10 best movies from Clint Eastwood, so let’s start with the number 10.
Two Mules For Sister Sara 1970
En route to help a camp of Mexican revolutionaries battle the French army, a gunslinger named Hogan (Eastwood) rescues a nun (Shirley MacLaine) from being raped by a group of men.
As the interesting friendship blossoms between the two, Hogan begins to suspect that the nun is not all that she appears to be. Two Mules for Sister Sara marked the second of five collaborations between Eastwood and Dirty Harry (1971) director Don Siegel – the other filmmaker Eastwood dedicated his first Oscar-winning movie to.
Hang ‘Em High 1968
The first movie produced by Eastwood, Hang ‘Em High focuses on one of the most common, powerful, and pure themes in Westerns – revenge. When Jed Cooper (Eastwood) is wrongfully accused of cattle rustling by a nine-man posse, he’s hanged and nearly killed before a marshal (Ben Johnson) saves him just in time.
Pale Rider 1985
A character shrouded in mystery, Eastwood plays a nameless preacher who comes to the aid of a small prospecting town being bullied by Coy LaHood (Richard Dysart) – the greedy head of a large mining company trying to obtain the town’s land.
After the preacher refuses to be intimidated by LaHood’s goons, a couple of which are played by Chris Penn (Reservoir Dogs) and Richard Kiel (Moonraker, Happy Gilmore), the town refuses to accept LaHood’s negotiating terms, leading to an exciting climactic showdown.
High Plains Drifter 1973
The first Western directed by Eastwood, the dark story in High Plains Drifter once again sees Eastwood star as a nameless stranger who drifts into a small mining town in need of protection from violent goons.
The people of the fictional California town of Lago initially disapprove of The Stranger after he kills three of their protectors, but when he demonstrates his skills as a gunslinger, they hire him to protect them from three vindictive outlaws. The Stranger accepts with ulterior motives, as the townspeople unknowingly have a connection to his past.
The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976
In Civil War era movies, Union soldiers are typically protagonists and Confederates typically antagonists, but this isn’t the case in The Outlaw Josey Wales, which sees the peaceful farmer Josey Wales (Eastwood) seeking revenge on the vicious Union soldiers who murdered his wife and young son in Missouri.
A Fistful Of Dollars 1964
Eastwood’s first of three movies with legendary spaghetti Western director Sergio Leone, A Fistful of Dollars provided Eastwood with his first starring role in a feature as Joe (AKA The Man With No Name).
When Joe arrives in the Mexican village of San Miguel, he quickly gets caught in the middle of a longstanding feud between the Rojos and the Baxters – two powerful smuggler families fighting for control of the town. It’s not long before Joe plays the rivals against each other for his own benefit.
The movie that earned Eastwood his first two Academy Awards (Best Picture and Best Director) Unforgiven stars Eastwood as Will Munny, a farmer long-since retired from his gunslinging days to raise his children after their mother’s passing.
When Munny’s old partner (Morgan Freeman) convinces him to help with one last job, they set out to claim the reward offered by a group of prostitutes who want revenge on the men who violently disfigured her, but in an Oscar-winning role for Gene Hackman, the town’s sheriff has vowed to kill vigilantes carrying out justice.
For A Few Dollars More 1965
The second installment in Leone’s Dollars trilogy stars Eastwood as a bounty hunter nicknamed Monco (another variation on The Man With No Name), this time alongside fellow bounty hunter Col. Douglas Mortimer, played by another spaghetti Western great in Lee Van Cleef (Escape From New York).
Paint Your Wagon 1969
When a wagon crashes into a ravine, prospector Ben Rumson finds two adult male occupants, brothers, one of whom is dead and the other of whom has a broken arm and leg. While burying the dead man, gold dust is discovered at the grave site. Ben stakes a claim on the land and adopts the surviving brother as his “Pardner” while he recuperates.
Pardner is innocent and romantic, illustrated by him singing a love song about a girl named Elisa (“I Still See Elisa“), who he later confesses exists only in his imagination. Pardner is a farmer who hopes to make enough in the gold rush to buy some land, and is suspicious of the drunken and seemingly amoral Ben. Ben claims that while he is willing to fight, steal, and cheat at cards, his system of ethics does not allow him to betray a partner. Ben will share the spoils of prospecting on the condition that Pardner takes care of him in his moments of drunkenness and melancholy.
AND FINALLY NUMBER 1
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
In 1862, during the American Civil War, a trio of bounty hunters attempt to kill fugitive Mexican bandit Tuco Ramírez. Tuco shoots the three bounty hunters and escapes on horseback. Elsewhere, a mercenary known as “Angel Eyes” interrogates former Confederate soldier Stevens, whom Angel Eyes is contracted to kill, about Jackson, a fugitive who stole a cache of Confederate gold. Angel Eyes makes Stevens tell him the new name Jackson is using: Bill Carson. Stevens offers Angel Eyes $1,000 to kill Baker, Angel Eyes’s employer. Angel Eyes accepts the new commission, but also kills Stevens as he leaves, fulfilling his contract with Baker. He then returns to Baker, collects his fee for killing Stevens, and then shoots Baker, fulfilling his commission from Stevens. Meanwhile, Tuco is rescued from three bounty hunters by a nameless drifter to whom Tuco refers as “Blondie”, who delivers him to the local sheriff to collect his $2,000 bounty. As Tuco is about to be hanged, Blondie severs Tuco’s noose by shooting it, and sets him free. The two escape on horseback and split the bounty in a lucrative money-making scheme. They repeat the process in another town for more reward money. Blondie grows weary of Tuco’s complaints, and abandons him without horse or water in the desert. Tuco manages to walk to a village, and then tracks Blondie to a town occupied by Confederate troops. Tuco holds Blondie at gunpoint, planning to force him to hang himself, but Union forces shell the town, allowing Blondie to escape.
Following an arduous search, Tuco recaptures Blondie and force-marches him across a desert until Blondie collapses from dehydration. As Tuco prepares to shoot him, he sees a runaway carriage. Inside are several dead Confederate soldiers and a near-death Bill Carson, who promises Tuco $200,000 in Confederate gold, buried in a grave in Sad Hill Cemetery. Tuco demands to know the name on the grave, but Carson collapses from thirst before answering. When Tuco returns with water, Carson has died and Blondie, slumped next to him, reveals that Carson recovered and told him the name on the grave before dying. Tuco, who now has strong motivation to keep Blondie alive, gives him water and takes him to a nearby frontier mission, where his brother is the Abbot, to recover.