Movie review: “Dirty Harry” (1971)

“Have you been following that man?”

“Yeah, I’ve been following him on my own time. And anybody can tell I didn’t do that to him.”

“How?”

“Because he looks too damned good, that’s how!”

One measure of privilege that sticks – one definition, since so many are being bandied about and test driven during the hopefully transformative turbulence we as a nation are currently experiencing – might just be this. Be it white or class privilege, you learned most everything you know about the police and policing from the movies. I came to my own realization abruptly, landing with a crash. The journey was not a pleasant one. Released in 1971, as the interminable, fiercely divisive Vietnam War lurched on toward its ignominious end and the hippie movement had given way to a vociferous protest arm locked in combat both tangible and symbolic with Nixon’s fabled “Silent Majority”, Don Siegel’s Dirty Harry is a crucial pivot point in how stories about the relationship between the American people and the law enforcement professionals charged with protecting them would be told, and tinted, for decades going forward. Continue reading “Movie review: “Dirty Harry” (1971)”