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Clint Eastwood reveals the key to making a great movie

Clint Eastwood has made enough of the best movies that he knows what goes into a great one, and he once revealed something integral to the writing.

Clint Eastwood in Heartbreak Ridge

Clint Eastwood has made some of the best movies of all time. Over the course of his career, spanning multiple decades and including Westerns, thriller movies, drama movies, and plenty more besides, he’s seen many highs and lows. In that time, he’s developed a sense of makes a good film, and there’s one rule he believes helps any picture.

He revealed that rule to Roger Ebert. “The stronger the participation of the female characters, the better the movie,” Eastwood said. “They knew that in the old days, when women stars were equally as important as men. Hepburn, Davis, Colbert. They had great faces and great voices.”

He adds that Hollywood gradually forgot that, to filmmaking’s great detriment. “By the 1950s, somehow all the female roles became sort of glorified gals in blue jeans at the next-door barbecue,” he states. “They’d lost their strength. Now they get a few lines, a little sex scene, and that’s the end of it. I’m a lot more interested in women than that.”

This conversation was on the back of Heartbreak Ridge, a war movie about a veteran who leads a ramshackle platoon during the US invasion of Geneva. They discuss that in the film, Eastwood’s character doesn’t have great social skills because of his service, something he laments.

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“He loses his wife, and now he’s getting out of the service,” Eastwood describes, “and he comes back to see her, and she says, quite rightly, ‘The only reason you’re coming back to me is that you’re losing the Corps.’ Maybe also he’s old enough now to realise some of the things he missed out on as a kid.”

Heavy-hitting stuff, just what you’d expect from someone like Eastwood. Our new movies guide will keep you informed on future legends, and our best TV series list has plenty of small screen recommendations for you.