The Outlaw Josey Wales
Some consider this classic western as Clint Eastwood’s directorial masterpiece. That’s a pretty tough argument to make considering a couple of his other movies like Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby both won Oscars.
The Outlaw Josey Wales started out as an obscure book that supposedly only amounted to 75 total published copies titled “The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Whales”. The original author sent a copy of the book to Easwood’s production company Malpaso Inc. as an unsolicited script. A couple of title changes came later for marketing reasons and the rest, as they say, is history.
The story takes place amidst the Kansas/Missouri militia violence that ravaged the region for years around the Civil War. It’s basically a toned down retelling of the James and Younger gang of Missouri Rebel lore, and it delivers some of Eastwood’s best lines, including “Dying aint much of a living, boy” and “you gonna pull those pistols or whistle dixie?” or some of the best advice you’ll get from a movie with “Now remember, things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is.” That kind of stuff is exactly why we watch Clint Eastwood movies to begin with. Also notable is Eastwood’s casting of unknown Native American actors in lead roles – along with Sandra Locke.