At a 2009 MTV survey, Dirty Harry has been voted as the Greatest Movie Badass of all time, perhaps not precisely an Academy Award. Still, Clint Eastwood’s maverick police detective “Dirty Harry” Callahan was to turn into probably one of the most beloved, immortal, and contentious movie characters in theatre history.
Published at Xmas time in 1971, Dirty-Harry was filmed on a small budget of just $4M (roughly $22M now ), became a box-office hit, and raised Clint Eastwood from the status of “cult figure” to an original movie “superstar.”
Dirty Harry was offered to many other actors before Clint Eastwood
Eastwood had a little bit of fortune on his side because Dirty Harry was offered and refused by so many other actors. However, he did not because he lacked ability or capability. The original choice for that role of the studio was Frank Sinatra. Regrettably, Frank had injured his righthand eight years earlier in the day while filming The Manchurian Candidate (1963) and could not wield the heavy gun Harry Callahan hauled. Also, Sinatra’s father had recently passed on, and he wanted, at the time, to do lighter fare.
Marlon Brando’s name has been brought up, although he was not approached. It was, nevertheless, Paul Newman, who suggested Eastwood for the iconic role. John Wayne, Burt Lancaster, and Robert Mitchum all claim they too were approached to the part. Arch conservative Wayne objected to the picture’s “unjustified” and “glorified” violence. Arch-liberal Lancaster flocked into the rightwing politics and the violence within it.
Eastwood accepted the film, which Don Siegel could be hired to become the director. Eastwood also liked the film being about “victim’s rights,” a subject he thought had been ignored at that time and wanted the picture to bring it into the forefront.
Eastwood recommended Andrew Robinson for the role of the villain in the film, a stage actor he had seen in a play known as “the idiot.” Eastwood believed Robinson would play only the un-nerving character to play the wicked and psychotic “Scorpio.” Siegel agreed and loved Robinson because he “had the face of a choirboy.”
After the film had been released, Robinson received a few death threats and had to get an unlisted telephone. Lately, Siegel’s original choice for this role was war hero Audie Murphy. He enjoyed the notion of a hero playing such a vicious killer. Before filming began, regrettably, Murphy was killed.
In the end
Robinson’s cold-blooded “Scorpio” character was based upon the real-life “Zodiac Killer” who used to taunt authorities and media together with notes regarding his crimes. The writer John Milius made a significant contribution by giving its most immortal lineup to the movie. In an early scene, even as Harry pulls his .44 magnum on a criminal, he says (in abbreviated form here), “did he fire six shots or five? Well, would you feel lucky, punk?” This announcement so on became a timeless signature line and was chosen by the American film institute as #51 on their “most remarkable Quotations from Movie History” list.