Sudden Impact (1983) - Rotten Tomatoes

Sudden Impact1983

Sudden Impact (1983)



Critic Consensus: Sudden Impact delivers all the firepower -- and the most enduring catchphrase -- fans associate with the Dirty Harry franchise, but it's far from the best film in the series.

Sudden Impact Photos

Movie Info

Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood) returns in this fast-paced, violent and surprisingly witty actioner. The story centers on the victim of a particularly brutal gang rape that left one woman nearly catatonic and the other insane with grief. It is the latter (Sondra Locke) who has been slowly but surely murdering the culprits in gruesomely inventive way and it is Harry who is assigned to find her. When he catches up with her, he is surprised to find that they are kindred spirits.

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Clint Eastwood
as Harry Callahan
Sondra Locke
as Jennifer Spencer
Pat Hingle
as Chief Jannings
Bradford Dillman
as Capt. Briggs
Audrie J. Neenan
as Ray Parkins
Michael Currie
as Lt. Donnelly
Albert Popwell
as Horace King
Mark Keyloun
as Off. Bennett
Kevin Howard
as Hawkins
Nancy Parsons
as Mrs. Kruger
Joe Bellan
as Burly Detective
Lisa Batt
as Elizabeth
Mara Corday
as Coffee Shop Waitress
Nancy Fish
as Historical Society Woman
Lisa Britt
as Elizabeth
Bill Reddick
as Police Commissioner
Mike Johnson
as Assassin
Nick Dimitri
as Assassin
Michael Maurer
as George Wilburn
Pat DuVal
as Bailiff
Christian Phillips
as Hawkins' Crony
Steve Kravitz
as Hawkins' Crony
Lloyd Nelson
as Desk Sergeant
Christopher Pray
as Detective Jacobs
James McEachin
as Detective Barnes
Ken Lee
as Loomis
Morgan Upton
as Bartender
John X. Heart
as Policeman
Harry Demopoulos
as Dr. Barton
Lisa London
as Young Hooker
Tom Spratley
as Senior Man
Eileen Wiggins
as Hysterical Customer
John Nowak
as Bank Robber
Dennis Royston
as Young Guy
Melvin Thompson
as Young Guy
Bill Upton
as Young Guy
David Gonzales
as Gang Member
Albert Martínez
as Gang Member
David Rivers
as Gang Member
Robert Rivers
as Gang Member
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Critic Reviews for Sudden Impact

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (5)

It is viewed by many aficionados as the best of the five movies about the hard-nosed, authority-defying San Francisco cop.

April 30, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

This is the first entry in the series to have been directed by Eastwood himself, and action is put over with great force, if also with some obviousness.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

Eastwood the star needed a hit to bolster his flagging ratings; now that he's got it, maybe Harry will be put out to stud, with his Magnum.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

To all those cowboy movies we saw in our youth, all those TV Westerns and cop dramas and war movies, Dirty Harry has brought a great simplification: A big man, a big gun, a bad guy and instant justice.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

By my count, more than a dozen people are murdered on camera, about half by Miss Locke and most of the others by Mr. Eastwood. This gives them something in common as lovers.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2/5

The movie deserves credit for wading through the same muddy waters as Dirty Harry and Magnum Force.

December 15, 2021 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Sudden Impact

A riveting, dark and gritty action-packed edge of your seat thriller. It packs real serious punch and showcases Dirty Harry at his toughest and most bad-ass. Clint Eastwood is leaner and tougher than ever as Dirty Harry, giving a terrific performance and this time in the directors chair showing off his craft and style. Sondra Locke gives an intense and effective performance. It`s definitely the darkest film in the series and showing that its not afraid to take risk. It`s packed with dark humor, great performances and sizzling action sequences.

Al S
Al S

Super Reviewer

For the fourth entry in the long running series about hard-nosed inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan, Clint Eastwood decided to take the reins this time around. And not only that, but this is also the film that gave the "Go ahead. Make my day" line, which is one of the best ever. That being said, I'm rather conflicted about this one. It is competently made, but there's really not a whole lot of in depth subtext, and there's plenty of missed opportunities to capitalize more on the fact that it's no longer the 70s, and how Harry is a relic of a bygone era. Don't get me wrong, this is addressed, but it's just not done in all that compelling or interesting way. There's less action, and more focus on psychology, which is okay, but things are more often than not a drag, and quite frankly, a bore as well. That, and some of the humor was far more groan worthy than was probably intended. Okay, so the plot: after outcries of police brutality, HArry is sent on an out of town assignment until things cool off. However, things always seem to heat up wherever Harry goes. His investigation revolves around a rape victim who, years after the event, is getting cold blooded revenge. Not only that, but Harry also has vengeful mobsters on his tale after an interrogation/intimidation of his caused a senior mafioso to keel over from a heart attack. Given this set up, you'd think this would be more slam bang, and not so contemplative. In a lot of ways, this film is like a great deal of Clint's (especially later) directorial work, namely in terms of style, themes, and execution, and, while this is a noble effort, I was let down. Like I said though, this has the great quote, and the climax is good, but everything else is a mixed bag.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


This movie did deliver the epic catchphrase, "Go ahead, make my day." Aside from that, Eastwood's directorial debut of the series turned out to be a disappointing experience.

Sajin P A
Sajin P A

Super Reviewer

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