YMMV / Dirty Harry


  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Many viewers agree with Harry's tough, aggressive methods, whereas others seem to find fascist undertones in the film.
  • Awesome Moments: When Harry finally kills Scorpio, ending his rampage. Audiences leapt to their feet and cheered.
  • Complete Monster: Charles Davis, better known as The Scorpio Killer, is a psychotic madman who kills for money, but mainly for his own amusement. After sniping a swimming woman, he demands $100,000 in payment or he will continue his killing spree. After he is foiled in another killing attempt, he murders a young boy and then makes an attempt to kill a priest, killing a police officer in the process. He then kidnaps a 14-year-old girl and buries her alive, demanding a ransom in exchange for her life. When Harry Callahan arrives with the money, Scorpio strikes him down and reveals that he was going to let the girl die anyways. The police find the girl, but are unable to save her life. Scorpio's final gambit is to hold a school bus full of children hostage, planning to kill them all. Upon being foiled by Callahan, Scorpio threatens to shoot a young boy fishing. He finally attempts to shoot Callahan before being shot dead. Cowardly and sadistic, Scorpio provides a contrast with loose cannon cop Harry Callahan, who, despite his methods, ultimately aimed to give criminals apt punishments when the bureaucratic justice system wouldn't.
  • First Installment Wins: The first film is easily the one that has retained the greatest stature in pop culture, to the point that some people forget that "Go ahead, make my day" didn't originate from it.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Scorpio crosses the line when he gleefully shoots children.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Harry's gun firing. So much that it was used in The Terminator (Orion Pictures version), Death Wish 3 (Paul Kersey's .475 Wildey Magnum), Young Indiana Jones, Lethal Enforcers (the player's default gun), DonPachi (when the game tallies up the player's bomb stock), Resident Evil (Barry Burton's gun in the FMV intro), and Project X Zone (Mii Koryuji's Dragon Jewel rifle in the opening).
  • Narm: The Dirty Harry franchise has had its unintentionally funny moments:
  • Sequelitis: General consensus seems to be that each film is successively weaker than the last, although there are some who argue that Sudden Impact is better than The Enforcer was.
  • Technology Marches On: The most powerful handgun in the world. In fairness, the claim is only made in the initial movie, but an upgrade is made to the .44 AutoMag in Sudden Impact. Given that handguns have gone up to impractical calibres even for action movies, he goes back to his famous S&W revolver for The Dead Pool.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Despite Siegel and Eastwood disavowing any political intent, Dirty Harry was extremely controversial when released. Critics (notably Pauline Kael) attacked it as a "fascist" endorsement of police brutality, the ACLU and other liberal organizations picketed its premiere, and the press savaged it both for its alleged politics and graphic violence. However, this backlash redounded to its benefit, as conservative viewers (including police organizations and Richard Nixon, who invited Eastwood to the White House after seeing it) loved the movie for the same reasons liberals hated it.
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