4 Great Films Clint Eastwood Directed Before ‘American Sniper’
Clint Eastwood has made headlines throughout his entire career in Hollywood. The 84-year-old superstar has spent over 50 years in the limelight, starring in countless hit films and portraying iconic movie roles like The Man with No Name and Dirty Harry. But Eastwood isn’t just known for his acting prowess — he’s also made a name for himself as a director and producer. Last weekend, his most recent film — the war biopic American Sniper — broke January box office records. Here are four other movies that prove he’s left an indelible mark as a Hollywood filmmaker.
1. Play Misty For Me (1971)
This psychological thriller was Eastwood’s first foray into directing. In Play Misty For Me, Eastwood plays a radio DJ who has a casual affair with Evelyn, an obsessed fan played by Jessica Walter. The film was praised by critics and enjoyed modest success — a little over $106 million — at the box office. More importantly, Misty proved that Eastwood had chops as a director and paved the way for his future projects.
2. Unforgiven (1992)
Eastwood helped make the Old West cool again, and racked up numerous accolades, with this dark drama. Unforgiven tells the story of Walter Munny (Eastwood), an aging former outlaw who returns to his life of crime one last time in an attempt to gain money for his family. This gritty western featured a powerful ensemble, including Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris, and Gene Hackman, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance. Unforgiven won three other Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Eastwood.
3. Mystic River (2003)
When Eastwood took on the adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s popular crime novel, he once again proved he had a gift for directing even some of Hollywood’s most seasoned and talented actors. The film follows the lives of three men who were once childhood friends, and shows how one traumatic event can shape the lives of many. It stars Sean Penn as Jimmy Markum, a reformed criminal who’s overcome with a grief-stricken search for vengeance after his young daughter is murdered. The film, which was widely praised by critics, also stars Kevin Bacon as Jimmy’s the detective assigned to the case, and Tim Robbins as a troubled former child abuse victim. Both Penn and Robbins won Oscars for their performances.
4. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Clint Eastwood has never shied away from difficult subject matter, whether behind the camera or in front of it. With Million Dollar Baby, he told a devastating story — and created one of his most beloved films to date. Eastwood plays Frankie Dunn, a boxing trainer who’s haunted by his past. He takes Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), an amateur boxer, under his wing and trains her with the help of another former boxer, Eddie Dupris (Morgan Freeman). Million Dollar Baby earned nearly universal praise, as well as a slew of awards. Swank and Freeman both won Oscars for their performances, and earned Eastwood another set of Best Director and Best Picture trophies.