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Films

The 5 best Clint Eastwood films on Netflix

Clint Eastwood is a creative force to be reckoned with. Over his iconic career, this veteran actor and filmmaker has cemented his legacy as an iconic figure in the western genre and ventured into various other genres, many of which have not been too favourable. 

With a career sprawling over nearly seven decades, Eastwood debuted in 1955 in Francis in the Navy and Revenge of the Creature, before having his massive breakthrough in the TV western Rawhide in 1958. He soon became an icon in the western genre with Sergio Leone’s The Dollar Trilogy

In 1971, Eastwood made his directorial debut with the psychological thriller, Play Misty For Me, which starred Jessica Walter and Donna Mills. Decades later, he found himself taking the experimental road. From being a part of the adventure film While Hunter Black Heart to a buddy cop classic The Rookie. 

Eastwood has also appeared in Unforgiven, A Perfect World, The Bridges of Madison Country, Line of Fire, True Crime, In the Garden of Good etc. Recently, he appeared in the 2019 film Richard Jewell, starring Olivia Wilde and Kathy Bates, and the commercial failure Cry Macho

On the Hollywood legend’s 92nd birthday, let us look at his five best films on Netflix.

The 5 best Clint Eastwood films on Netflix 

5. High Plains Drifter (Clint Eastwood, 1973)

Inspired by the works of some of the greatest western filmmakers and longtime Clint Eastwood collaborators, Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, the film saw him as a gun-slinging drifter who agrees to help a town battle a band of hooligans with a hidden agenda of his own. 

Dark and violent with a morally grey protagonist, the film was a hit among genre enthusiasts. However, Western legend John Wayne hated the movie, as revealed by Eastwood, and even sent him a letter expressing his disdain for the film. 

4. The Outlaw Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood, 1976)

Clint Eastwood directed and starred as the titular lead in this subversive classic. He plays an ex-Confederate guerilla war veteran who forges a ragtag team of sorts while escaping the ruthless pursuit of bounty hunters and Union soldiers. 

Released when the Western genre was on the decline, the film defied all odds to become an instant hit. Immensely popular on Netflix, the film is steeped in Civil War politics and has a scathing anti-war message. According to Eastwood, the movie “saw the parallels to the modern-day at that time” where people get “tired of it, but it never ends”.

3. Dirty Harry (Don Siegel, 1971)

Clint Eastwood stars as the titular swashbuckling San Francisco cop assigned to take down a crazy psychopath called the Scorpio killer. Flaunting a crisp suit, a short revolver and an enviable on-screen presence, Eastwood saunters from a typical Western actor to a hardened, anti-hero cop in the influential crime film. 

Eastwood bagged the role after it was rejected by Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, and Steve McQueen. The film became a defining moment in the icon’s career as it helped elevate him about fixed stereotypes into a new genre.  

2. The Bridges of Madison County (Clint Eastwood, 1995)

Based on Robert James Waller’s eponymous 1992 bestseller, this Eastwood film stars him in the lead alongside the iconic Meryl Streep. Set in 1965, a photojournalist meanders into the lives of an Italian war bride and her family. Soon, their unbridled attraction leads to a torrid love affair which the children later discover via her journals. 

With voluminous silences and vivid imagery, the film deals with taboo topics while emphasising the effect of separation and isolation on the human heart. Passionate, moving and mature, it is an epic love story that is fascinatingly well-executed by Eastwood and the rest of the cast and crew.    

1. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (Sergio Leone, 1966)

Sergio Leone is the crème de la crème in the Western genre, and alongside Eastwood, he created classics that have left indelible imprints on the sands of time. One of the greatest Spaghetti westerns of all time and the final film of Leone’s much-adored The Dollars Trilogy, the film saw Eastwood and Eli Wallach form an unlikely partnership as they try to find the legendary gold hidden in a cemetery. 

With Ennio Morricone’s evocative and unforgettable score, Leone’s brilliant storytelling, along with incredible performances from the actors, make a terrific film. A realistic morality play, it is as brutal and captivating as a model Western should be.