7 greatest motion pictures directed by Clint Eastwood, ranked

A man is held back by several policemen.
Warner Bros.

It’s uncommon for a high film star to step behind the digital camera and thrive critically and financially as a director. From the Nineteen Thirties by means of the Nineteen Sixties, Orson Welles and Charlie Chaplin had been the gold requirements for actors-turned-directors. However for the reason that Seventies, good luck discovering a extra profitable actor-director than Clint Eastwood. The actor was already a star within the early Seventies because of his roles in Sergio Leone’s {Dollars} Trilogy and Soiled Harry.

Eastwood directed his first movie in 1971 with Play Misty for Me. Since then, he has directed practically 40 movies, from Westerns and crime thrillers to Oscar winners and battle epics. Recognized for his effectivity (“One Take Clint“), Eastwood continues to be directing in his early 90s, together with his subsequent movie, Juror No. 2, anticipated to launch in 2024. To honor this nice American filmmaker, we ranked his seven greatest movies as a director.

7. Gran Torino (2008)

Clint Eastwood stands next to a young boy in Gran Torino.
Warner Bros. Photos

Retired autoworker and Korean Warfare veteran Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) hates what has change into of America. Walt despises the inflow of Hmong immigrants which have moved into his Detroit neighborhood and the gang violence that has a stranglehold over its residents. Thao Vang Lor (Bee Vang), ateenager who lives subsequent door to Walt, makes an attempt to steal Walt’s Gran Torino, however fails. As a substitute of reporting the boy to the police, Walt surprisingly types a friendship with Thao as he tries to straighten him out and put him on the fitting course in life.

Gran Torino is within the operating for Eastwood’s greatest performing of the twenty first century. With the movie, Eastwood makes an attempt to clarify that America is for everybody by means of Walt’s prejudiced persona — and it largely works. Gran Torino has additionally been praised for its predominantly Hmong-American forged, a primary amongst mainstream American movies.

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6. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

A Native American chief stands in front of an American outlaw.
Warner Bros.

Earlier than 1976, Eastwood had directed 4 movies. Nonetheless, Eastwood’s fifth movie, The Outlaw Josey Wales, is the second the place his directorial profession took off. After Union troopers led by Capt. Terrill (Invoice McKinney) kill his household, Josey Wales (Eastwood) joins the Accomplice Military and groups with guerrilla fighters to precise his revenge. Josey turns into a legendary gunfighter and refuses to give up when the battle ends. With a bounty on his head, Josey tries to start out over with a surrogate household, however his historical past as an outlaw endangers these round him.

Like lots of his movies, Eastwood thrives as a vengeful insurgent, however his humanization of Native Individuals is the lasting reminiscence on this terrific Western. The Outlaw Josey Wales can also be noteworthy for its behind-the-scenes drama between Eastwood and the movie’s authentic director, Philip Kaufman. Eastwood fired Kaufman throughout manufacturing and took over because the director, main the Administrators Guild of America to create “The Eastwood Rule,” which forbids an actor or producer from firing a director and taking up the manufacturing themselves.

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5. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

A group of Japaneze soldiers stand on a beach as one walks into a bunker.
Warner Bros.

In 2006, Clint Eastwood made two war movies about the iconic Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II: Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. Released in October 2006, Flags of Our Fathers is told from the American viewpoint and chronicles the lives of the soldiers who fought to raise the flag in one of WWII’s most iconic moments.

Two months later, Eastwood released the superior film, Letters from Iwo Jima, which depicts the battle from the perspective of several Japanese soldiers, including General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe). Despite being an American filmmaker, Eastwood does right by the Japanese soldiers, showing that war is hell for all parties.

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4. The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

Meryl Streep posing for a photo as Clint Eastwood kneels down to take one in The Bridges of Madison County.
Warner Bros.

I consider it’s truthful to say Eastwood isn’t precisely “Mr. Romance.” A lot of the roles he performs are outlaws, motion heroes, or conflicted males who flip to violence to deal with their issues. In a shock transfer, Eastwood traded his gun for a digital camera in The Bridges of Madison County. Based mostly on Robert James Waller’s bestselling novel, The Bridges of Madison County stars Only Murders in the Building’s Meryl Streep as Francesca Johnson, an Italian war bride living with her husband and two children in Iowa in 1965. When her family attends the state fair, Francesca stays home. She meets National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood), who shows up at her doorstep asking for directions to Roseman Bridge.

Over the next four days, Francesca and Robert engage in a love affair that reignites their passions in life. Streep is good in everything, so she unsurprisingly excels as a woman stuck between love and responsibility. However, Eastwood’s performance is the standout, considering how much of a left turn this role was for him. It makes you wish he had directed and starred in more romantic dramas.

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3. Million Greenback Child (2004)

Clint Eastwood stands behind Hillary Swank in the boxing ring.
Warner Bros. Photos

Million Greenback Child isn’t precisely probably the most rewatchable film because of the unhappy tragedy close to the tip. Nonetheless, that doesn’t take away from its standing as an entertaining and nice movie. Aspiring boxer Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary) desires to be coached by the hardened boxing coach Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood). Frankie says he doesn’t prepare ladies, however that doesn’t cease Maggie from exhibiting up at his Los Angeles fitness center.

Ultimately, Frankie agrees to coach Maggie, who shortly reveals promise. Frank, an estranged father, and Maggie, a black sheep in her household, kind a particular bond as their friendship extends exterior the ring. This boxing movie can be gut-wrenching, but its messages about pain, loss, and perseverance will stick with you long after it ends. Million Dollar Baby led to Eastwood’s second Oscar for Best Director and additional wins for Best Picture, Best Actress (Swank), and Best Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman).

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2. Mystic River (2003)

Kevin Bacon and Sean Penn sit on a sidewalk next to each other.
Warner Bros. Photos

Out of his directed movies, Mystic River, a 2003 crime drama based mostly on the novel by Dennis Lehane, options one of the best forged. Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Laura Linney, and Marcia Gay Harden all give some of the best performances of their careers in Mystic River. Ex-con Jimmy Markum (Penn), detective Sean Devine (Bacon), and blue-collar worker Dave Boyle (Robbins) have known each other since they were kids growing up in Boston in the 1970s.

After Jimmy’s daughter Katie (Emmy Rossum) is killed, Dave, who has lived with years of grief after being kidnapped and molested as a child, becomes a suspect. Jimmy wants revenge for his daughter’s death and conducts his own investigation, while Sean races to find the killer before his childhood friend does. Mystic River is a harrowing film because of its grim themes – child abuse, murder, and violence. However, it’s also an arresting examination of the past and the difficulties of living with childhood trauma.

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1. Unforgiven (1992)

Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven.
Warner Bros. Photos

Within the city of Huge Whiskey, Wyoming, a bunch of prostitutes put a bounty on a bunch of cowboys after considered one of them disfigures considered one of their very own, Delilah Fitzgerald (Anna Thomson). The bounty attracts a number of bounty hunters to Huge Whiskey, together with the weathered ex-bandit William Munny (Clint Eastwood), who leads a workforce together with his previous accomplice Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) and “The Schofield Kid” (Jaimz Woolvett). The presence of the bounty hunters in Big Whiskey irks Sheriff Little Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman), who runs the town with an iron fist. The town is too big for Will and Little Bill, leading to an epic showdown between the two alphas. 

Unforgiven is a fascinating mediation on morality, forgiveness, and redemption. Backed by sensational performances from the cast, Unforgiven is Eastwood’s best-directed movie. The Academy agreed, too, considering they awarded the Western with four Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Hackman), and Best Film Editing. 

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