Clint Eastwood Directed And Starred In This Underrated War Movie On Top Of The Streaming Chart

Clint Eastwood's 80s war movie Heartbreak Ridge is now the eighth most popular film on HBO Max.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

When it comes to creatives who dip their toe into acting and directing, there’s almost no better man for the job than the legendary Clint Eastwood. From the Bradley Cooper-led American Sniper to the heartfelt performances between Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon in Invictus, the star-turned-filmmaker has certainly made a name for himself behind the camera. Right now, HBO Max audiences are clamoring for his film Heartbreak Ridge as FlixPatrol reports that the war drama has landed itself as the eighth most popular on the streamer.

While he’s great at giving visionary direction to some of Hollywood’s biggest names, there’s nothing like a Clint Eastwood-led movie directed by the man himself. From Gran Torino to Million Dollar Baby, the man has a knack for seamlessly moving between the director’s chair and under the bright lights. Almost two decades into his filmmaking career, The Mule star blew audiences and the global box office away with Heartbreak Ridge, a film about the Korean War.

In the 1986 flick, Clint Eastwood stars as a U.S. Marine who is getting ready to celebrate his well-earned retirement. Before he can kick back, relax, and go fishing, the tough-as-nails Marine is passed a platoon of unruly recruits who he needs to get battle ready if they have any hopes of surviving the 1983 American invasion of Grenada. A well-formed cast, Heartbreak Ridge also starred the likes of Academy Award-nominee Marsha Mason (Cinderella Liberty), Everett McGill (Quest for Fire, Dune), and Mario Van Peebles (New Jack City). 

In the script’s original draft, the leading character was not meant to be a member of the Marines but was instead to be a soldier in the United States Army. Unfortunately, when Clint Eastwood and the rest of his team approached the army for their help and support in making the movie as real as possible, they turned the project down because the character was an alcoholic divorcee. Picking up the pieces and starting at square one, the film’s creatives moved on to the Marines, who, after some cajoling, agreed to help shape the leading characters. 

With the Marines behind them, the crew was allowed to roll cameras in California’s Camp Pendleton, giving the training scenes a real-life edge. Unfortunately, when the final product came out, the branch of the U.S. armed forces was less than pleased with the way Clint Eastwood and the rest of the cast and crew behind Heartbreak Ridge depicted them. Essentially, they didn’t appreciate some of the creative liberties taken to make the film more dramatic and give the characters a fully fleshed-out story.

Although the film wasn’t a hit among the Marines, audiences and critics enjoyed Clint Eastwood’s latest action-centered war epic, raking in a whopping $121.7 million at the worldwide box office up against its $15 million production budget. An industry standout, the title would also nab a nomination for Best Sound at that year’s Academy Awards. 

Heartbreak Ridge landed in theaters in 1986, the tail end of a decade that would be rounded out by the director’s Charlie “Bird” Parker biopic, Bird. Blasting off into the 1990s with guns blazing, Clint Eastwood continued his upward trajectory as a Hollywood star and filmmaker with The Rookie, Unforgiven, and The Bridges of Madison County – to name a few. As we know, Eastwood’s star has only continued to shine over the years with his directorial credits well over 40.

As of late, things have been quiet for Clint Eastwood as the last picture which starred and directed was 2021’s neo-western drama, Cry Macho. But, recently, it was revealed that the icon has a new project on the way titled Juror No. 2, which will be his final film. With almost seven decades in the industry, Eastwood has become a household name, either starring in or backing a project in every genre with a movie out there for everyone. The recipient of 11 Academy Awards, it’s clear that the star’s impact on the world of film has been noticed by his peers and fans alike.

As for Heartbreak Ridge, you can now catch the film streaming on HBO Max and find out why audiences are flocking to check out one of Clint Eastwood’s most notorious war-centered features. While you’re there, you can tune in for many of his other films, including Unforgiven, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Absolute Power, and the Leonardo DiCaprio-led J. Edgar