’s journey starts off on an unpleasant note as Butch is forced to shoot his fellow escapee with a stolen revolver, following the latter’s attempts at molesting the child. With his partner out of the way, the convict and his young victim take to the Texas highway in a bid to flee from the pursuing police.

Meanwhile, Texas Ranger Red Garnett (Clint Eastwood), riding in the Governor’s sleek airstream trailer, is in hot pursuit of the duo. With criminologist Sally Gerber (Laura Dern) and trigger-happy FBI sharpshooter Bobby Lee (Bradley Whitford) in tow, Ranger Garnett is determined to recover the criminal and the hostage before they cross the Texas border. The plot thus alternates between a manhunt unfolding on one level, and on the other, the blossoming of a tender bond between the convict and his “prisoner.”

The fact that Garnett is a disappointed man at the end (despite the fact that his mission of recovering the hostage has been a success) is indicative of the fact that he perhaps knew, from previous encounters with Butch Haynes, that he was essentially a good man at heart, driven by circumstances to become the cold-blooded killer he was perceived as.

Per un pugno di dollari

  • Directors: Sergio Leone
  • Producers: Arrigo Colombo, Giorgio Papi
  • Writers: Sergio Leone, A Bonzzoni, Jaime Comas Gil
  • Genres: Action, Western
  • Actors: Clint Eastwood, Marianne Koch, Joseph Egger, Antonio Prieto, Mario Brega, Wolfgang Lukschy, Sieghardt Rupp, Benny Reeves

A Man with No Name (Clint Eastwood), arrives at a little Mexican border town named San Miguel. He is quickly introduced to the feud between two families vying to gain control the town: the Rojo brothers, consisting of Don Miguel (the eldest and nominally in charge), Esteban (Sieghardt Rupp) (the most headstrong) and Ramón (the most capable and intelligent, played by Gian Maria Volontè, who would reappear in For a Few Dollars More as the psychopathic El Indio), and the family of so-called “town sheriff” John Baxter (Wolfgang Lukschy).

The Stranger quickly spies an opportunity to make a “fistful of dollars” and decides to play both families against each other. His opportunity comes when a detachment of Mexican soldiers escorting a shipment of gold passes through the town. The gold is ostensibly being delivered to a troop of American soldiers at the border river in exchange for a shipment of modern American weapons, but upon following the Mexican troops, the Stranger watches from hiding as they are massacred by members of the Rojo gang, disguised in American uniforms and led by Ramon Rojo.

The Stranger takes two of the bodies to a nearby cemetery and sells information to both sides that two soldiers survived the attack. Both sides race to the cemetery, the Baxters to get the “survivors” to testify against the Rojos, and the Rojos to silence them. The factions engage in a fierce gunfight, but Ramon manages to kill (as he believes) the “survivors” and Esteban captures John Baxter’s son Antonio. While the Rojos and the Baxters are busy, the Stranger takes the opportunity to search the Rojo hacienda, but accidentally knocks out Ramón’s prisoner and unwilling mistress Marisol (Marianne Koch) when she surprises him. He takes her to the Baxters, who arrange for a prisoner swap with the Rojos.

The Man with No Name returns to town to engage the Rojos in a dramatic duel. He first rescues Silvanito, who was tortured to reveal the Stranger’s whereabouts. The Man with No Name kills Ramon and the remaining Rojos, except Esteban (who is shot by Silvanito), and rides away.

Flags of Our Fathers

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Steven Spielberg
  • Writers: James Bradley, Ron Powers, William Broyles Jr, Paul Haggis
  • Genres: Action, Drama, History, War
  • Actors: Ryan Phillippe, Adam Beach, Jesse Bradford, Neal McDonough, Barry Pepper, Robert Patrick, Paul Walker, Jamie Bell, John Benjamin Hickey, John Slattery

The story focuses on seven US Marines of the 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division, Sgt. Mike Strank, Pfc. Rene Gagnon, Pfc. Ira Hayes, Cpl. Harlon Block, Pfc. Franklin Sousley, Sgt. Hank Hansen, and Pfc. Ralph Ignatowski, as well as their Navy Corpsman, PhM2. John “Doc” Bradley.

In December 1944, U.S. Marines train at Camp Tarawa, Hawaii. They train by climbing a large mountain and getting in Higgins boats. The Marines then set sail across the Pacific, and it is revealed that they are headed to the small island of Iwo Jima, located less than 700 miles from the Japanese mainland. As Captain Severance puts it, they will be fighting on Japanese soil, and will expect tough resistance. A few days later, the armada arrives off the coast of Iwo Jima and the ships of the US Navy open fire on suspected Japanese positions. On the night before the landings, Mike is put in charge of second platoon.

