Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino

Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino”

Imagine walking into your wine cellar and passing over the supermarket favorites to find the perfect vintage bottle that has been gathering dust along the sealed bottleneck. Stroll past your growing collection of DVDs and you’ll discover the same feeling of delight when you pick out any top-notch Clint Eastwood film. It’s okay to have a favorite “Dirty Harry” film, and it’s even alright that you purchased a pre-viewed copy of “Space Cowboys,” but just like any bottle of wine, good ‘ole Clint continues to get better with age. Not only has the veteran actor managed to skim through the unabridged edition of “Acting for Dummies” since his first foray into the big screen, but his directing style is untouchable in a generation of amateur directors who believe they have what it takes because their music video debuted on “TRL.”

Clinton Eastwood Jr. was born way back in San Francisco, California, in 1930. Along with working his share of hourly jobs, serving in the Armed Forces and dropping out of city college, Clint eventually landed a number of small roles in B-movies for Universal in 1955. Four years later, the young actor was signed by CBS to star in the new western series “Rawhide” for seven years. Following the final year of production on the show, Clint moved to Spain to star in Sergio Leone’s “A Fistful of Dollars” and “For a Few Dollars” more before filming the trilogy’s final episode (“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”) about The Man With No Name. If his previous work on “Rawhide” hadn’t yet made him a household name, the “Dollars” trilogy was definitely the small boost he needed. Clint began to follow the same road as John Wayne, with a long resume filled with westerns and war films, until the early 70’s when the two genres suddenly became less popular and Clint’s most well-known elevated him to icon status.

1971 began not only a new decade for the country, but also for the humble actor as he took on the role of the gritty detective Harry Callahan and tried his hand at directing. Three sequels to the first “Dirty Harry” film quickly followed, and as critical praise for his charming screen presence increased with his diversity in projects, Clint gained experience behind the camera. The 1980’s introduced Clint as a versatile actor/director, but the decade holds little history or comparison to any of Clint’s past and future projects. As his star power began to dwindle due to the disappointing films that arose from the 80’s, it only to took one film for Clint to regain his spot on top of the Hollywood hierarchy: “Unforgiven.”

As the film that earned Clint his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor, as well as Academy Awards for Best Director and Picture, “Unforgiven” surprised moviegoers and critics with its brusque political standpoints and art-driven direction. In 1995, the Academy honored Clint with the Academy Award’s Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award and his latest film about a pair of rekindling old fogies (“The Bridges of Madison County”) opened to rave reviews. The newest millennium has probably treated Clint the best, though, with huge Oscar wins for both of his films, “Mystic River” and “Million Dollar Baby.” Now that Clint’s stock as skyrocketed, watch for the aging Hollywood aristocrat to solidify his rightful place as one of the industry’s best.

Clint on the Screen and Behind the Camera

Over 70 and still making classic American films, Clint Eastwood can easily be titled the Grandfather of Film – or at least for the current generation of moviegoers. Clint started out as the gritty actor who showed no remorse in the spaghetti western “Dollars” trilogy directed by Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone and has become a Hollywood icon for his work in the series of “Dirty Harry” films that spanned from the early 70’s to the late 80’s. After making a number of other performances in highly praised films like “Every Which Way But Loose” and “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” Clint decided to take a step behind the camera and try his hand at directing. The decision to perform on both sides only improved his already stellar career, churning out films like “Unforgiven” and “Mystic River,” and earning himself a few golden statues in the process. Clint’s career is also best known for other great films like “In the Line of Fire” and “The Bridges of Madison County,” but not all of his projects are necessarily celluloid gold. Just one look at the old-fart space comedy “Space Cowboys” and the recent detective tale “Blood Work” will prove that even Mr. Eastwood isn’t that perfect. His latest film “Million Dollar Baby” looks to right the wrongs of his career though, with an astonishing amount of critical praise and awards.

Clint quotes

On emotions:
“I don’t believe in pessimism. If something doesn’t come up the way you want, forge ahead. If you think it’s going to rain, it will.”

On Hollywood’s ridiculous budgets:
“This film cost $31 million. With that kind of money I could have invaded some country.”

On responsibility:
“Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands.”