Clint Eastwood Quotes

Sunday, July 24 by Joe Terzio

If you’re a Clint Eastwood fan, picking out a favorite Clint Eastwood quote is akin to asking a parent who is their favorite child. Eastwood’s trademark glare and man-of-few-words persona have never gotten old on screen. It’s his economy of words that is precisely the reason why so many of his film lines have become classics. His minimalist approach to dialogue proves that overblown dramatic rants don’t necessarily lead to memorable quotes. Although you could easily make a list of best Clint Eastwood quotes per movie, here’s a list of his best quotes of all time.

  1. “Go ahead, make my day.” This quote is the most popular Eastwood quote of all time. It’s from the movie “Sudden Impact” (1983), the fourth Dirty Harry film, and while the film isn’t the best of that franchise, the quote is truly memorable. In fact, it was ranked as the 6th most memorable quote be the American Film Institute’s list of top 100 movie quotations in American cinema. Short summary: Harry is getting his morning coffee when a group of baddies try to rob the place. Harry kills all except one, who takes the waitress as a hostage. The baddie puts a gun to the head of the waitress and threatens to kill her unless Harry backs off. Harry then points his .44 Magnum at the man’s head and delivers the line through trademarked clenched teeth.
  2. "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?" This quote is from “Dirty Harry” (1971), the film that started the Dirty Harry franchise. This particular Eastwood quote came at the beginning of the movie as Harry stops a robbery. He asks the downed robber if he knows whether Harry has fired five or six shots (which would mean his .44 Magnum was empty) as the baddie eyes a shotgun to shoot Harry with. The punk didn’t feel lucky and gives up but tells Harry he has to know. Harry points his gun at the punk and pulls the trigger. Click. Harry had fired all six, much to the chagrin of the bad guy.
  3. “There’s nothing like a nice piece of hickory.” Clint’s character, The Preacher, utters this great line from “Pale Rider” (1985) after he beats senseless four bad guys who made the mistake of walloping a defenseless gold prospector in the town of mining magnate Coy Lahood. Lahood wants the “tin pans” gone so he can take over their claims. The Preacher comes to the aid of the prospectors and you can probably guess who wins.
  4. “How is it with stains?” “The Outlaw Josey Wales” (1976) is a very underrated Eastwood film and it’s filled with memorable lines, but this one has always been a favorite as it shows off Clint’s acerbic and dry sense of humor that’s prevalent in all his films. A snake oil salesman notices Josey’s young friend, who has been shot, and comments that his medicine “works wonders on wounds.” A skeptical Josey, working a good chaw, spits tobacco juice on the carpetbagger's white coat and utters the memorable line. You can pick a dozen or more that are equally as good from “Outlaw,” but that one happens to be my personal favorite.
  5. “Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn't have f*cked with? That's me.” Since “Gran Torino” (2008) will most likely be the last film that Clint Eastwood acts in, a quote from it is appropriate. In this film, Clint plays Walt Kowalski, a bigoted, racist Korean War vet and retired Ford factory worker. He happens upon a group of guys that are harassing Sue Lor, a Hmong family member who lives next to Walt. Walt turns up the crazy, pulls a .45 pistol, and gets Sue into his truck to take her away from the thugs. This quote could be taken to epitomize many of the characters Clint Eastwood has played in his film career. That’s what makes it one of the best Clint Eastwood quotes.

- Patrick Tursic