Top 10 Antiheroes

By August 13, 2012Top 10 Lists

9. Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry (1971)

Clint Eastwood pretty much set the bar for the loose cannon cop who doesn’t play by the rules. Inspector Harry Callahan’s cynical view of the world has left him with no choice but to operate outside of the law. He must cross ethical boundaries in order to pursue the justice he feels is good enough, since the higher powers are too inept to satisfy. Sure, he kills unarmed men and tortures criminals for information but these are all bad men and he is doing it for the greater good. Harry has to do what he has to do to save the missing girl. He has been suspended, demoted and transferred by his superiors for his personal methods at achieving justice, but we admire him because this does not appear to have hampered him at all. In a way, Eastwood presents us with a modern western where you “shoot first and ask questions later,” and it’s as if he sees something that his superiors do not.  For example, when he tells the Mayor that he would shoot a man if he saw him chasing a woman with the intent to rape, the Mayor asks “Intent? How did you establish that?” Callahan replies with “When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher’s knife and a hard-on, I figure he isn’t out collecting for the Red Cross.”

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