Looking back at the Hollywood actor’s legacy of path-breaking films on the occasion of his 91st birthday.
By Kota Saumya
June 5, 2021
Whenever there is a talk of Westerns, the first movie to crop up in anyone’s mind would be the iconic 1966 film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and who can forget the actor who starred in these movies… The Man with no Name – Clint Eastwood.
The legendary actor, who turned 91 on May 31, has gone on to become one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. With four Oscars, four Golden Globes and three Cesar awards, the actor has not only starred in some path-breaking films, but also directed films like Million Dollar Baby, American Sniper, Invictus, and Richard Jewell that were critically-acclaimed films on their own.
Clint Eastwood played the famous character (Man with no name) in the three spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone – A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Interestingly, Clint has outlived his other two co-stars from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Eli Wallach (Tuco) aka the Ugly and Lee Van Cleef (Angel Eyes) aka The Bad.
The last film in the trilogy changed the way Hollywood perceived Westerns and catapulted Clint to stardom. The film’s title track by Ennio Morricone remains an evergreen classic. There was something about Clint’s weathered poncho, the lovable-yet-despicable Tuco’s silver tooth and sheer terror of Angel Eye’s spurs clinking on floorboards caught the audience’s imagination. A backdrop of Civil War and the cinematography which captured extreme closeups of characters adding to their rough persona and the vast and arid landscape really took the film to another level.
The film cemented Clint’s already rising fame and he became a sex symbol exuding a lazy masculinity that set pulses racing whenever he wielded a pistol onscreen as a Western outlaw or an antihero cop with his own brand of justice in the Dirty Harry films.
Some of his most famous films are Hang Em’ High (1968), Every Which Way but Loose (1978), Escape from Alcatraz (1979), Pale Rider (1985), apart from his directorial ventures like the Western Unforgiven (1992), Mystic River (2003), Changeling (2008) and American Sniper (2014).
The actor also dabbled in politics when he served as a Mayor for Carmel-by-the-Sea in California. He has been married twice. Once to Maggie Johnson and then later to Sondra Locke. He has eight known children, many of whom have gone to become actors themselves.
Best non-Western movies
* Million Dollar Baby (2004)
* Dirty Harry (1971)
* Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
* Where Eagles Dare (1968)
* In the Line of Fire (1993)
Best Western films
* A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
* For a Few Dollars More (1965)
* The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
* Hang ‘Em High (1967)
* Pale Rider (1985)
* Unforgiven (1992)