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Dirty Harry vs. Bullitt


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Two unconventional cops.  Two worlds where The Man is a corrupt.  Two morality plays where the hero knows the right thing to do, but is frustrated by convention, procedure, and ulterior (political) motives.  Two movies set in San Francisco.

But:

Vigilatism vs. law and order.  Breaking the law to do what's right vs. sticking to your guns and keeping others from making the system work for their interests.  A bitter loner who quits vs. a dedicated cop who holds on to the right, even in the face of losing love.  

Who's the cool one?

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Steve McQueen is the king of cool. But Dirty Harry is a better movie than Bullitt. 

Dirty Harry is a tough, riveting thriller with a despicable villain (played by creepy looking Andy Robinson), Bullitt is a good film but no clear cut villain to root against, but there is that great chase sequence and shocking shoot out at the end.

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Let me put it this way, if I was taken hostage by a psycho, I'd want Dirty Harry to take charge of the situation. 

(SPOILERS) Now before someone makes the point that in the first film Scorpio, the villain, buried the victim alive and deliberately led Harry on a pointless goose chase while she suffocated to death, you also have to remember he kicked the bad guy's butts in SUDDEN IMPACT when they overtook the female vigilante and he wasted the kidnappers of the mayor in THE ENFORCER).

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6 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Steve McQueen is the king of cool. But Dirty Harry is a better movie than Bullitt. 

Dirty Harry is a tough, riveting thriller with a despicable villain (played by creepy looking Andy Robinson), Bullitt is a good film but no clear cut villain to root against, but there is that great chase sequence and shocking shoot out at the end.

SURE there is, Jim!

Robert Vaughn's Walter Chalmers, the ambitious politico, is a real SOB.

C'mon now, surely you must have run into a jerk like that in your work environment SOMEWHERE along the line, RIGHT?! ;) 

(...yep, I'm gonna go with Bullitt here, folks...ya see, I've always found this movie is just a little more "stylish" and "subtle" than the more "blatant" Dirty Harry...although don't get me wrong here...DH is a fine film too)

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It's easy to make the hero look good with a simplistic black/white situation involving a super evil villain (an unrealistic cobbling together of different criminal types).  Bullitt operates in a more representative world, where keeping your moral compass is harder, and therefore, more worthy of respect. 

And I despise quitters.

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1 hour ago, slaytonf said:

It's easy to make the hero look good with a simplistic black/white situation involving a super evil villain (an unrealistic cobbling together of different criminal types).  Bullitt operates in a more representative world, where keeping your moral compass is harder, and therefore, more worthy of respect. 

And I despise quitters.

Scorpio was hardly a 'super evil villain' straight out of a James Bond film or comic book....people like him do exist, in fact people like Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer actually make him look tame by today's standards.

Bullitt may have been 'morally' superior to Dirty Harry, but does that really make him a better cop? Sometimes you have to break the rules when people's lives are in danger. 

(SPOILERS)...In DIRTY HARRY, if Harry had simply delivered the ranson money to Scorpio, without taking manners in his own hands, and considering Scorpio enjoyed killing tremendously, there's no doubt in my mind that once he had gotten the money, he would have murdered the kids and the bus driver, while laughing at the stupidity of the mayor and other cops for giving in to him once again once he had gotten away.

 

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33 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

Scorpio was hardly a 'super evil villain' straight out of a James Bond film or comic book....people like him do exist, in fact people like Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer actually make him look tame by today's standards.

Bullitt may have been 'morally' superior to Dirty Harry, but does that really make him a better cop? Sometimes you have to break the rules when people's lives are in danger. 

(SPOILERS)...In DIRTY HARRY, if Harry had simply delivered the ranson money to Scorpio, without taking manners in his own hands, and considering Scorpio enjoyed killing tremendously, there's no doubt in my mind that once he had gotten the money, he would have murdered the kids and the bus driver, while laughing at the stupidity of the mayor and other cops for giving in to him once again once he had gotten away.

