With over a six-decade tenure in show business, the 91-year-old icon Clint Eastwood has been writing, directing, composing, and starring in films longer than most living actors. Exhibiting an impressive spanning career that includes over 40 directorial films and over 70 as an actor, the never vain actor boasts a successful career with movies that continue to have a huge impact on the industry. And although ranking all of his lucrative work is no easy feat, fans have chosen the best movie under Eastwood’s Belt.
Slash Film recently polled 590 respondents to determine Clint Eastwood’s best movie. As the results came in, the site reported that the 1992 Western film Unforgiven starring and directed by the man himself was coined Clint’s best movie. Receiving 20.34% of all votes, Unforgiven beat out the revenge drama Gran Torino which took second place with 18.47% of votes, and the Oscar-winning Million Dollar Baby, which took third place with 16.27% of the votes.
Although clearly not an easy choice to make, it’s understandable how the anti-Western would achieve the ranking of Clint Eastwood’s best film. Subverting the standard Western genre tropes that Clint himself helped establish over the 20th century, Unforgiven was considered a pivotal movie for its time and would go on to earn itself a rank amongst the National Film Registry deeming the film “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Furthermore, the film earned a spot on the Writers Guild of America’s list of greatest movies ever written. When released, Unforgiven boasted 9 Academy nominations with 4 wins, 4 Golden Globe nominations with 2 wins, and 5 BAFTA nominations with 1 win.
For those unfamiliar with the film, Unforgiven portrayed Clint Eastwood as William Munny, an aging outlaw and killer from the 1800s who takes on one more job after years away from the fugitive lifestyle. Strapping up once again, Munny is persuaded by the young gunslinging cowboy — the self-proclaimed Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett) — to collect a bounty on two cowboys that mutilated the face of a prostitute. A brutal story laying bare the emptiness resulting from a lifetime dedicated to violence, the film held a lot of significance and importance to Eastwood, who admitted to holding off on creating the film for nearly a decade in order to be old enough to portray Munny
Apparently, patience paid off, as the film that Clint Eastwood declared to be his last in the genre, built a legacy that no Western film since has quite been able to pull off. Notably, the revisionist Unforgiven was a long way from the typical Westerns that brought Clint to fame decades ago. After achieving success in the western TV series Rawhide in 1959, Eastwood cemented his fame with his role as the “Man with No Name” in the trio of Spaghetti Westerns from Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone. Eastwood would continue his coined antihero Western roles leading up to his last true Western, Unforgiven.
At the ripe age of 91, Clint Eastwood has shown no signs of slowing down. In his recent endeavor on the film Cry Macho which debuted in theaters this past September, Clint once again directed, produced, and starred in the drama. And although the actor has no concrete plans for his next endeavor, a recent interview with the LA Times hints that we haven’t seen the last of the masculine icon. Speaking on future projects, Clint said the following: “I don’t have anything percolating at the moment. I didn’t have anything percolating before this one. If something comes along where the story itself, the telling of it, is fun, I’m open to it.”