The Dead Pool (1988)

R   |    |  Action, Crime, Mystery

The Dead Pool (1988) Poster

Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan must stop a sick secret contest to murder local celebrities, which includes himself as a target.




  • Clint Eastwood in The Dead Pool (1988)
  • Clint Eastwood and Patricia Clarkson in The Dead Pool (1988)
  • Clint Eastwood and Patricia Clarkson in The Dead Pool (1988)
  • David Hunt in The Dead Pool (1988)
  • Clint Eastwood in The Dead Pool (1988)
  • Clint Eastwood and David Hunt in The Dead Pool (1988)

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Reviews & Commentary

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31 December 2010 | Bob-45
| Undone by a weak ending
Warning: Contains spoilers

The "Dirty Harry" series ends with a whimper thanks to a weak ending. Why conceal the identity of the killer when he turns out to be a subsidiary character who is built into the story in the last half hour?

Patricia Clarkson makes for a bland leading lady (despite a knockout figure) and has little chemistry with Eastwood. So, placing her in jeopardy creates no suspense. Also, having Harry surrender his legendary sidearm doesn't fit well with previous installments, since he has a clear head shot with the killer. Finally, having Harry find the harpoon gun shown in a previous scene is just a little too incredible.

Buddy Van Horn, as a director, is no Eastwood, but he does a pretty good job. Most of the stunts are quite good and the cinematography is excellent. Lalo Schifrin's score is bouncy, but forgettable.

Too bad, as a little script reworking would have made for a very good "Dirty Harry" effort. As it is, however, "The Dead Pool" is the weakest of the "Dirty Harry" series.

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Did You Know?


The car chase sequence was inspired by the one in the earlier Steve McQueen movie Bullitt (1968). There was an intention to top that car chase with this movie. Reportedly, the sequence is Clint Eastwood's favorite from the movie.


Insp. Al Quan: It's like I was telling you, Harry. Celebrities, they always die in...
Harry Callahan: threes.
Insp. Al Quan: At least the guy went out with...
Harry Callahan: ...a bang. Yeah, I know.


SPOILER: At the end of the car chase the RC vehicle is stopped under Harry's car between the front wheels. Harry then drives off in an attempt to evade it and the bomb detonates but all the damage happens to the front of the car. By driving forward Harry moved the passenger cabin above the bomb placing himself and Quan in more danger, but there is no damage to the vehicle beyond the engine bay. You have to wonder why Harry didn't just shoot the RC vehicle even if he'd have had to try left - handed. It's his usual solution to most threats after all.

Alternate Versions

To get a '18' rating in 1988, 12 seconds were removed from the UK version by the BBFC with edits made to images on a TV screen combining footage of a woman screaming in a car and a shot of a woman being attacked by a dog (the latter of which was stock footage from the 1977 film The Pack (1977)). In 2002 these cuts were waived.


Welcome to the Jungle
Written by
Slash, Axl Rose (as W. Axl Rose), Steven Adler, Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan (as Duff McKagen)
Performed by Guns N' Roses
Courtesy of Geffen Records
By arrangement with Warner Special Products


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Action | Crime | Mystery | Thriller

Box Office


$31,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,071,330 17 July 1988

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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