 

we see that brand of appeasement and capitulation from liberals and democrats all to often in the real world usually at the jeopardy of innocent lives.

clint eastwood and don seigel understood that.:)

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39 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

Scorpio was hardly a 'super evil villain' straight out of a James Bond film or comic book....people like him do exist, in fact people like Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer actually make him look tame by today's standards.

Bullitt may have been 'morally' superior to Dirty Harry, but does that really make him a better cop? Sometimes you have to break the rules when people's lives are in danger. 

(SPOILERS)...In DIRTY HARRY, if Harry had simply delivered the ranson money to Scorpio, without taking manners in his own hands, and considering Scorpio enjoyed killing tremendously, there's no doubt in my mind that once he had gotten the money, he would have murdered the kids and the bus driver, while laughing at the stupidity of the mayor and other cops for giving in to him once again once he had gotten away.

 

I'm afraid you're interpreting my post to suit your convenience.  I don't know where you get the Bond reference.  You can easily see I didn't mean he was a super villain, but villain that was super evil.  And he is ridiculously unbelievable, a pastiche of current headline criminals.  An individual that could never exist.  

And I definitely disagree about breaking rules.  That's the whole point I am making about the difference between the messages of the two movies.  One leads to vigilantism and erosion of civil order, the other, not to a perfect world, certainly, but one that can be improved, if only people wouldn't turn their back on it.

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27 minutes ago, NipkowDisc said:

we see that brand of appeasement and capitulation from liberals and democrats all to often in the real world usually at the jeopardy of innocent lives.

clint eastwood and don seigel understood that.:)

What? :unsure: 

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1 hour ago, slaytonf said:

I'm afraid you're interpreting my post to suit your convenience.  I don't know where you get the Bond reference.  You can easily see I didn't mean he was a super villain, but villain that was super evil.  And he is ridiculously unbelievable, a pastiche of current headline criminals.  An individual that could never exist.  

And I definitely disagree about breaking rules.  That's the whole point I am making about the difference between the messages of the two movies.  One leads to vigilantism and erosion of civil order, the other, not to a perfect world, certainly, but one that can be improved, if only people wouldn't turn their back on it.

I'm sorry if I misinterpreted what you were saying, I guess I did jump the gun there. 

But I still maintain that there ARE and have been super evil creeps like Scorpio....certainly folks like Hitler, Bin Laden and Stalin is proof of that, along with Bundy and Dahmer. 

There have been so many crimes committed all throughout the years that have seemed outlandish....but they still happened. So a character like Scorpio doesn't seem all that beyond of realism to me.

I didn't mean to sound like I condone vigilantism under ordinary circumstances (I do think Harry went too far pointing that guy at the black guy at the beginning of DIRTY HARRY when he already caught the guy and didn't know if the gun was even loaded or not).....but sometimes breaking rules can mean the difference between life and death.  Reasoning was not going to work with the nutso Harry and the police force were dealing with.

Again I am not saying Harry doesn't go too far with taking matters in his own hands (in all of the films at least once he does go overboard in making a tense situation even more tense). But we all know he didn't get his nickname 'Dirty Harry' for nothing.

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Well, BEFORE we segue into a discussion about the need for "tough guys who break the rules in order protect the innocent" in REAL life(AND any subsequent discussion about "wimpy liberals" vs "hardazz conservatives", NIPSTER, you freakin' IDEOLOGUE, you...still love ya though, dude ;) ), I just wish to say that I think slayton earlier expressed even better than I the reason(s) the FILM Bullitt is "better" overall than Dirty Harry, IMO.

As I had earlier used the words "more stylish and subtle" in efforts to describe the Peter Yates film, and the word "blatant" in description of the Don Siegel film, I thought slayton's earlier comments...

"It's easy to make the hero look good with a simplistic black/white situation involving a super evil villain (an unrealistic cobbling together of different criminal types).  Bullitt operates in a more representative world, where keeping your moral compass is harder, and therefore, more worthy of respect."

