Clint Eastwood has starred in over 60 movies, and directed over 40. In 2010, the Associated Press asked him to name the five favourite movies that he’s directed over the course of his long career. But, being Clint, he came up with six.
The first film that Eastwood mentioned was Bird (1988) – This is Eastwood’s biopic about jazz legend Charlie Parker, starring Forest Whitaker. Eastwood says; “It was a nice story about someone whose musicianship I admired so greatly. It was a good script on the analysis of the self-destructiveness of personality: people who insist on sinking into the abyss. Success, being idolized by other musicians none of it was enough.”
Letters From Iwo Jima (2006) In 2006, Eastwood released two war movies about the battle of Iwo Jima. The first was Flags of Our Fathers, told from the perspective of six American soldiers. The second told the story of the same battle, from the Japanese perspective. Eastwood says; “I was proud of Letters from Iwo Jima. I got the idea of doing it while doing Flags of Our Fathers, which is about the American invasion of the island.
Eastwood continues; “But the film pointed out what it must have been like to have been one of the defenders of the island to have been there, and been told not to plan on returning home. What a difficult request to make of people. Also, the Japanese soldiers were facing certain annihilation. They never gave up hope. A lot of them would have loved to have been out of the war and home, just like soldiers from any nation.”
Million Dollar Baby (2004) This film won four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actress. It stars Hilary Swank as a boxer and Eastwood as her reluctant trainer. Eastwood says; “It appealed to me because it was a story regarding family a search for the daughter he never had a relationship with, and the search for the father that was no longer there for her. They were both sort of reticent, and ended up putting themselves through the most emotional test possible.”
Mystic River (2003) This drama movie is about childhood friends reunited by tragedy in an insular part of Boston, and won two acting Oscars. Eastwood says; “I liked the book and the screenplay by Brian Helgeland. The way sometimes fate deals a bad hand, and it just keeps getting worse and worse, and there is nothing anyone can do. No amount of sane advice can stop the train.”
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) This stars Eastwood as a Missouri farmer out for revenge after the Civil War. Eastwood says; “It was the first Western I had done in some time, since the 1960s Leone movies. It came out in the ’70s when the country was restless about Vietnam. It addressed the divisiveness of war, and how it can tear at heart and soul. But it also dealt with the rejuvenation of a cynic, re-instilling his life with purpose, and with a surrogate family.”
Unforgiven (1992) This movie also won four Oscars, including Best Picture. Eastwood plays a retired gunslinger in this Western, taking on one last job. Eastwood says; “I loved the Unforgiven script. You had to get a ways into it before you knew who was the protagonist and who was the antagonist. Even the villains, with the exceptions of the renegade cowboys, had good points to their character, and had dreams. Little Bill (played by Gene Hackman) just wanted a peaceful life. He believed he was doing the right thing. The film dealt with issues – gun control, and the struggles people have within.’ The hero went against instinct. It was a very rich story, involving loyalty to friends, family and rationalizing deeds. It was a very intelligent script.”
So, there you have Clint Eastwood’s favourite movies from his own directing career. Check out our guide to the best movies of all time.