Film poster by Bill Gold
|Directed by||Clint Eastwood|
|Produced by||Clint Eastwood|
|Written by||David Webb Peoples|
|Music by||Lennie Niehaus|
|Cinematography||Jack N. Green|
|Editing by||Joel Cox|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||131 minutes|
Unforgiven is a 1992 American Western film produced and directed by Clint Eastwood with a screenplay written by David Webb Peoples. The film portrays William Munny, an aging outlaw and killer who takes on one more job years after he had turned to farming. A dark Western that deals frankly with the uglier aspects of violence and the myth of the Old West, it stars Eastwood in the lead role, with Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, and Richard Harris. Eastwood has stated that the film will be his final Western film.
Eastwood dedicated the movie to deceased directors and mentors Don Siegel and Sergio Leone. The film won four Academy Awards: Best Picture and Best Director for Clint Eastwood, Best Supporting Actor for Gene Hackman, and Best Film Editing for editor Joel Cox. Eastwood was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance, but he lost to Al Pacino for Scent of a Woman. In 2004, Unforgiven was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
A group of prostitutes in Big Whiskey, Wyoming, led by Strawberry Alice, offer a $1,000 reward to whoever can kill Quick Mike and "Davey-Boy" Bunting, two cowboys who disfigured Delilah Fitzgerald, one of their own. The local sheriff, Little Bill Daggett, a former gunfighter and keeper of the peace, is worried about their incentive, as he does not allow guns or criminals in his town. Little Bill had given the two men leniency, despite their crime.
Miles away in Kansas, the Schofield Kid, a boastful young man, visits the pig farm of William Munny, seeking to recruit him to kill the cowboys. In his youth, Munny was a bandit notorious as a cold-blooded murderer. Now a repentant widower raising two children, he has sworn off alcohol and killing. Though Munny initially refuses to help with the execution, his farm is failing, putting his children's future in jeopardy. Munny reconsiders a few days later and sets off to catch up with the Kid. On his way, Munny recruits Ned Logan, another retired gunfighter, who reluctantly leaves his wife to go along.
Back in Wyoming, gunfighter English Bob and his biographer, W. W. Beauchamp, arrive in Big Whiskey, also seeking the reward. Little Bill and his deputies disarm Bob, and Bill beats him savagely, hoping to discourage other would-be killers. The next morning he ejects Bob from town, but Beauchamp decides to stay and write about Bill. He has impressed the biographer with his tales of old gunfights and seeming knowledge of the inner workings of a gunfighter's psyche.
Munny, Logan and the Kid arrive later during a rain storm; they go to the saloon/whorehouse to discover the cowboys' location. With a bad fever after riding in the rain, Munny is sitting alone in the saloon when Little Bill and his deputies arrive to confront him. With no idea of Munny's past, Little Bill beats him and kicks him out of the saloon after finding a pistol on him. Logan and the Kid, upstairs getting "advances" on their payment from the prostitutes, escape out a back window. The three regroup at a barn outside of town, where they nurse Munny back to health.
Three days later, they ambush a group of cowboys and kill Bunting. Logan and Munny no longer have much stomach for murder. Logan decides to return home while Munny and the Kid head to the cowboys' ranch, where the Kid ambushes Quick Mike in an outhouse and kills him. After they escape, a distraught Kid confesses he had never killed anyone before. He renounces life as a gunfighter.
When Little Sue meets the two men to give them the reward, they learn that Logan was captured by Little Bill's men and tortured to death. He revealed the names of his two accomplices. The Kid heads back to Kansas to deliver the reward money to Munny and Logan's families. Munny drinks half a bottle of whisky and heads into town to take revenge on Bill.
That night, Logan's corpse is displayed in a coffin outside the saloon. Inside, Little Bill has assembled a posse to pursue Munny and the Kid. Munny walks in alone and kills Skinny Dubois, the saloon owner and pimp. After some tense dialogue, a gunfight ensues, leaving Bill wounded and several of his deputies dead. Munny orders everyone out before stopping Little Bill from reaching for his pistol. Bill curses Munny before the latter finishes him with a final gunshot. Munny threatens the townsfolk before finally leaving town, warning that he will return if Logan is not buried properly or if any prostitutes are further harmed.
A brief epilogue states that Munny was rumored to have moved to San Francisco, where he prospered in dry goods.
- Clint Eastwood as William "Will" Munny
- Gene Hackman as "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 Levine as Delilah Fitzgerald
- David Mucci as Quick Mike
- Rob Campbell as Davey Bunting
- Anthony James as Skinny Dubois
- Tara Frederick as Little Sue
- Beverley Elliott as Silky
- Liisa Repo-Martell as Faith
- Josie Smith as Crow Creek Kate
- Shane Meier as William Munny Jr.