...better expressed the feelings I've always had whenever the comparison of these two films comes up, as this hasn't been the first time I recall someone asking others their opinion of these two films and to compare them, and of course because there are quite a few similarities to be found in the story of these two FICTIONAL and similar era San Francisco police detectives.

(...in other words, thanks slayton...well said...that's all)

 

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28 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Well, BEFORE we segue into a discussion about the need for "tough guys who break the rules in order protect the innocent" in REAL life(AND any subsequent discussion about "wimpy liberals" vs "hardazz conservatives", NIPSTER, you freakin' IDEOLOGUE, you...still love ya though, dude ;) ), I just wish to say that I think slayton earlier expressed even better than I the reason(s) the FILM Bullitt is "better" overall than Dirty Harry, IMO.

As I had earlier used the words "more stylish and subtle" in efforts to describe the Peter Yates film, and the word "blatant" in description of the Don Siegel film, I thought slayton's earlier comments...

"It's easy to make the hero look good with a simplistic black/white situation involving a super evil villain (an unrealistic cobbling together of different criminal types).  Bullitt operates in a more representative world, where keeping your moral compass is harder, and therefore, more worthy of respect."

...better expressed the feelings I've always had whenever the comparison of these two films comes up, as this hasn't been the first time I recall someone asking others their opinion of these two films and to compare them, and of course because there are quite a few similarities to be found in the story of these two FICTIONAL and similar era San Francisco police detectives.

(...in other words, thanks slayton...well said...that's all)

 

Hum.  What wisdom!  How insightful.  Hey, wait--you. . .you mean I'm not the first to compare these movies? Dag!

 

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Just now, slaytonf said:

Hum.  What wisdom!  How insightful.  Hey, wait--you. . .you mean I'm not the first to compare these movies? Dag!

 

LOL

Nope! Sorry to tell ya here ol' buddy, but nope, I have recalled having this same discussion a few other times in the past.

(...but still and if it helps, it MUST be one that's evergreen and always welcomed by film lovers, or else you probably wouldn't have received this many responses to your query by now, huh) ;)

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11 hours ago, Dargo said:

Well, BEFORE we segue into a discussion about the need for "tough guys who break the rules in order protect the innocent" in REAL life(AND any subsequent discussion about "wimpy liberals" vs "hardazz conservatives", NIPSTER, you freakin' IDEOLOGUE, you...still love ya though, dude ;) ), I just wish to say that I think slayton earlier expressed even better than I the reason(s) the FILM Bullitt is "better" overall than Dirty Harry, IMO.

As I had earlier used the words "more stylish and subtle" in efforts to describe the Peter Yates film, and the word "blatant" in description of the Don Siegel film, I thought slayton's earlier comments...

"It's easy to make the hero look good with a simplistic black/white situation involving a super evil villain (an unrealistic cobbling together of different criminal types).  Bullitt operates in a more representative world, where keeping your moral compass is harder, and therefore, more worthy of respect."

...better expressed the feelings I've always had whenever the comparison of these two films comes up, as this hasn't been the first time I recall someone asking others their opinion of these two films and to compare them, and of course because there are quite a few similarities to be found in the story of these two FICTIONAL and similar era San Francisco police detectives.

(...in other words, thanks slayton...well said...that's all)

 

I do appreciate what you and slayton have to say on the matter ....you both have offered some great insights even if I don't quite agree with them.

Having said that....I am still TEAM Harry though, lol.

 

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9 hours ago, Vautrin said:

You mean there's a difference between a psycho and Dirty Harry? :)

I do prefer Harry's haircut to Bullitt's. 

 

Yes there is....Harry doesn't ATTACK innocent bystanders....he wants to nail the crooks through his own methods, however unconstitutional they may be. 

Harry may not agree with the system, but he does want to protect the good people of San Francisco (though no argument his ways of doing it can be outright reckless at times).