The next day, February 19, 1945, the Marines hit the beach in landing craft and meet no resistance. Ralph, aka “Iggy”, suspects that the Navy killed all the Japanese defenders, as do most of the Marines. After several tense minutes the Marines advance forward and the Japanese open fire. The battle is extremely intense, and the Marines take heavy casualties. Japanese heavy artillery opens fire upon the Marines on shore, as well as the Navy ships. After several attempts, Second Platoon takes out a Japanese pillbox which was pinning them down. They advance forward, as do many other Marines. The battle begins to calm down and the beachheads are secure. Two days later the Marines attack Mount Suribachi under a rain of Japanese artillery and machine gun fire, as the Navy bombards the mountain. It is here that Doc saves the lives of several Marines under fire which later earns him the Navy Cross. Finally, the mountain is secure. For the next four nights, the Marines take cover in foxholes as Japanese soldiers charge through the mist.

In September the war ends and Doc, Rene and Ira go home. Ira tries to move on but is never able to escape his unwanted fame. One day in 1952 after being released from jail, he hitchhikes over 1,300 miles to Texas to see Harlon Block’s family. He tells Ed Block, Harlon’s father that Harlon was indeed at the base of the flag in the famous photograph. In 1954, the USMC War Memorial is dedicated and the three flag raisers see each one last time. In 1955 Ira dies of exposure after a night of drinking. That same year Doc drove to a town where Iggy’s mom lived and told her how Iggy died, though it is implied that he lied. Rene has little success as the business offers he received on the bond drive are no longer offered to him. He spends the rest of his life as a high school janitor, dying in 1979. Doc is the only successful one. He buys the funeral home he worked at before the war and runs it for the rest of his life. In 1995, as he is on his death bed, he tells his son James how after the flag raising Captain Severance took the men swimming. He then dies peacefully. In a final flashback to 1945, the men swim in the ocean after raising the flags.

Invictus

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Clint Eastwood, Lori McCreary, Robert Lorenz, Mace Neufeld
  • Writers: Screenplay, Anthony Peckham, Book, John Carlin
  • Genres: Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon

A look at Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) from the fall of apartheid. The story is about Mandela’s release from prison, his election as President of South Africa and his attempts to use the 1995 Rugby World Cup as a vehicle to bring his people together, after the fall of apartheid. Led by their captain Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), the South African team wins the tournament, upsetting the favourites New Zealand 15–12 in the final.

Mystic River

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Judie G Hoyt
  • Writers: Novel, Dennis Lehane, Screenplay, Brian Helgeland
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney

The film opens with three boys, Sean Devine, Jimmy Markum, and Dave Boyle, playing hockey in the street. While playing, the boys find a section of sidewalk concrete that is still drying. Jimmy impulsively writes his name in the cement and Sean follows. Dave begins to write his name in the cement, but a car pulls up and a man who pretends to be a plainclothes police officer gets out, scolds the three boys, and tells Dave to get in the car. After a second man in the front passenger seat (who appears to be a priest) turns and smiles at the boy, Dave looks out the back window to see Jimmy and Sean staring back at him as the car moves away. Hearing that Dave was taken away by a police officer, the parents of Jimmy and Sean agree that something is wrong and begin to look for him.

The film then cuts to Dave in the basement of the two child molesters who took him and then to Dave running away from the house through a forest.

Twenty-five years later, the boys are now grown and still living in Boston. Jimmy (Sean Penn) is an ex-con running a neighborhood store, while Dave (Tim Robbins) is a blue-collar worker, still haunted by his abduction. The two men are still neighbors and related by marriage. Jimmy’s 19 year old daughter Katie (Emmy Rossum) is secretly dating Brendan Harris (Thomas Guiry), a boy Jimmy despises. She and Brendan are planning on eloping to marry in Las Vegas.

The film ends with the camera zooming towards Mystic River and fades to black.

