Director: Don Siegel
Writer: Harry Julian Fink (screenplay), Rita M. Fink (screenplay), Dean Riesner (screenplay), Harry Julian Fink (story), Rita M. Fink (story)
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Harry Guardino, Reni Santoni, John Vernon
Runtime: 102 min
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Released: 23 Dec 1971
Synopsis: In the year 1971, San Francisco faces the terror of a maniac known as Scorpio- who snipes at innocent victims and demands ransom through notes left at the scene of the crime. Inspector Harry Callahan (known as Dirty Harry by his peers through his reputation handling of homicidal cases) is assigned to the case along with his newest partner Inspector Chico Gonzalez to track down Scorpio and stop him. Using humiliation and cat and mouse type of games against Callahan, Scorpio is put to the test with the cop with a dirty attitude.
The film opens with a scrolling shot of a marble wall: a tribute to all the officers killed in the line of duty in the city of San Francisco.
The shot of the wall fades into the silenced barrel of a rifle, and a long, dark-haired Caucasian man staring down it. Through the scope and the cross-hairs, we see his target: a young, beautiful blond woman, swimming in a rooftop pool. He follows her with his sights for a moment before pulling the trigger, hitting her in the back. She flails in agony in the water, and the pool slowly fills with her blood as she dies.
Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) enters the rooftop pool area as the title cards roll. Harry inspects the dead body and looks up to the probable area of the shooter. He walks down the street to the building and up to the roof. He walks over to where he figures the shooter was stationed, looks down and across the street at the pool. Looking down, Harry finds a shell casing. Using a pen, he carefully picks it up and places it in an evidence bag. As he stands, he sees a piece of paper speared on a television antenna. He reads it and realizes what it is.
“I know what you’re thinking, punk. You’re thinking, did he fire six shots, or only five? Now, to tell you the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and it’ll blow your head clean off! You’ve gotta ask yourself a question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do you, punk?”
Scorpio thinks for a moment, then giggles madly and reaches for his pistol. Harry fires, shooting Scorpio in the chest. The psychopathic killer falls into the water and floats there, dead. Scorpio had unwisely called Harry’s bluff – and paid for it with his life.
Sirens wail in the distance. Harry takes out his badge. He pulls his gold star out of the leather fold and looks at it for a moment before throwing it into the water. The camera pans away from Harry as he walks away and the credits roll.