There’s an argument to be made that Clint Eastwood’s career is the most enduring in Hollywood history. It started with a recurring role on the Western TV series “Rawhide,” which premiered in 1959, and continues through 2021’s “Cry Macho,” which Eastwood directed, produced, and starred in – at age 90 years old! (These are the actors with the longest careers.)
No less accomplished behind the camera than in front of it, he produced and directed numerous Oscar-winning films and commercial successes over several decades. Oh, and did we mention he’s also a songwriter and composer with a slew of soundtrack credits to his name?
Although he tackled just about every type of character or subject, Eastwood’s legacy remains closely tied to the two subgenres he helped reinvent: revisionist westerns and crime thrillers. His early collaborations with director Sergio Leone introduced a new type of protagonist, whose rugged individualism contrasted sharply with the patriotic nobility of John Wayne. (See where Eastwood’s efforts rank among best western movies of all time).
Along the same lines, “Dirty” Harry Callahan was a unique breed of law enforcement officer, the kind not afraid to break a few rules – or a few thumbs – in their pursuit of justice.
That said, Eastwood is no stranger to the occasional rut in his career. More than once, he seemed destined for B-list status, only to resurrect himself through films like “Unforgiven” (1992) and “Million Dollar Baby” (2004). The end result is a multi-faceted quarry of epic proportions that is potentially unmatched in performance and durability.
Click here to see Clint Eastwood’s movies ranked from worst to best
To rank the best movies Clint Eastwood has starred in – some of which he also directed – 24/7 Tempo has developed an index with the 20,000+ movies in our database using the average ratings on IMDban online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of Audience Scores and Tomatometer scores on rotten tomatoesan online film and television review aggregator, as of January 2022. Only films in which Clint Eastwood was billed among the top four actors on IMDb or films he directed were considered.