10 Underrated Clint Eastwood Films You Probably Haven't Heard Of But Should Watch
Most of us know the man for his iconic roles in Westerns and his directorial mastery in films like "Million Dollar Baby." But how about the lesser-known movies?
Here are some of the underrated Clint Eastwood films you should absolutely check out.
1. Play Misty for Me (1971)
The precursor to all modern-day stalker films. Eastwood steps into the director's chair for the first time and also stars as Dave, a late-night radio DJ in California. He plays jazz and takes song requests, one recurring request being "Misty." He soon meets Evelyn (Jessica Walter), a fan who seems quite enamored with him.
But it turns out, she's the real-life version of crazy in love. After a one-night stand, Evelyn becomes dangerously obsessed with him, disrupting his life and menacing his new love interest, Tobie (Donna Mills). She does all sorts of crazy stuff, from attempting suicide in his house to attacking his housekeeper.
2. Bronco Billy (1980)
Eastwood's character, Bronco Billy McCoy, is the ringleader of a struggling Wild West show. We're talking a seriously low-budget operation. He recruits Antoinette Lily (Sondra Locke), a snooty heiress who's running from a miserable marriage and a scheming husband.
Antoinette initially struggles with her knife-thrower's assistant role. But as the story progresses, she learns the ropes and finds a family in this oddball group of performers.
3. The Eiger Sanction (1975)
Eastwood plays Jonathan Hemlock, a retired assassin turned art professor. He's lured back into the assassination game to avenge a friend and retrieve stolen art. He's got to climb the Eiger, a treacherous mountain in the Swiss Alps, to do it. While scaling the mountain, he suspects that one of his climbing partners is the Russian killer he's been assigned to eliminate.
4. The Gauntlet (1977)
A classic story of a down-and-out cop getting one last assignment that could either redeem or utterly destroy him. Clint Eastwood as Ben Shockley is assigned to escort a witness, Gus Mally (Sondra Locke), from Las Vegas to Phoenix for a mob trial.
They face relentless attacks from gunmen at every turn. Even a freakin' helicopter and an armored bus come into play. The higher-ups are corrupt, adding another layer of mayhem to their journey.
5. Honkytonk Man (1982)
Set in the Great Depression, Eastwood plays Red Stovall, a down-on-his-luck country singer suffering from tuberculosis. Time's ticking, and he gets an opportunity to audition at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
He takes his 14-year-old nephew, Whit (played by Eastwood's real-life son, Kyle), along for a road trip filled with life lessons and country tunes. They steal chickens, evade the law, and Red tries to battle his alcoholism as they drive to Nashville.
6. High Plains Drifter (1973)
Eastwood plays a mysterious stranger who rides into the small mining town of Lago. Within moments, he's gunned down three men and been offered a job to protect the town from three outlaws due to be released from prison. Oddly, the town is eerily accommodating, letting him do whatever he wants, including painting the town red – literally – and renaming it "Hell."
As the movie goes on, it becomes clear that the stranger might be the ghost of the town's murdered marshal, seeking revenge.
7. Heartbreak Ridge (1986)
Clint steps into the boots of Thomas Highway, a hard-drinking Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant nearing retirement. His last assignment? Whip a reconnaissance platoon of slackers into shape.
These guys are far from soldiers; they're more like rebellious teenagers. But Highway isn't the kind to give up. He clashes with his commanding officers, faces his own past in the form of an ex-wife, and eventually gets the men ready for the invasion of Grenada.
8. Space Cowboys (2000)
Eastwood directs and stars as Frank Corvin, a retired pilot called back into NASA to fix a Soviet satellite that's plummeting towards Earth. He insists that his equally elderly team from the '60s come along for the mission. So, we get Donald Sutherland, Tommy Lee Jones, and James Garner strapped into astronaut gear.
They face age discrimination, outdated tech, and even a government conspiracy, all while floating in zero gravity.
9. Every Which Way but Loose (1978)
Eastwood plays Philo Beddoe, a trucker and fighter who falls for a country singer (Sondra Locke, again). Following her from one gig to another, he gets into all sorts of fights and high-speed chases, usually with Clyde in the passenger seat. This is far from your typical Clint Eastwood film, and it made a whopping $85 million at the box office.
10. Firefox (1982)
Eastwood plays Mitchell Gant, a retired pilot on a covert mission to steal a high-tech Soviet fighter jet. This isn't just any jet; it's controlled by the pilot's thoughts. Gant sneaks into the Soviet Union, faces off against spies and enemy soldiers, and eventually gets his hands on the plane. But can he actually fly it?