Dirty Harry’s San Francisco

Joe Street
  • The Sixties, June 2012, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/17541328.2012.674850

Dirty Harry's San Francisco

What is it about?

This article details the ways in which Dirty Harry (Siegel, 1971) interacts with and refracts San Francisco’s recent history. It points to several themes which demonstrate how the film offered a conservative reading on the changes wrought on American society in the 1960s. It concludes that the film rendered San Francisco an important symbol for the debates between liberals and conservatives over the legacy and meaning of the 1960s.

Why is it important?

This is the first thorough evaluation of Dirty Harry which specifically locates it as a San Francisco film. It also demonstrates the breadth of the conservative backlash against 1960s liberalism through its assertion that the film became and active player in the debate about the legacy of the 1960s

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