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Unforgiven

1992 Western

Dedicated to his mentors Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, Clint Eastwood's 1992 Oscar-winner examines the mythic violence of the Western, taking on the ghosts of his own star past. Disgusted by Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett's decree that several ponies make up for a cowhand's slashing a whore's face, Big Whiskey prostitutes, led by fierce Strawberry Alice (Frances Fisher), take justice into their own hands and put a $1000 bounty on the lives of the perpetrators. Notorious outlaw-turned-hog farmer William Munny (Eastwood) is sought out by neophyte gunslinger the Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett) to go with him to Big Whiskey and collect the bounty. While Munny insists, "I ain't like that no more," he needs the bounty money for his children, and the two men convince Munny's clean-living comrade Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) to join them in righting a wrong done to a woman. Little Bill (Oscar-winner Gene Hackman), however, has no intention of letting any bounty hunters impinge on his iron-clad authority. When pompous gunman English Bob (Richard Harris) arrives in Big Whiskey with pulp biographer W.W. Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek) in tow, Little Bill beats Bob senseless and promises to tell Beauchamp the real story about violent frontier life and justice. But when Munny, the true unwritten legend, comes to town, everyone soon learns a harsh lesson about the price of vindictive bloodshed and the malleability of ideas like "justice." "I don't deserve this," pleads Little Bill. "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it," growls Munny, simultaneously summing up the insanity of western violence and the legacy of Eastwood's Man With No Name. more..

Director: Clint Eastwood

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris, Jaimz Woolvett

Reviews

  • Simultaneously heroic and nihilistic, reeking of myth but modern as they come, it is a Western for those who know and chrish the form, a film that resonates with the spirit of films past while staking out a territory quite its own.

    Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times

    11 May 2013

  • It's powerful entertainment.

    Julie Salamon - The Wall Street Journal

    11 May 2013

  • This dark, melancholic film is a reminder -- never more necessary than now -- of what the American cinema is capable of, in the way of expressing a mature, morally complex and challenging view of the world.

    Dave Kehr - The Chicago Tribune

    11 May 2013

  • Unforgiven is the most provocative western of Eastwood's career, and with Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman and Richard Harris along for the ride, it's also the most potently acted.

    Peter Travers - Rolling Stone

    11 May 2013

  • The cast is universally strong. Hackman, Freeman and Harris don't do anything they haven't done before, but the roles suit their personae to a degree where they approach archetypal status.

    - TV Guide

    11 May 2013

Awards

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role

    Academy Awards (1993)

  • Best Edited Feature Film

    American Cinema Editors (1993)

  • Best Foreign Film

    Awards of the Japanese Academy (1994)

     
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role

    BAFTA Awards (1993)

  • Lennie Niehaus

    BMI Film & TV Awards (1993)