Clint Eastwood is a man of few words, and he makes each one count on screen. We hang on every one of his lines, delivered with quiet intensity in that gravelly voice.
Though Eastwood has appeared in a few films in recent years, we’re more likely to find him behind the camera these days. He directed the Oscar-winning 2014 war drama American Sniper, 2016’s acclaimed biopic Sully, 2018’s The Mule which recounts the story of a veteran who becomes a drug mule and the critically lauded biopic Richard Jewell about the Olympic bombing.
Eastwood is 91 and showing no signs of slowing down. His most recent movie, Cry Macho, a neo-Western adaptation of the 1975 novel of the same name is in theaters and on HBO Max Sept. 17.
Related: Clint Eastwood Says He Has No Plans to Retire
To honor his legacy as an actor and filmmaker, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite classic Clint Eastwood quotes—from his movie lines to his advice on life.
Clint Eastwood quotes
“When you’re young, you’re very reckless…Then you get conservative. Then you get reckless again.” —to Parade
On how he likes being called an icon: “Well, I don’t know. I guess it’s better than being called Hey you.” —to Esquire
“I was going to college in 1950. L.A. City College. A guy I knew was going to an acting class on Thursday nights. He started telling me about all the good-lookin’ chicks and said, “Why don’t you go with me?” So I probably had some motivation beyond thoughts of being an actor. And sure enough, he was right. There were a lot of girls and not many guys. I said, ‘Yeah, they need me here.’ I wound up at Universal as a contract player.” —to Esquire
“Nowadays you look at guys and they’ve got to act tough. I never felt I needed to do that. I remember once meeting (world heavyweight boxing champion) Rocky Marciano and he was the toughest guy in the room – not just a great boxer but a roughhouse fighter. He shook hands with me and it was like shaking hands with a jelly. He didn’t try and break your knuckles because he didn’t need to show me he was the great Rocky Marciano, he was just another guy. I thought, ‘That’s true masculinity.’” —to
“I think aging for me has been OK. Our modern society — especially in the West, and especially now — reveres youth. So, that’s what can make aging scary for some men — that idea that aging makes everything more difficult.
“But that’s not the case. Sure, there are some aspects of life that become more difficult, some things you lose. But I feel there are some things and some aspects of my life that I do better or handle better at 80 than I ever did before.” —to AskMen
“I honestly expected to retire from acting 30 years ago. I thought, if I could just get this directing thing to work, I might be OK. But I still keep coming back to acting because I occasionally find some material that challenges me and makes me want to work again.” —to AskMen
“As you get older, you’re not afraid of doubt. Doubt isn’t running the show. You take out all the self-agonizing.” —to Esquire
“People love westerns worldwide. There’s something fantasylike about an individual fighting the elements. Or even bad guys and the elements. It’s a simpler time. There’s no organized laws and stuff.” —to Esquire
“Smaller details are less important. Let’s get on with the important stuff.” —to Esquire
“I don’t want to repeat what I did in the last decade or the decade before that.” —to Variety
“I bagged groceries for 34 cents an hour. I’m not in it for the dough.” —to Parade
—”I didn’t know where I wanted to be until I was drafted in the Army. I got out and I knew that I had to do something.” —to Parade
— “If you’re down, you’ve got to find your way to get back up. I don’t know how to tell a person to do that. But I do know you have to be positive and keep working and on it—don’t give up early.. I’m basically a positive person. I like looking at how to correct something that doesn’t work. Something can always be done.”