The film was written by David Webb Peoples, who had written the Oscar-nominated film The Day After Trinity and co-wrote Blade Runner. The concept for the film dated to 1976, when it was developed under the titles The Cut-Whore Killings and The William Munny Killings. Eastwood delayed the project, partly because he wanted to wait until he was old enough to play the lead and to savor it as the last of his western films.
Much of the cinematography for the film was shot in Alberta, Canada in August 1991 by director of photography Jack Green. Filming took place between August 26, 1991 and November 12, 1991. Production designer Henry Bumstead, who had worked with Eastwood on High Plains Drifter, was hired to create the "drained, wintry look" of the western.
Unforgiven received near-universal acclaim. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes registers a "Certified Fresh" 97% approval rating among reviews. Many critics acclaimed the film for its noir-ish moral ambiguity and atmosphere. They also acclaimed it as a fitting eulogy to the western genre. Jack Methews of the Los Angeles Times described it as "The finest classical western to come along since perhaps John Ford's 1956 The Searchers." Richard Corliss in Time wrote that the film was "Eastwood's meditation on age, repute, courage, heroism – on all those burdens he has been carrying with such grace for decades."
Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert criticized the work; though the latter gave it a positive vote, both criticized the picture for being too long and having too many superfluous characters (such as Harris' English Bob, who enters and leaves without meeting the protagonists). Despite his reservations, Ebert eventually included the film in his "Great Movies" list.
Unforgiven was released on Blu-ray Book (a Blu-ray Disc with book packaging) on February 21, 2012. Special features include an audio commentary by the Clint Eastwood biographer, Richard Schickel; four documentaries including "All on Accounta Pullin' a Trigger", "Eastwood & Co.: Making Unforgiven", "Eastwood...A Star", and "Eastwood on Eastwood", and more.
The film debuted at the top position in its opening weekend. Its earnings of $15,018,007 ($7,252 average from 2,071 theaters) on its opening weekend was the best ever opening for an Eastwood film at that time. It spent a total of 3 weeks as the #1 movie in North America. In its 35th weekend (April 2–4, 1993), capitalizing on its Oscar wins, the film returned to the Top 10 (spending 3 weeks total), ranking at #8 with a gross of $2,538,358 ($2,969 average from 855 theaters), an improvement of 197 percent over the weekend before where it made $855,188 ($1,767 average from 484 theaters). The film closed on July 15, 1993, having spent nearly a full year in theaters (343 days / 49 weeks), having earned $101,157,447 in North America, and another $58,000,000 overseas for a total of $159,157,447 worldwide.
The music for the Unforgiven film trailer, which appeared in theatres and on some of the DVDs, was composed by Randy J. Shams and Tim Stithem in 1992.
- American Film Institute recognition
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies – #98
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills – Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains:
- Sheriff “Little Bill” Daggett – Nominated Villain
- William Munny – Nominated Hero
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes:
- "It's a hell of a thing killin' a man. You take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have." – Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – #68
- AFI's 10 Top 10 – #4 Western Film
A Japanese remake directed by Lee Sang-il and staring Ken Watanabe was released in 2013. The plot is very similar to the original, but takes place during the Meji period in Japan with Watanabe's character being a samurai of old regime instead of a bandit.
- Hughes, p. 38
- McGilligan, p. 467
- McGilligan, p. 469
- Box office/business for Unforgiven. IMDb. Retrieved September 2013
- McGilligan, p. 473
- "Unforgiven :: rogerebert.com :: Great Movies". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
- "Unforgiven [Blu-ray Book]". Retrieved 2012-04-02.
- Fox, David J. (1992-08-18). "Weekend Box Office Eastwood Still Tall in the Saddle". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-01.
- Fox, David J. (1992-08-25). "Weekend Box Office 'Unforgiven' at Top for Third Week". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-01.
- McGilligan, p. 476
- "The 65th Academy Awards (1993) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-03.
- American Film Institute (2008-06-17). "AFI Crowns Top 10 Films in 10 Classic Genres". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
- "Top Western". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
- The Hollywood Reporter Key Art Awards
- Hughes, Howard (2009). Aim for the Heart. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84511-902-7.
- McGilligan, Patrick (1999). Clint: The Life and Legend. London: Harper Collins. ISBN 0-00-638354-8.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Unforgiven|
- Unforgiven at the Internet Movie Database
- Unforgiven at allmovie
- Unforgiven at Rotten Tomatoes
- Unforgiven at Box Office Mojo
- Unforgiven at Filmsite.org
- Unforgiven at the Arts & Faith Top100 Spiritually Significant Films list
- Psychoanalytic review of Unforgiven
- Essay on the film