external image clint-eastwood.jpg Clint Eastwood

Group members: Ryan W and Will O


Clint Eastwood was born in 1930 in San Fransisco. The first time he ever performed lines on a camera, he choked and was thrown out of the movie.Obviously, that was not a sign of things to come. His first breakthrough as an actor was in "Rawhide" (1959) playing a supporting character called Rowdy Yates. From that point on, Clint Eastwood became a household name and one of the best actors of the 20th century.

Eastwood found even bigger and better things "A Fistful of Dollars", and "For a Few Dollars More". But it was the second sequel to "A Fistful of Dollars" where he found one of his trademark roles: "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". The movie was a big hit and he became an instant international star. 1971 proved to be his best year in films. He starred in the thriller "Play Misty for Me" and "The Beguiled" . But it was his role in "Dirty Harry" that the "lose-cannon" cop facade to Eastwood (one that is still imitated today). Eastwood also found work in American revisionist westerns like "High Plains Drifter", "Joe Kidd", and "Hang 'Em High". However, Eastwood acted in even more legendary films. The first was "The Enforcer" and "The Outlaw Josey Wales" ,perhaps one of the greatest westerns of all time. However, in the late seventies, most of his films bombed at the box office, and it wouldn't be until the nineties that his career would be revived.

The nineties were a career defining decade for Eastwood, who had gone from acting to directing. "Unforgiven" garnered him an Oscar for director and picture, and nomination for best actor. Then he took on the secret service in "In the Line of Fire", which was a big hit, followed by the interesting drama, "A Perfect World". Next up was a love story, "The Bridges of Madison County", but it soon became apparent he was going backwards after his brief revival. Since "The Bridges of Madison County," his films have been good but not always successful at the Box Office. Among them were the badly received "True Crime" and "Blood Work", and the well-received "Space Cowboys". But he did have a big success directing "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil".

His greatest success has come from a string of recent movies. "Mystic River" was nominated for two Oscars, and "Million Dollar Baby" won Best Picture and Best Director. More recently, "Letters From Iwo Jima" received nominations for two Academy Awards, and "Flags of Our Fathers" was very well received.

Eastwood has seven children, has been married twice.

Film Content & Themes

In Clint Eastwood's films, he uses a variation and repetition of characters and themes. He bases his themes off of this preoccupation with American cultural identity and the ways in which he has developed his own star image. A common theme of this movies is the triumphant underdog. The characters featured in Eastwood's films usually fight to achieve their dreams such as in Million Dollar Baby (2004). Essentially, the characters portrayed in his movies are fighting to live the American Dream. Another theme that is often portrayed in his films is the harsh realities of life. In "Unforgiven" (1992) Eastwood goes to great length to show the reality of the "wild west". Rather than a romantic version, he brings the issues that nobody wants to talk about to the forefront.

Style / Vision

Clint Eastwood's style has been recognized as consistent and idiosyncratic. Eastwood's own directorial style was heavily influenced by five Don Siegel movies that he starred in including Coogan's Bluff in 1968. Eastwood said, "Every picture takes on its own style, I get into the film and then I get the look of it as it comes, rather than having a constant style that goes through each film, putting a mark on it." The visual style of Eastwood follows the guidelines set out in the quote above, he tailors his work differently for each film he shoots. Some characteristics of his visual style includes hand-held camerawork, tracking shots, aerial photography, and low camera placement.

Analysis of Key Film

Letters From Iwo Jima

Though it did not win any Oscars (although it was nominated for two). One thing that immediately separates this movie from all other movies is the point of view that the story is told from. There are not many films that portray the Axis powers during WWII, but this portrays an ordinary soldier in the Japanese defense of Iwo Jima.The movie is entirely in Japanese, adding to its realism, which helps the viewer connect with the main character. High Angles and Close Ups are abundant in this film. Close Ups emphasize the violence and horror of war, but from the Japanese point of view. The suicide scenes are especially powerful as well. High angles are mainly used to show Saigo's vulnerability and powerlessness not only to stop the Americans, but to also stop his comrades from taking their own life instead of fighting the Americans. Overall, Eastwood does a fantastic job of capturing the desperation and will of the Japanese in the battle for Iwo Jima.

Million Dollar Baby

This film won the Academy Award best picture in 2006. It tells the story of Maggie Fitzgerald and Frankie Dunn, as they strive to win a title in women's boxing. Maggie and Frankie both have major problems from their past, but boxing allows an escape to these problems. Maggie comes from a poor trailer park family in Missouri, and Frankie has major relationship problems with his daughter. Together, though, they form a close relationship and work their way to the top. Sadly, Maggie suffers a sever spinal cord injury that paralyzes her from the neck down. After this injury the viewers sees Frankie take on a new role as Maggie's father, and Maggie becomes the duaghter Frankie has always wanted to have. Eastwood does a great job with this film, especially with the way he uses varoius and different angles to shoot this film.

Major Films & Awards

Major Films-
  • Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)
  • Million Dollar Baby (2004)
  • Mystic River (2003)
  • Space Cowboys (2000)
  • True Crime (1999)
  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
  • The Bridges of Madison County (1995)
  • Unforgiven (1992)

Major Awards-
  • Best Picture-Million Dollar Baby (2006)
  • Best Director-Million Dollar Baby (2006)
  • Best Picture-Unforgiven (1992)
  • Best Director-Unforgiven (1992)
  • AFI-Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Golden Globe-Million Dollar Baby (2006)
  • Golden Globe-Unforgiven (1992)
  • Golden Globe-Bird (1988)
  • César Award-Million Dollar Baby (2006)
  • César Award-Mystic River (2003)

Visuals / Trailers


Letters From Iwo Jima-2006

Million Dollar Baby-2006

Mystic River-2003

Sources / Links


Image Sources

www.californiamuseum.org/. ../clint-eastwood.jpg

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