Where Eagles Dare

  • Directors: Brian G Hutton
  • Producers: Elliott Kastner, Jerry Gershwin
  • Writers: Alistair MacLean
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, War
  • Actors: Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Mary Ure

Where Eagles Dare takes place during World War II. In the winter of 1943-44, U.S. Army Brigadier General George Carnaby, enroute to Crete to rendezvous with Russian forces to plan the final details of the invasion of Normandy, is captured by the Germans when his aircraft is shot down. He is taken to the Schloß Adler (The Castle of the Eagles – hence the story’s title), a fortress high in the Alps above the town of Werfen and the headquarters of the German Secret Service in southern Bavaria. A special team of mainly British commandos is hurriedly assembled and briefed by Colonel Wyatt Turner and Admiral Rolland of MI6, and led by Major John Smith, MC and US Army Ranger Lieutenant Morris Schaffer. Their mission is to parachute into the locality, infiltrate the Schloß Adler, and rescue General Carnaby before the Germans can interrogate him.

Known only to Smith and Rolland, SOE agent Mary Elison, a trusted member of MI6, accompanies the mission. General Carnaby, really an American actor and look-alike by the name of Cartwright Jones, deliberately crash-landed near the castle after a staged attack by Royal Air Force fighters. He must be rescued before the Germans realize that he truly does not know of any secret plans and is not General Carnaby.

The final scene takes place on board the plane. Smith shows the books of German names to Turner, commenting that one single name is missing — one that the others couldn’t have known, since the mastermind of the German spy network in Britain was kept hidden from them. It is the name Smith showed Kramer earlier that evening, the name Kramer confirmed as the top agent. That name is Colonel Turner. Turner, exposed, faces a court-martial for treason in his native Britain. He chooses suicide, leaping from the plane. Smith returns to Rolland, having successfully destroyed German infiltration in Britain for the remainder of the war.

Gran Torino

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Clint Eastwood, Bill Gerber, Robert Lorenz
  • Writers: Screenplay, Nick Schenk, Story, Dave Johannson, Nick Schenk
  • Genres: Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang

Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood), a retired Polish American Ford automobile assembly line worker and Korean War veteran, haunted by memories of that conflict, lives with his Labrador Retriever Daisy in a changing Highland Park, Michigan neighborhood which is dominated by immigrants. At the start of the movie, Walt is attending his wife’s funeral, bristling at the shallow eulogy of young Father Janovich (Christopher Carley). Similarly, he has little patience with his two sons, Mitch (Brian Haley) and Steve (Brian Howe), and their families, who show little regard for Walt’s grief or the memory of their dead mother. Throughout the movie Walt views his relatives as rude, spoiled and self-absorbed, always avoiding him unless it is in their own interest to pay him some attention. Walt’s sons see him as “always disappointed” with them and their families, unaware of their own obnoxiousness.

Walt’s teenage Hmong neighbors, a shy Thao Vang Lor (Bee Vang) and his feisty sister Sue (Ahney Her), live with their widowed mother and grandmother. When a Hispanic gang confronts Thao, the Hmong gang, led by Thao’s older cousin Spider (Doua Moua), helps Thao by frightening the Hispanic gang and forcing them to flee. The Hmong gang, at that point, tries to persuade Thao to join them. Thao’s initiation is to steal Walt’s prized car, a 1972 Gran Torino Sport. Walt interrupts the robbery, pointing a rifle in Thao’s face and forcing him to flee. After a few days, Spider and his gang return. With Sue at his side, Thao manages to verbally confront them to no avail. The gang drags Thao off his porch in an attempt to assault him. His family tries desperately to fend off Spider and his cohorts. The conflict ends when Walt threatens the gang members with his M1 Garand rifle and orders them to get off his lawn. They leave the neighborhood, telling Walt to watch his back.

A funeral service is held for Walt with Father Janovich delivering a memorable eulogy of Walt. Thao and his family attend the funeral opposite Walt’s large extended family. In his will, Walt leaves his house to the church, and his Gran Torino to Thao, much to the disappointment and puzzlement of his family. In the final scene, Thao is driving the Gran Torino up Lake Shore Road with Daisy next to him.

High Plains Drifter

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Robert Daley
  • Writers: Ernest Tidyman, Dean Riesner
  • Genres: Thriller, Western
  • Actors: Clint Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Marianna Hill, Billy Curtis

A lone man on horseback emerges from a shimmering desert horizon and heads into the fictional town of Lago, in a setting like the Arizona territory. After passing a cemetery on the town’s outskirts, he rides slowly down the main street, where the townspeople eye him warily. He exchanges a stare with three gun-toting men on the boardwalk of the saloon; then his attention is drawn sharply by the crack of a teamster’s whip.

Dismounting, this Stranger (Eastwood) goes to the saloon, for a beer and a bottle of whiskey. The gunslingers come in and bait him as a “flea-bitten range bum”, not “fast enough” for Lago. Baiting them in return, he speaks quietly, telling them only that he is “[a] lot faster than [they]’ll ever live to be.” He exits and walks across the street to the barbershop. Though unnerved by him, the barber gamely begins giving him a shave.

