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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

Unforgiven (1992)


What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: The deconstruction of the Classic American Western where no one is purely good, but no one is purely evil either.


Plot Summary: William Munny (Clint Eastwood) is a widowed farmer with a dark past. Munny left his gun fighting days behind him to marry his wife. However, with his wife now deceased, Munny is approached by a want-to-be gunfighter, the Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvet), to assist him in killing 2 cowboys that cut up a prostitute in Big Whiskey, Wyoming. Facing a hard future as a farmer, Munny eyes the $1,000 bounty as new hope for his family. He soon recruits his ex-partner, Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) and joins in the effort to kill the cowboys. Little does he know that the cowboys are protected by the local sheriff, Little Bill Dagget (Gene Hackman), a brutal, violent enforcer of the law, and a showdown looms.


Cast:

  • Clint Eastwood as William Munny, Director

  • David Webb Peoples, Writer

  • Gene Hackman as Sheriff "Little" Bill Daggett

  • Morgan Freeman as Ned Logan

  • Richard Harris as English Bob

  • Jaimz Woolvett as The Schofield Kid

  • Saul Rubinek as W.W. Beauchamp

  • Frances Fisher as Strawberry Alice

  • Anna Thomson as Delilah Fitzgerald

  • David Mucci as Quick Mike

  • Rob Campbell as Davey Bunting

  • Anthony James as Skinny Dubois

*Recognition:

  • Unforgiven was released on August 7, 1992, and debuted at the top position in its opening weekend. Its earnings of $15 million ($7,252 average from 2,071 theaters) in its opening weekend was the best-ever opening for an Eastwood film at that time. It spent a total of three weeks as the No. 1 film in North America.

  • Unforgiven currently holds a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 85 score on Metacritic.

  • Unforgiven garnered 9 Oscar nominations including Best Actor (Eastwood), Original Screenplay (Peoples), Art Direction, Cinematography, and Sound. It won for Best Picture, Director (Eastwood), Supporting Actor (Hackman), and Film Editing.

  • In June 2008, Unforgiven was listed as the fourth best American film in the Western genre (behind The Searchers, High Noon, and Shane) in the American Film Institute's "AFI's 10 Top 10" list. It was also on the AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (1998) at #98, and AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) (2007) at #68.

  • In 2004, Unforgiven was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

  • The film was remade into a 2013 Japanese film, also titled Unforgiven, which stars Ken Watanabe and changes the setting to the early Meiji era in Japan.

  • In 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked Peoples' script for Unforgiven as the 30th greatest ever written.

  • Eastwood has long asserted that the film would be his last Western, concerned any future projects would simply rehash previous plotlines or imitate someone else's work.

Did You Know:

  • The final screen credit reads, "Dedicated to Sergio and Don", referring to Clint Eastwood's mentors, Sergio Leone and Don Siegel.

  • The script floated around Hollywood for almost 20 years. Gene Hackman read and rejected it, only to be later convinced by Clint Eastwood (who had owned the rights for some time) to play a role.

  • It took Clint Eastwood several years to actually get around to reading the script, as his script reader had initially told him that it wasn't very good.

  • This is the third western to win the Best Picture Oscar. The other two are Dances with Wolves (1990) and Cimarron (1931).

  • Clint Eastwood's mother Ruth Wood toiled through an uncomfortable day (wearing a heavy dress) as an extra, filming a scene where she boards a train. However, the scene was eventually cut, with her son apologizing that the movie was "too long and something had to go." All was forgiven when he brought her to the Academy Awards and thanked her prominently in his acceptance speech.

  • This movie laid to rest Clint Eastwood's longstanding statement why he would never win an Oscar. Eastwood reckoned he would never be in the running because "First, I'm not Jewish. Secondly, I make too much money. Thirdly, and most importantly, because I don't give a fuck." Since his double Oscar win for this movie, Eastwood has gone on to win two more Oscars, as well as a Irving Thalberg Memorial Award, and has been nominated an additional six times.

  • The boots Clint Eastwood wore are the same ones he wore in Rawhide (1959). These boots are now part of Eastwood's private collection. In 2005 they were loaned to the Sergio Leone exhibit at the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles, CA. The boots basically book-ended Eastwood's career in Westerns.

  • According to Clint Eastwood in a 2000 interview, Gene Hackman was very concerned about how they were going to show the violence in the movie, concerned about rising gun violence in American cities. Eastwood assured Hackman that this movie wouldn't glorify gun violence.

  • Morgan Freeman learned about this movie from Kevin Costner while filming Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991). Freeman approached Clint Eastwood and got the role of Ned Logan.

  • Clint Eastwood asked Gene Hackman to model "Little Bill" Daggett on then-Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates.

Best Performance: Gene Hackman (Little Bill)/Clint Eastwood (Director, Munny)

Best Secondary Performance: Gene Hackman (Little Bill)

Most Charismatic Award: Gene Hackman (Little Bill)

Best Scene:

  • Little Bill Takes Out English Bob

  • Corky Corcoran

  • Little Bill Runs Munny Out

  • Delilah and Munny

  • Killing the First Man

  • Outhouse Murder

  • Final Shootout

Favorite Scene: Final Shootout/Corky Corcoran

Most Indelible Moment: Final Shootout


In Memorium:

  • Mary Mara, 61, American actress (Nash Bridges, ER, A Civil Action)

  • Robert A. Katz, 79, American film (Gettysburg, Selena) and television (Introducing Dorothy Dandridge) producer and businessman.

  • Tony Siragusa, 55, American football player (Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens), television host (Man Caves) and actor.

  • Duncan Henderson, 72, American film producer (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Oblivion, Space Jam: A New Legacy).

  • James Rado, 90, American actor (Lions Love), playwright and composer (Hair), Grammy winner (1969).

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

The Schofield Kid: [after killing a man for the first time] It don't seem real... how he ain't gonna never breathe again, ever... how he's dead. And the other one too. All on account of pulling a trigger.

Will Munny: It's a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have.

The Schofield Kid: Yeah, well, I guess they had it coming.

Will Munny: We all got it coming, kid.


Will Munny: You don't have to worry, Kid. I ain't gonna kill you. You're the only friend I got.


Little Bill Daggett: Look son, being a good shot, being quick with a pistol, that don't do no harm, but it don't mean much next to being cool-headed. A man who will keep his head and not get rattled under fire, like as not, he'll kill ya.


Little Bill Daggett: I'll see you in hell William Munny.


The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 6.25

Impact/Significance: 8.75

Novelty: 7.25

Classic-ness: 7.75

Rewatchability: 6.75

Audience Score: 9 (87% Google, 93% RT)

Total: 45.75


Remaining Questions:

  • How is leaving your probably 10-year old son and 7-year old daughter to take care of themselves for at least two weeks respecting the memory of his dead wife?

  • How did the county deputies find Ned but not Will or Schofield?

  • Why does Little Bill care at all if there's a bounty out on the two cowboys?

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