Sudden Impact (1983)

Sudden Impact (1983)

Taglines: Dirty Harry is at it again.

A vicious serial-killer is on the loose in San Francisco and the police trace a link to a small town further down the coast. When Harry Callahan upsets the press and the mayor in his usual style, he’s shipped out of town to investigate while the heat is on. With the help of his new Magnum handgun Harry goes on the trail leaving behind the usual trail of dead criminals along the way.

Sudden Impact is a 1983 American action thriller and the fourth film in the Dirty Harry series, directed by Clint Eastwood (making it the only Dirty Harry film to be directed by Eastwood himself), and starring Eastwood and Sondra Locke. The film tells the story of a gang rape victim (Locke) who decides to seek revenge on the rapists ten years after the attack by killing them one by one. A police detective (Eastwood) famous for his unconventional and often brutal crime-fighting tactics is tasked with tracking down the serial killer. As the detective investigates the killings, he becomes romantically entangled with the woman, and he is drawn deeper into the mystery surrounding the murders.

The film is notable for the catchphrase, “Go ahead, make my day”, which is uttered by Clint Eastwood’s gun-wielding character in the beginning of the film as he stares down an armed robber who is holding a hostage. That phrase, although in its Italian localization “Coraggio… fatti ammazzare” (“come on, let me kill you”), was also chosen as title for the Italian version of the film.

Sudden Impact (1983)

About the Story

A college-age artist, Jennifer Spencer, and her sister are raped by a group of young men, after being betrayed by female friend Ray Parkins. The brutal rape leaves Jennifer’s sister in a vegetative state from the physical and emotional trauma. Ten years later, Spencer seeks revenge on the attackers. She kills one of the rapists (George Wilburn) with two shots—one in the groin and one in the head—from a .38 Colt Detective Special revolver. Spencer then leaves San Francisco because of the subsequent police investigation. Once relocated to the town of Santa Cruz, Spencer begins restoring its boardwalk’s historic carousel near the beach where the rapes occurred.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Police Department Homicide Inspector Harry Callahan is frustrated when a liberal judge yet again dismisses a case of his due to what she sees as unreasonable search and seizure. Later, at his favorite diner, the inspector interrupts a robbery and kills most of the criminals. When the surviving robber takes a hostage, Callahan targets the man with his .44 Magnum and challenges him to “Go ahead, make my day”. The criminal surrenders. Callahan later causes powerful crime lord Threlkis to suffer a fatal heart attack at his granddaughter’s wedding reception when Callahan threatens him with prosecution in a murder case.

Lieutenant Donnelly, Harry’s supervisor and other angry senior officers call Callahan in. They cannot fire or suspend the notorious inspector because, as the police commissioner admits, his “unconventional methods … get results,” albeit with many deaths and bad publicity for the department. They instead order him to take a vacation, which Callahan spends target shooting with his .44 AutoMag and shotgun-armed partner Horace. But Callahan’s relaxation is short-lived, as four of Threlkis’s hitmen attack him.

The inspector dispatches three, and the other narrowly escapes. The suspect from the dismissed case and his friends also attack Callahan, throwing two Molotov cocktails into Callahan’s car. He retrieves an unbroken firebomb and throws it at the attackers’ car, causing the punks to swerve and drive into the bay. Lieutenant Donnelly immediately sends the inspector to San Paulo to investigate the murder of the man Spencer killed. While the victim is from there, the assignment is also to protect both Callahan and civilians. As Donnelly notes, “People have a nasty habit of getting dead around you.”

Sudden Impact Movie Poster (1983)

Sudden Impact (1983)

Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Pat Hingle, Bradford Dillman, Paul Drake, Audrie Neenan, Jack Thibeau, Lisa London
Screenplay by: Joseph Stinson
Production Design by: Edward C. Carfagno
Cinematography by: Bruce Surtees
Film Editing by: Joel Cox
Set Decoration by: Ernie Bishop
Music by: Lalo Schifrin
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: December 9, 1983