Clint Eastwood became iconic for his rugged characters and badass one-liners, but his Westerns wouldn’t be the same without his most memorable kills.
Over the course of his incredible career, Clint Eastwood has starred in some truly iconic Western movies, and in these movies, there have been some especially awesome death scenes. From the Dollars trilogy to Unforgiven, Eastwood has astounded audiences with his ability to be cool and collected while also taking out the bad guys. Through these kills, Eastwood proved that he was just as capable of a cowboy as any other Western movie great. The following list shows off some of his best moments with his top ten greatest kills in Westerns.
Clint Eastwood starred in approximately 12 Western movies during his career, and all of them were fairly distinct from each other. While some Eastwood Westerns lean on the more classic side, using basic tropes and lackluster dialogue, others are smash hits due to their incredible action sequences and, of course, Eastwood’s very own stand-out performances. In fact, some of Clint Eastwood’s Western movies have little killing at all, and instead, are more reflective of the cowboy and his plights. But, never fear. The actor still has plenty of exciting kills in his Western movies that deserve their slice of limelight.
The Barbershop Shootout In High Plains Drifter
The 1973 movie High Plains Drifter is one of Clint Eastwood’s grittier Western movies. In it, he plays the Stranger, a mysterious man who shows up in the little town of Lago to much disapproval. However, when the townspeople discover the Stranger’s incredible gunslinging skills, they enlist his help to ward off a band of criminals terrorizing their town. Eastwood shows off his prowess in High Plains Drifter right from the start when he deftly kills three men trying to shoot him at a barbershop. This scene is not only impressive, but ultimately sets the scene for the rest of the film, establishing the Stranger as a very dangerous character.
Cooper’s Revenge In Hang ‘Em High
Sometimes, Clint Eastwood’s best kills are not the most dazzling, but the ones with the most meaning. In Hang ‘Em High, Eastwood plays Jed Cooper, an innocent man who is lynched by a group of local men. After being saved by a deputy, Cooper is ordered to find his attackers, however, he can’t kill them. Unsurprisingly, this promise doesn’t exactly go to plan. At the climax of the film, Cooper is ambushed by three of his attackers, and in order to save his life, he kills two of them. This moment is significant because it shows Cooper’s restraint finally snapping, and in turn, him getting sweet revenge.
“Dyin’ Aint’ Much Of A Livin'” In The Outlaw Josey Wales
It wouldn’t be a “best of Clint Eastwood” list without a one-liner. In this case, the scene comes from the 1976 film The Outlaw Josey Wales. Eastwood plays Wales, a man with a bounty on his head and a vendetta against the man who killed his wife and child. Wales is caught by a bounty hunter in a saloon, and the two have a tense conversation, in which Eastwood spits, “Dyin’ ain’t much of a livin’, boy.” When the hunter reaches for his gun, Wales deftly shoots him. This scene is especially great because of its dramatic flair.
For A Few Dollars More’s Finale
It isn’t surprising that the second installment in the Dollars franchise has one of Clint Eastwood’s best kills in it. The film sees Clint Eastwood returning as The Man with No Name, and teaming up with Colonel Douglas Mortimer to get rid of El Indio and his band of thieves. Although Eastwood isn’t holding the gun at the end of For A Few Dollars More, he most certainly played a major part in the film’s final kill, as his character and Mortimer work together to take out El Indio. The scene is actually quite cinematic as the men kill the villain to the lyrical music of a pocket watch.
Wales Kills Terrill In The Outlaw Josey Wales
The ultimate kill in The Outlaw Josey Wales is the final one between Josey Wales and his enemy Captain Terrill. Terrill jumpstarted Wales’ search of vengeance after killing his family. Ultimately, Wales and Terrill come face to face, starting with a shootout. Though Wales is injured in the fight, and has run out of ammo, he chases Terrill anyway. The two have a very dramatic struggle that ends with Wales putting a sabre through Terrill’s chest. This moment of revenge is incredibly satisfying, but also, stands out because it isn’t done with a gun like in a typical Western.
Skinny In Unforgiven
Unforgiven is one of Clint Eastwood’s most violent Westerns, and is also considered Eastwood’s best movie, and for this reason, it’s unsurprising that it has so many great kills. This particular scene is a quick one between Eastwood’s William Munny and Skinny DuBois. Skinny is the henchman of the film’s big bad villain, and so, when Munny takes him out at the start of the fil’s climax, it is sort of like a promise of what is to come. Though the death isn’t particularly flashy or dramatic, it is the beginning of a very intense and incredible sequence between Munny and Little Bill.
The Final Shootout In Pale Rider
In yet another Western where Clint Eastwood plays a mysterious man with a single name, the actor awes audiences with his gunslinging skills. In Pale Rider, Eastwood plays Preacher, a strange but powerful man that drifts right into the midst of a complicated conflict between a mining baron and his workers. Preacher is a huge presence throughout Pale Rider, however, his greatest moment in the film occurs when he faces off with the baron LaHood and the marshal Stockburn. Despite being one single man, Preacher takes out an abundance of men in a shootout, and ultimately, kills the big bad villains as well without breaking a metaphorical sweat.
“Get Three Coffins Ready” In A Fistful Of Dollars
Yet another film from the Dollars trilogy with a great kill in it is A Fistful of Dollars. This film is Eastwood’s introduction as The Man with No Name, as he enters a Mexican town and finds himself in the middle of a power struggle between law enforcement and the criminal Rojo Brothers. Eastwood’s Stranger agrees to join the action, but his motives aren’t as heroic as he makes them seem. Once again, Eastwood’s kill in this movie comes with an amazing one-liner. As he faces off with four different men, he says: “Get three coffins ready.” Then, he does an iconic flick of his poncho, and wins the shootout.
Little Bill’s Death In Unforgiven
Despite being one of Clint Eastwood’s last Westerns, Unforgiven is show-stopping, especially in terms of its violence. The movie follows Clint Eastwood as William Munny, a former outlaw who has left crime to raise his two children. However, when a bounty hunter offers him a job, he takes it. The villain of this film, Little Bill, is a particularly nefarious character, and so, when William vengefully shoots him, it is beyond satisfying. This is one of Eastwood’s best kills not only because it is a relieving end to Little Bill’s crimes, but also, because it is perfectly dramatic and intense, with Bill saying: “I’ll see you in hell, William Munny.”
The Mexican Stand-Off In The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
The Mexican stand-off in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is Clint Eastwood’s best kill in any Western. The film is the third installment in the Dollars trilogy, and for the final time, Eastwood reprises his role as The Man With No Name. The movie follows him as he forms an uneasy partnership with a Mexican outlaw, as they work together to find a buried $20,000. The Mexican stand-off between Eastwood’s Blondie, Tuco, and Angel Eyes, which ends in Angel Eyes’ death, is not just an amazing kill, but a scene that has become iconic for the entire Western genre, and for that reason, it is the best.