Within minutes, the gunslingers enter, surround the Stranger, and attempt to lay hands on him. He surprises them with his gun drawn and ready, masked by the apron the barber had tied around his neck. He shoots all three dead in seconds. Impressed, a dwarf named Mordecai approaches from the saloon and lights the Stranger’s cigar. “What did you say your name was again?” the dwarf asks. “I didn’t,” the Stranger replies.

Only as the Stranger is leaving the town, the next day, is the question of his identity addressed — cryptically. He passes Sarah, who is packing her suitcases into a wagon on which she herself will be leaving; then he passes Mordecai, who is at the cemetery. Apparently at the Stranger’s instruction, Mordecai is just finishing the inscription on a grave marker. “I never did know your name,” Mordecai says. “Yes, you do,” the Stranger replies. As the Stranger continues on, a reverse angle reveals that the marker bears the name of Marshal Jim Duncan — “Rest in Peace.” The Stranger rides away, fading into the shimmering horizon whence he came.

Pale Rider

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Clint Eastwood
  • Writers: Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack
  • Genres: Action, Western
  • Actors: Clint Eastwood, Michael Moriarty, Carrie Snodgress

The plot centers on the conflict between a group of simple, poor, panning miners and the most powerful man in the nearby town, Coy LaHood (Richard Dysart), the boss of a successful hydraulic mining outfit, that wants to take over their land. The film opens with the ruffians of LaHood riding into the panner’s camp, shooting things up and pulling down tents and cabins. Soon after, one of the panners heads into town for supplies, and is set upon by the same ruffians. A drifter (Clint Eastwood) rides in and defends the miner with unexpected skill wielding a hickory axe handle. Upon returning to the placers camp, the drifter compounds this surprise by revealing a minister’s collar when invited to dinner, thus acquiring the name “Preacher”.[1]

A classic western story line develops, leading to a final showdown in town between the deputies, and Stockburn and Preacher.

The Outlaw Josey Wales

  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Robert Daley
  • Writers: Forrest Carter, Philip Kaufman, Sonia Chernus
  • Genres: Action, Western
  • Actors: Clint Eastwood, Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke

This film is the first ever to confront the history of those Missourians who fell prey to the murder and raping of the Kansas-based Unionists who called themselves “Red-Leggers” (after their red-striped stockings and gaiters) and Jayhawkers during the Civil War.[1] It is a revisionist film in that it abandons the standard presentations of the Unionists that had characterized Hollywood productions up to that time, along with the dark depictions of the Missouri riders.[2] The Outlaw Josey Wales turns these stereotypes on their heads.

Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood), a peaceful Missouri farmer, is driven to revenge by the brutal rape and murder of his wife and family by a band of pro-Union (Civil War) Jayhawkers—James H. Lane’s “Redlegs” from Kansas.

Josey joins a group of pro-Confederate Missouri guerrillas (bushwhackers or “border ruffians”) led by “Bloody Bill” Anderson. At the end of the war, his fellow guerrillas attempt to surrender but are instead gunned down in a botched execution by the same Redlegs (now part of the regular Union army) who burned Josey’s farm and murdered his family, led by the vicious Captain Terrill (Bill McKinney).

Josey, who had refused to surrender, intervenes on behalf of his comrades and guns down several Redlegs with a Gatling gun. Senator Lane puts up a $5,000 bounty on Wales. Josey begins a life on the run from Union militia and bounty hunters, while still seeking vengeance and a chance for a new beginning in Texas. Along the way, he unwillingly accumulates a diverse group of whites and Indians, despite all indications that he would rather be left alone. His companions include an elderly Yankee woman from Kansas and her granddaughter (rescued from a band of Comancheros), a wily old Cherokee named Lone Watie (modeled on the historical Confederate Cherokee Chief Stand Watie who fought as a Confederate general), and a young Navajo woman.

In the final showdown, Josey and his companions are cornered in a ranch house, which, typical of the times, was fortified to withstand Indian raids. The Redlegs attack but are systematically gunned down or sent running by the defenders. Josey eventually runs out of ammunition and pursues the fleeing Captain Terrill on horseback. When he catches up to him, Josey confronts Terrill and dry fires his pistols through all twenty-four empty chambers before stabbing the captain with his own cavalry sword, a departure from the usual Eastwood style of gunning down the chief villain.