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17 hours ago, Dargo said:

SURE there is, Jim!

Robert Vaughn's Walter Chalmers, the ambitious politico, is a real SOB.

C'mon now, surely you must have run into a jerk like that in your work environment SOMEWHERE along the line, RIGHT?! ;) 

(...yep, I'm gonna go with Bullitt here, folks...ya see, I've always found this movie is just a little more "stylish" and "subtle" than the more "blatant" Dirty Harry...although don't get me wrong here...DH is a fine film too)

Maybe I need to watch Bullitt all the way through again. I found the plot a bit confusing (I'm not sure if I still understand all of it) but I found the Robert Vaughn character just very smarmy and soft spoken, not as scary as the wild eyed gibbering psycho from Dirty Harry.

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9 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Maybe I need to watch Bullitt all the way through again. I found the plot a bit confusing (I'm not sure if I still understand all of it) but I found the Robert Vaughn character just very smarmy and soft spoken, not as scary as the wild eyed gibbering psycho from Dirty Harry.

What makes the Chalmers character ever more frightening is his politico ambitions combined with his lack of ethos.
God forbid that such a character should achieve his highest ambition and place the entire population at risk...
The blithering psycho in Harry is dangerous, but to a far lessor extent by contrast.

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8 hours ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

Yes there is....Harry doesn't ATTACK innocent bystanders....he wants to nail the crooks through his own methods, however unconstitutional they may be. 

Harry may not agree with the system, but he does want to protect the good people of San Francisco (though no argument his ways of doing it can be outright reckless at times).

That was mostly a facetious comment. I do recall that Pauline Kael got all

bent out of shape about the movie. And I would think that most people

would not approve of cops using unconstitutional methods in their work.

Harry is lucky he is not around these days when everyone has a cellphone.

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Hi. First time poster, long time lurker of at least 10 years. :)

Dave Toschi, the inspiration for both Bullitt and Dirty Harry died after a lengthy illness just the week before Bullitt aired on Saturday. Toschi was the lead investigator for the SFPD on the Zodiac case which was the inspiration for the Scorpio killer in Dirty Harry. Wikipedia also mentions that George Lucas named the Tatooine Tosche station after him.

I had never known that these two movies were connected to that case, which has fascinated me for years. The investigations into the various Zodiac slayings were disjointed and unorganized since they occurred in many jurisdictions. I now see Dirty Harry in a different way than I used to. Before I thought it was just a movie about a cop using any means, often unconstitutional to apprehend criminals. Now, I almost think of the the movie as an imaginary do-over as if to say "we'll get the bad guy no matter how unethical the means."

I prefer Bullitt because of the subtleties others have pointed out. The villains are what most of us would encounter in our daily lives.  

 

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22 minutes ago, umop apisdn said:

Hi. First time poster, long time lurker of at least 10 years. :)

Dave Toschi, the inspiration for both Bullitt and Dirty Harry died after a lengthy illness just the week before Bullitt aired on Saturday. Toschi was the lead investigator for the SFPD on the Zodiac case which was the inspiration for the Scorpio killer in Dirty Harry. Wikipedia also mentions that George Lucas named the Tatooine Tosche station after him.

I had never known that these two movies were connected to that case, which has fascinated me for years. The investigations into the various Zodiac slayings were disjointed and unorganized since they occurred in many jurisdictions. I now see Dirty Harry in a different way than I used to. Before I thought it was just a movie about a cop using any means, often unconstitutional to apprehend criminals. Now, I almost think of the the movie as an imaginary do-over as if to say "we'll get the bad guy no matter how unethical the means."

I prefer Bullitt because of the subtleties others have pointed out. The villains are what most of us would encounter in our daily lives.  

 

Nice first post here, umop apisdn. Welcome to the boards...finally. ;)

(...and now, and in keeping with the subject of this thread, well sort'a anyway, "I got's ta know"...how the hell did you come up a site name like "umop aposdn", AND what the hell does it MEAN???) :huh:

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