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Dirty Harry's America"Clint Eastwood, Harry Callahan, and the Conservative Backlash"$
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Joe Street

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813061672

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813061672.001.0001

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The Roots of Dirty Harry

The Roots of Dirty Harry

(p.33) 2 The Roots of Dirty Harry
Dirty Harry's America

Joe Street

University Press of Florida

This chapter places Dirty Harry in its cultural, political, and social context. It traces the development of detective films and screen violence amid the gradual decline of the Production Code. It pays particular attention to Bullitt (1968) and The Detective (1968), which were important precursors of Dirty Harry. It then focuses on the political climate of the late 1960s at a national and local level, highlighting the response of conservatives to the perceived urban crisis; the transformation of San Francisco in the 1960s; and the Zodiac Killer. The chapter argues that Dirty Harry echoed conservatives in presenting liberal policies as a major cause of urban unrest and proposing tough policing and reduced bureaucracy as the solution.

Keywords:   Detective films, Bullitt, Conservatives, 1960s, San Francisco, Dirty Harry, Zodiac Killer

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