Movies - TV
Unforgiven Marked the End of an Era For Clint Eastwood's Film Career
By JEREMY SMITH
Having gotten his start on the long-running TV Western “Rawhide,” Clint Eastwood’s fame as an actor rose with such films as Sergio Leone’s “Man with No Name Trilogy” and the “Dirty Harry” series. Today, Eastwood is one of the most celebrated filmmakers in the world, but this wasn’t always the case — especially in America — until he found “Unforgiven.”
The Western genre was nearly dead in the early 1990s, but Eastwood couldn’t help but make one after discovering David Webb Peoples’ brilliant screenplay about a reformed assassin dragged out of retirement. “Unforgiven” was critically acclaimed, which was a welcome surprise, as Eastwood says that Americans “had a hard time convincing themselves I could be a director.”
The film drastically altered peers’ perception of Eastwood, and the director/actor known for making vengeful cops and cowboys movies could finally express ambiguity about his image and the violence associated with it. Outside of his major hits, Eastwood enjoyed undercutting his tough guy persona and took a risk with “Unforgiven,” but as Eastwood said, “‘Unforgiven’ did break through in a way.”