Although it’s now the commonly accepted opinion that the quality of Clint Eastwood’s movies isn’t what it once was, there was a period when he was possibly the best director in the business. It’s not just that his movies were excellent in so many ways and felt fresh in times where many regular moviegoers felt like they were watching the same kind of movie over and over again, but he’s been hugely influential in establishing an aesthetic for films perceived as serious. He grew into an absolute master of understated tone and completely stripped down aesthetic, fostering a kind of minimalism that served as a welcome contrast to the excess and bluster of the blockbuster moviemaking scene that only seemed to be growing in spectacle as time progressed.
Eastwood’s heyday is undoubtedly the mid-2000s, when he released a string of knockouts that floored audiences and awards panels alike. He’s had a long and storied career first as an actor and then as a director with flashes of greatness. He’s deservedly an icon and star, but also deserves credit for his visual prowess and storytelling ability. There are some directors who somehow seem to make every single scene of a movie engrossing, and he has does it in a way even more simply and delicately than most other American directors. He played strong and silent heroes, and his movies have been both of those things, making silence and quiet strength the most sought after virtues of prestige filmmaking.
There are 5 movies directed by Clint Eastwood that stand out as his best, and could be considered among the best of their years, decades, or more. Here they are listed chronologically rather than by ranking, because determining the best among these would be a fool’s errand.
Continue reading on the next page…