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Dirty Harry's Gun and 6 Other Facts About The Famous Flick

Image: Dirty Harry's Gun and 6 Other Facts About The Famous Flick
Photo of actor Clint Eastwood and a prop gun used by Eastwood in a 'Dirty Harry' movie at the National Rifle Association's National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia. (Luke Frazza/AFP/Getty Images, file)

By    |   Sunday, 09 Nov 2014 05:12 PM

The 1971 crime drama "Dirty Harry" introduced moviegoers to police inspector Harry Callahan and one of the most famous guns in American cinema — a long-barreled .44 Magnum Smith and Wesson Model 29 revolver.

Here are some other trivia nuggets about the original "Dirty Harry" film.

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The film's lead characters are based on real people. Scorpio, who was originally listed as The Killer, was modeled after the Zodiac serial killer, who terrorized northern California in the 1960s and 1970s, while Callahan was loosely based on David Toschi, the real-life, lead detective of the Zodiac investigation.

The iconic line, "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?" is 51st on the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest Movie Quotes of All Time. Callahan's full speech to his wounded criminal is just as powerful: "I know what you're thinking. 'Did he fire six shots or only five?' Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?"

The lines are delivered with such coolness that it's hard to see anyone else as Callahan, Scriptwriters Harry Julian Fink and Rita M. Fink saw John Wayne in the role, but the screen legend wasn't interested because he thought the film's violence was gratuitous. Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Burt Lancaster were all linked to the project at one point, but Eastwood eventually made it his own.

Eastwood helped bring in director Don Siegel ("Invasion of the Body Snatchers"), whom he previously worked with on "Coogan's Bluff" (1968), "Two Mules for Sister Sara" (1970), and "The Beguiled" (1971). Siegel wanted World War II hero turned actor Audie Murphy for the role of the serial killer, but Murphy died in a plane crash on May 28, 1971 before he could accept.

The antagonist role eventually went to Broadway actor Andrew Robinson, who was a real-life pacifist that hated guns. This forced production to be temporarily halted so Robinson could learn to shoot. Robinson also struggled with a scene in which he physically and verbally abused school children.

"Dirty Harry"'s popularity spawned four commercially successful sequels: "Magnum Force" (1973), "The Enforcer" (1976), "Sudden Impact" (1983) and "The Dead Pool" (1988). "Sudden Impact" contained another iconic line, "Go ahead, make my day."

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The 1971 crime drama "Dirty Harry" introduced moviegoers to police inspector Harry Callahan and one of the most famous guns in American cinema — a long-barreled .44 Magnum Smith and Wesson Model 29 revolver.
dirty harry, guns, magnum
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2014-12-09
Sunday, 09 Nov 2014 05:12 PM
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