For me, there are four main manly type movie characters; Cowboy, Soldier, Lawman or, Criminal.
When it comes to the manliest actors in Hollywood, Clint Eastwood is easily somewhere at the top of the list. Eastwood has played all 4 types but is really best at being a cowboy and a lawman. Clint Eastwood has been the star in more than forty movies over an incredible span of sixty years. He is known mostly for his macho characters, but his directing abilities are rivaling that as of late.
Here are Clint Eastwood’s top ten manly movies:
10. Absolute Power – This is a good, solid movie but is a bit obscure considering Clint Eastwood’s massive career. In Absolute Power, Clint plays a criminal which is rare for him. Luther Whitney (Eastwood’s character) is an aging high-end thief who sees something he shouldn’t have, involving the president. Being a professional, he tries to let it go and just disappear but decides not to when he sees the president in a speech on TV. At that point, you think he’s just a super smart thief with only the balls of a thief. We then realize he can outsmart and manipulate the police and high powered assholes. Luther makes this list when they go after his daughter. Big mistake.
9. Gran Torino – This is a manly movie only because of the character Eastwood plays in it. Walt Kowalski is a mean old man who isn’t happy about his changing neighborhood and the minorities that now occupy it. This movie has a cool car and a morally strong old war veteran who, despite his old age, learns to be more tolerant and understanding when he befriends a teenage boy in desperate need of a male role model.
8. The good, the bad, and the ugly – This is considered the best spaghetti western ever made. If you don’t know what a spaghetti western is, check it out. They are pretty good. Eastwood’s character, Blondie, is certainly manly enough to make this list, but this movie is almost all plot driven so the character building is very limited. The plot does show you enough of Blondie’s character though for the viewer to know he’s plenty manly.
7. High Plains Drifter – Clint Eastwood plays a cowboy very well. In this movie, he is a nameless drifter that comes into a town and is hired to protect it from some bad guys. This stranger is slightly mystical and does what he wants giving zero shits. See this movie for a western that is slightly different.
6. Unforgiven – First off, this is a pretty damn good western. Eastwood’s character, William Munny is a broke pig farmer raising two kids from a deceased wife. The now straight and narrow Munny is recruited to do a job with an old friend from his earlier days of being a bandit and a killer. Eastwood’s character gets a few man points for toughing it out and raising his kids while broke and dealing with pigs, but he doesn’t get really manly until they kill his old friend. Drinking alcohol transforms him back to the monster he was in his past and becomes one of the meanest killers known from any western.
5. Sudden Impact – Eastwood’s Dirty Harry character was so iconically manly. Sudden Impact, although probably not as good as “Dirty Harry”, wasn’t a terrible movie. Also directed by Eastwood, this was just more of a detective with an attitude and a huge revolver pistol. “Go ahead. Make my day” came from this movie.
4. Heartbreak Ridge – This is not a great movie or anything, but it’s fun, and Eastwood’s character was very manly indeed. Gunnery sergeant Thomas Highway is an old school marine in the new corps. When he is transferred back to his old unit, he has to train a platoon of “new school soft” men for recon battle. In my opinion, Clint Eastwood played a much better older soldier than when he was younger. Gunnery sergeant Highway is proof of this as he is in great “older military guy” shape and has held on to his values well while keeping an open mind. There isn’t much redeeming to this movie excepts Eastwood’s depiction of an aged and tough Marine.
3. Dirty Harry – The original was probably the best as this was the first of four movies made about Dirty Harry. And he was very manly. Made in 1971, this movie is dated mainly because of the super iconic .44 magnum revolver that Eastwood’s Harry Callahan used. Up to the point of this movie, real life law enforcement usually used the much smaller .38 revolvers, so Harry’s hand cannon was kinda of a big deal. Today, everyone prefers a semi-auto type hand gun. A famous scene in this movie involves having to verify how many shots were actually fired out of Dirty Harry’s revolver. Five or six? Did he have one more bullet left or none? This wouldn’t make sense to a millennial because today’s cop carries some kind of 9mm semi-auto which can hold fifteen or sixteen rounds and can easily be reloaded with another full clip.
2. Every which way but loose – This is a silly but fun movie about a guy who can fist-fight like no other. This comedy was such a huge success that they made a sequel two years later, and both were two of the highest grossing Eastwood movies ever made. Clint’s character, Philo Beddoe isn’t your normal manly asshole, but he can kick everyone’s ass while standing up going toe to toe throwing them things. And that’s super manly.
1. The Outlaw Josey Wales – Clint Eastwood is absolutely one of the manliest actors in Hollywood, and Josey Wales is absolutely the manliest character he ever played. From the beginning of this movie to the end, Wales kills men. And they are all justifiable. Wales is all man in every way from his moral stances to the respect he has for women, culture, and his adversaries. He is a caring protector of the community and has the courage of a male lion. One of the manliest scenes in all of his movie’s history is when he confronts Ten Bears, the head of the Comanche, asking him to allow his friends to live on his land. That scene alone makes Josey Wales the manliest Clint Eastwood movie character of all time.