Who Said It: Clint Eastwood as Detective Harry Callahan in 1983’s Sudden Impact, the fourth installment in the “Dirty Harry” series
The Setup: Eastwood’s cool San Francisco cop tries to bring criminals to justice, but when he’s thwarted at every turn by the niceties of civil liberties, he turns roguish. When an armed thug threatens Harry’s hostage, the ironic, outraged cop eggs him on with his Magnum. The line echoed another from the Dirty Harry series. When Harry had a gunman cornered and wondering how many shots he had left, he said, “You’ve gotta ask yourself one question: Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”
D.H. Lawrence wrote that “the essential American soul is hard, stoic, isolate and a killer”–a description that pretty well sums up the derisive individualism of Eastwood’s Harry. In the Reaganomic ’80s, “Make My Day” portrayed a mood of blue-collar fear and discontent–in a country portrayed as being run by bureaucrats, sociologists, appeasers and incompetents.