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Clint Eastwood tried to change the ending to one of his best movies

Clint Eastwood didn't like how one of his best movies came to a close, and butted heads with the director of the thriller movie before a decision was made.

Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry

Many of the best movies ever made feature Clint Eastwood. You’re pretty much guaranteed one of the best Westerns or best thriller movies if he signs on. That said, his perspective doesn’t always work for the overall story, as evidenced by one suggestion he had for Dirty Harry.


The legendary Clint Eastwood movie features the actor as rogue cop Harry Callahan, who’s trying to capture a serial killer in San Francisco. Throughout the plot, Harry’s encumbered by the law and what he’s allowed to do, ultimately eschewing the book in order to get the Scorpio Killer his way.

Andrew Robinson, who portrayed the Scorpio Killer opposite Eastwood, told Rue Morgue about a disagreement over the ending. “There was a big fight between Don and Clint about what to do about the badge at the very end of the film,” he explains. “Scorpio is dead and floating in the pond. There was a question about, does Harry take his badge? Does he throw it away? And Don and I felt that he had to throw it away, because he’s an outlier, he’s a vigilante. He’s a guy who’s from another code of justice and honor.”

Eastwood wanted Harry to keep his badge, because he’s all about justice, no matter what it costs. “[Eastwood] pushed back, he said, ‘Why am I throwing this away? I’m a law-and-order guy’,” Robinson recalled.

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He added he was glad director Don Siegel won out, and honestly, so are we. There’s real impact in seeing Harry turn away from the force, understanding they were ill-equipped to handle a murderer like Scorpio. It’s one of many moments where Dirty Harry cements itself as one of the best drama movies of all time.

Eastwood would return to his disgruntled detective for four more installments, before laying the character to rest. Keep an eye on our new movies guide to see legends are being made in the here and now, and our best detective movies list has more hard case to solve.