10 Things That Make This Clint Eastwood’s Best Movie – Deadline

Clint Eastwood has made many great movies over the decades. He got his start as an actor, known in the 1960s mainly for Western and war films, but began to branch out into more roles in the 1970s. With that came a second career of sorts as director. He often did double duty, directing and starring in several of his films (something he continued to do as recently as 2021, with macho cry).

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His greatest success as a director is probably unforgiven, which was released in 1992. It is one of the most successful films of his career and won four Oscars, including Best Picture. It’s a film where Eastwood does his best as a director and actor, winning Best Director and being nominated for Best Leading Actor at the Oscars. To celebrate the film’s lasting legacy and 30th anniversary, here are 10 things that make unforgiven such a great movie.

His deconstruction of the western genre

Merciless - 1992 - western

unforgiven takes a fairly typical premise for a Western and does interesting and unexpected things with it. Essentially, there’s a group of prostitutes in a small town who are outraged by the lack of punishment given to a man who brutally attacked one of them. They offer a bounty for the death of the mugger and his associate, which a once ruthless ex-outlaw, William Munny, accepts as his last job.

It’s a film that uncovers justice, law, order, and violence in a far darker way than most westerns. It gets deep into the minds of its characters, portrays the heroes as heavily flawed and the villains as monstrous, and shows an unromanticized side of the old west. It also gives Eastwood a chance to explore what life might have been like for one of his iconic past characters (like the Man With No Name) had they grown older, more jaded, and been tortured by their pasts.

Gene Hackman’s performance

Unforgivable - Gene Hackman

acting in unforgiven is brilliant on every level, especially from its four lead actors. Eastwood is overpowered for much of the film, but becomes menacing and even creepy in the film’s final act. Morgan FREEMAN is brilliant as Ned, Eastwood’s character’s closest friend, and Richard Harris also makes an impact in his brief but memorable role as English Bob.

It could end up being by Gene Hackman villainous turn like Little Bill who steals the show, however. He’s a tyrannical sheriff who shows no mercy or kindness in his role as ruler of the small town where much of the film takes place, and he’s such a thoroughly despicable antagonist. Hackman creates a character of pure evil without ever making Little Bill feel like a cartoon character, or overly overdone, making him one of the best western villains of all time.

fantastic cinematography

Unforgiven - cinematography

unforgiven is a fantastic film, from its first shot to its last (coincidentally, the opening image mirrors the last). Westerns are almost inevitably going to have dramatic scenery, thanks to their desert and rural setting, but unforgiven goes a step further than most in looking truly spectacular.

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There’s a rich use of color throughout and perfectly captured scenes unfolding at all hours of the day and night. The range of visuals ensure the film is always a treat to watch, and the use of dark lighting and shadows during the film’s darkest scenes – both figuratively and literally – adds to the tense atmosphere. and captivating of the film.


Unforgiven - morality

When you think of standard Westerns — especially those in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s — you’ll probably think of clear storylines, good versus bad. In many old-school westerns, the lawmen and sheriffs are the good guys, and while the cowboys operate slightly outside the law, they’re often right. Therefore, the bad guys are often clearly evil and serve as enemies that the good guys can take down without feeling guilty.

unforgiven is not interested in taking such a simple approach. After all, this is a film where the most evil character ends up being the sheriff who commits more acts of violence than the criminal whose vicious attack triggers the plot. Likewise, the movie makes it clear that Eastwood’s character has also done some monstrous things in his past, and he’s come to terms with the terrible idea that he can never fully redeem himself or be fully forgiven for the misdeeds he’s done. committed.

Secondary characters

Ruthless - secondary characters

unforgiven is a film where just about every character that dialogues is memorable, with many interesting characters introduced and character arcs given in a film that only lasts a little over two hours.

The aforementioned English Bob is only in a handful of scenes, but makes a huge impression and is essential to the film’s narrative and themes. Other memorable characters include The Schofield Kid, who joins Ned and William Munny, the constantly nervous writer who accompanies Englishman Bob, WW Beauchamp, and the prostitutes whose desire for revenge sets the plot in motion. The latter are given more agency and screen time than female characters typically get in most older westerns, which makes the film all the more powerful and impactful.


Unforgiven - rhythm

Slow doesn’t always mean boring, when it comes to pace, and unforgiven proves just that. It’s a film that takes its time with its main narrative and isn’t afraid to have many scenes that focus on character development rather than explicitly advancing the plot.

It does this without ever feeling boring. It may take a while to reach its unforgettable conclusion, but it always feels like it’s going somewhere, and it’s a deep and engaging film that rewards your patience. It puts everything together perfectly and brings all the pieces together seamlessly at the end, making for a fantastically written and edited film.

His honesty about the brutality of the West

Unforgivable - violence

The Western genre can sometimes offer escapist entertainment, but it’s definitely not something unforgiven chooses to highlight. The classic Hollywood-style thrill of being a cowboy or any type of lone wolf venturing into the American West in the late 1800s is not a part of this film at all.

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It’s hard to say if unforgiven is quite realistic in its portrayal of the Old West, but it feels much more real than other American westerns. People get sick, characters can’t ignore blows or other injuries, and sometimes dying a violent death takes an agonizing time. It’s a rough and brutal West, and it makes you wonder if there would have been anything fun or adventurous to experience back then.

His sequences full of suspense

Unforgivable - suspense

Whereas unforgiven It might not be a thriller, it’s a suspenseful movie. Its narrative is unpredictable and takes some surprising turns, and due to the danger of the world, the emphasis on realism, and the cruelty of its antagonist, it’s a film where no one ever feels safe from the death.

This makes for a very nerve-wracking western, best seen in its climax, violent scenes, and just about every scene featuring Gene Hackman. A scene that takes place in and around the midway town jail is particularly heartbreaking and is the best demonstration of Little Bill’s fearlessness and manipulation, as a villain.

His critique of violence

Unforgivable - Morgan Freeman

unforgiven does not take pleasure in depicting violence on screen. It’s a movie that’s explicit about the cost of shooting a gun at another human being. The characters discuss the nature of violence and murder at several points, Munny is haunted by the violence he has committed, and The Schofield Kid ends up traumatized by his participation in an act of violent retaliation.

Westerns are usually filled with violence, and most of the time it’s entertaining or even insane. Shootouts are clean and contain little blood, and people usually die instantly. unforgiven is the opposite, when it comes to these things. Shootings are bloody, death is traumatic, and death doesn’t always come quickly.

Its dramatic ending


Things inevitably end in a confrontation in unforgiven. However, that doesn’t feel like a climactic gunfight in most westerns. It’s dimly lit and much more tense and unnerving than you might expect, and it’s a place where you really don’t know who will survive, or even if anyone will.

This is in contrast to a typical good versus evil western, where you can count on the good guy winning and the bad guy getting shot or ending up in jail. It reaches the peak of unforgiven extra powerful, ending the film on a high note that helps it endure as one of the best westerns of all time.

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10 Things That Make This Clint Eastwood’s Best Movie – Deadline