Every Which Way But Loose is streaming now on Max.
When it comes to Clint Eastwood, many of us immediately jump to images of cowboys, guns, and rough-talking old men with stubble. With a career spanning several decades both in front of and behind the camera, the Dirty Harry and Gran Turismo actor has played the toughest characters out there so when it came to his 1978 feature, Every Which Way But Loose, audiences were confused about how the actor’s legendary grit would work alongside a comedy with an orangutan. Well, if you haven’t yet seen how the duo perfectly blends together, you now have the chance, as the title is currently streaming on Max.
1978 was an exciting year for cinema, with legendary films including John Carpenter’s Halloween, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Grease, and Superman landing in theaters across the country. Little did audiences know that they were about to have their minds blown when Clint Eastwood would team up with a monkey for his latest feature. Teaming up with James Fargo, with whom he had previously worked on the third Dirty Harry film, The Enforcer, the duo set out to make a rough-and-tumble movie with comedic undertones.
In Every Which Way But Loose, Clint Eastwood stars as Philo Beddoe, a truck driver and skilled fighter on a mission to relocate his long-lost girlfriend. With his best friends – his brother Orville and pet orangutan, Clyde – by his side, Philo sets out on an epic journey across the great American West. Along the way, the trio finds themselves in all sorts of trouble with everyone from law enforcement to motorcycle gangs.
While Clint Eastwood and his orangutan pal really stole the show, ensemble performances were given by Geoffrey Lewis, Sondra Locke, Beverly D’Angelo, Walter Barnes, George Chandler, Ruth Gordon, and Sam Gilman. The film also saw Eastwood pair up with his longtime production partner, Robert Daley. The two previously worked alongside one another on titles including Dirty Harry, Joe Kidd, High Plains Drifter, and many more between the years of 1971 and 1980.
As for his giant genre jump from spaghetti Westerns to comedy, those in Clint Eastwood’s corner begged the actor not to go through with his role in Every Which Way but Loose. Having been associated with the Western genre for so long, they were afraid that this misstep would have devastating effects on his career. Proving them wrong, things turned out quite the opposite for the Eastwood-led comedy.
Although it received overwhelmingly negative feedback from critics, the film was still a box office hit, raking in a whopping $104.3 million against its $5 million budget. Even more surprising, the movie knocked all of Clint Eastwood’s previous projects out of the water during its opening weekend, toppling titles like The Enforcer, Dirty Harry, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
And, if you thought that Clint Eastwood and Warner Bros. would have just collected their money and counted this as a lucky run, you’d be dead wrong as, in 1980, a sequel was released titled Any Which Way You Can. As it turns out, people love a movie featuring the legendary actor and an orangutan with many members of the original cast returning for the sophomore installment. This time around, Philo Beddeo comes to blows with neo-Nazis and mafia members. Another hit for the studio, the film would go on to earn bragging rights as one of the actor’s highest-grossing projects of all time.
Throughout the rest of his career, Clint Eastwood would mainly stick to his roles as the tough-as-nails grandpa that you’ve always wanted. With a chip on his shoulder, the actor has seemingly played the same character over and over again but keeps finding new ways to do it. From blasting away outlaws to protecting his streets and even being a boxing mentor for an underdog, there’s no role that the iconic star hasn’t demolished during his time in front of the camera.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and that’s where Clint Eastwood is at with his career as he’s eyeing his final directorial project. After helming almost 40 titles, Eastwood will bow out with a Warner Bros. drama titled Juror No. 2 which will star Nicholas Hoult and Toni Collette. As of right now, no further information has been provided about Eastwood’s farewell to the industry.