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Film: The Gauntlet
some caption text

Clint Eastwood's own Deconstruction of the Cowboy Cop image.

Ben Shockley (Eastwood) is a Phoenix cop whose dream of hitting "the big case" has been ruined by a few too many glasses of Jack Daniels. Which, of course, means that he's the one being chosen to escort a prostitute named Augustina "Gus" Mally across state lines to a "nothing" trial at which she is to testify. However, Mally is convinced that Shockley was only sent so they could get rid of him, and, after a few incidents involving a racehorse bet and the destruction of Mally's own house (with them in it), Shockley learns that Mally not only has mob ties, but also has incriminating evidence against a high figure in Phoenix society. And this figure has employed Shockley's own boss, the corrupt commissioner Blakelock, to ensure that neither of them return to Phoenix.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Action Survivor
  • All Bikers Are Hell's Angels
  • Attempted Rape
  • Bodyguard Crush
  • Chase Scene: Eastwood and The Chick are pursued at some length by a helicopter containing some mafia mooks.
  • Cowboy Cop: Punctured wonderfully. Shockley's a disposable alcoholic who is sent out only so the people involved can get rid of him.
  • Gender-Blender Name: When Shockley first turns up for his prisoner, he's told there's no guy called Gus Mally.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Not played for fanservice — a police officer starts going on to Gus about how he'd like to see her having sex with another girl — Shockley loses his temper and starts Pistol-Whipping him. Later when Gus is molested by the bikers, a female biker gets in on the action too.
  • Hellish Copter: The mob guys' chopper flies into some powerlines.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Subverted; Shockley bluffs some bikers at gunpoint into handing over their bikes; he later runs into them again and gets beaten up.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: Gus to Ben, near the very end.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: When the bus is driving down the street, none of the shooters with automatic weapons hits either Eastwood or Locke.
  • More Dakka: Three times! First a mob of cops mows down a house. Then later, the Mooks fill a cop car with more lead than a Chinese toy factory. The final time, Eastwood drives a bus to city hall with heavy iron plates over the driver seat while the entire Phoenix police department gets trigger happy.
  • Show Some Leg: The Chick opens up her shirt to distract bikers from beating up Clint Eastwood. Accompanied by I Shall Taunt You to make them look.
  • Title Drop: Near the end, when it comes time to run the gauntlet to get to the courthouse, it is referred to as such.


Fun With Dick And JaneFilms of the 1970sThe Guy From Harlem

alternative title(s): The Gauntlet
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